Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

The Nationals offense comes alive

Morning roundup


Adam Dunn felt like the Nationals offense owed their pitching staff. "Our offense," he said, "has been pretty much stinking it up." When Dunn hit three home runs last night, his personal burst coincided with a rare spurt of sustained offensive production from the Nationals.

The Nationals have vowed they possess more firepower on offense than they've showed for most of this season. With the last two games coming against the pitching staff with the best ERA in the National League, the Nationals have scored at least five runs in four consecutive games for the first time since April 19.

Maybe it's a blip. Maybe the Nationals are finally rounding into the shape they've believed they had all along.

"It's good for us to have a couple good games where we've knocked the ball around a little bit," Josh Willingham said. "We haven't knocked the ball around a whole lot lately."

Last night, they needed it. J.D. Martin didn't have his best curveball and made a crucial error in the sixth before he departed. He allowed two runs on six hits and one walk, striking out four. Martin earned his first win this year, but on his way off the field he screamed into his glove, still mad about his error on a swinging bunt.

The rest of the game would be decided by the bullpen. In the eighth inning, Manager Jim Riggleman turned to Drew Storen instead of Tyler Clippard. Storen entered with a 1.59 ERA but experienced the same struggles Clippard has lately endured. For the first time in his rookie season, Storen yielded multiple earned runs in a single appearance, surrendering two on three hits.

Storen may have gotten out of the inning if Nick Hundley had been called out on strikes on a close, 2-2 curveball with one out. Storen thought he had struck out Hundley, and replays showed the pitch was a strike. Hundley, given new smacked an RBI double. Storen would allow an RBI groundout to Aaron Cunningham before escaping.

On his way off the mound, Storen also yelled at himself. He was mad not at the call, but his reaction to it.

"I thought it was a good pitch, but apparently it missed," Storen said. "It's my job to come back and get them on the next pitch. It's my fault there. I was very frustrated. I should have recovered and dealt with the adversity better. I was definitely frustrated with myself."

Dunn, though, would save Storen and the Nationals with his three home runs and five RBI. No National had hit three home runs since Alfonso Soriano in April 2006, and a loss did not dampen the moment.

FROM THE POST

Adam Dunn hit three homers in a game for the first time in his career in a 7-6 victory over the Padres, which sparked teammates to lobby for him to stay with the Nationals.

The Padres have gone unnoticed despite the best pitching staff in the majors, Dave Sheinin writes.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Buffalo 6, Syracuse 2: Justin Maxwell went 2 for 4. Collin Balester allowed one run on three hits and a walk in one inning of relief.

Harrisburg 4, Richmond 0: Andrew Kown allowed no runs on one hit and no walks in six innings, striking out four. Cole Kimball allowed a hit and a walk in two scoreless innings of relief. Jesus Valdez went 2 for 4 with a home run.

Potomac 7, Frederick 4: Mike Burgess went 2 for 5. Derek Norris went 1 for 3 with a home run and two walks.

West Virginia 7, Hagerstown 2: Eury Perez went 3 for 4 with a triple.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Adam Dunn's outburst made Mark Zuckerman wonder how much Dunn is worth.

With hours remaining to vote, Ryan Zimmerman still trails Joey Votto.

Ken Rosenthal has some notes on the Nats within this report.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 8, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Game 85 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Padres
Next: Starting lineups

Comments

So what's with Capps? Is he not pitching as well as earlier in the season, or is he just unlucky? The home run pitch to Stairs didn't look bad to me -- fastball low in the strike zone, tailing away. It looks like he still has good velocity and location. So why's he getting hit so much lately?

Posted by: DavidandDonald | July 8, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Shocker - season is about half complete and Dunn is on track for 40 HR's.

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 8, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

So glad to see the offense clicking again and good pitching performances to boot...great momentum going into the All-Star break!

Posted by: markfd | July 8, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what's to complain about regarding Capps. Four games in July, four innings, three wins, 1 save, 1 earned run, .... He had fewwer saves recently because the Nats were not ahead. No lead, no saves. Simple as that.

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 8, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Looks to me like Capps is better when he's used more often.

Posted by: shanks1 | July 8, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Nice article from Passan at Yahoo Sports, Drew Storen planning on getting his degree (he'll need to attend classes @ Stanford for 6 offseasons!).
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-storen070710

Posted by: Sunderland | July 8, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Shoot. I missed Dunn's big game because we were catching up with 1b, who is in town for a visit. We did manage to catch the bottom of the 9th on tv (were glad to see that they managed to hold on).

We'll be "in the house" tonight and tomorrow, so hope that our guys will get a couple more curly w's for us. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 8, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Capps is the Chief on steroids(joke). He'll come right after them and not beat himself with walks. we should be happy to have him but the future is Storen.

Posted by: sjt1455 | July 8, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

If Capps has a two run lead he lets one in; if a three run lead, lets in two; both situations he leaves a man on third! Still, love the way he rears back and throws, doesn't try to finesse his way by hitters.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | July 8, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Kind of interesting, two exciting wins nicely covers up two really poor attendance figures at the Park. 14k and 13k crowds in wins vs the Padres now puts us below San Diego in attendance (21st). Whatever, I'll just take the wins! And I don't really blame folks around here for not buying walk-up tickets in this disgusting heat.

And Jesus will put us back above his hometown in average attendance tomorrow night.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 8, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Not getting much attention outside of from Dibble and Carpenter, but the Nats are going to have a serious problem on their hands if Dunn is not signed to an extension soon. He's on his typical 40-HR, 100-RBI pace and gives the Nats a true slugger in the cleanup spot that few teams have on their roster. Given that he'll only be 31 in the offseason, there will be a lot of teams lining up to offer him big money as a free agent in the offseason.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 8, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"there will be a lot of teams lining up to offer him big money as a free agent in the offseason"

The Nats seem to think otherwise or will be happy to get the two compensation picks

Posted by: sjt1455 | July 8, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Who votes we call up Kandrew Kown, and send down Stammen, or Atilano

Posted by: arizonacardinalsfan1 | July 8, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The team is chalking low attendance to the heat, and I see no reason to disagree. DC in the Summer... one doesn't have to wonder why we lost baseball teams in the past, or why this team hits a slump in june. Lets be honest, they probably should have considered some kind of indoor stadium or at least some kind of retractable roof type deal.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 8, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Who votes we call up Kandrew Kown, and send down Stammen, or Atilano

Posted by: arizonacardinalsfan1 | July 8, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I would be open to making a move at the all star break.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 8, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

About Dunn, you have to think Rizzo knows what a blow it would be to the offense if we lose him, and unless there is a plan to replace him with someone outside the organization - like Gonzales - I can't imagine the pices we'd get for dealing him would be worth the price. Sure, a shrewd GM could trade him then resign him, that's the best of both worlds, but that's an awfully risky move.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | July 8, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The team is chalking low attendance to the heat, and I see no reason to disagree.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 8, 2010 10:52 AM

It was hot as hell in Philadelphia last night too...

http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId=300707122&teams=atlanta-braves-vs-philadelphia-phillies

Attendance: 44,282
Weather: 96 degrees, clear

Our attendance has massive pit falls because there is a measly season ticket base. The weather will be disgusting tomorrow night but the crowd will probably be in the high 30's because of Strasburg. It's all about the product on the field.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 8, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Kev29,
Philly also has the advantages that its against ATL, where they are trying to get back into the lead for the East. vs a meaningless series against S.D.

Also I lived in Philly when I was in college, a hot summer day in philly is a walk in the park compared to what we have here.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 8, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Our attendance is also lame on weeknights where the visiting team is not a draw. Mets come to down, we'd be over 20,000 last night. Padres don't bring many people. Looked to me like there were less than 10,000 of us there last night, announced attendance aside.

Until we become a really good team, or develop a really strong fan base, a big part of our attendance will be based on who we play and how many people want to see them play.

Just ask the Orioles and the Wizards.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 8, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Alex - not to get too engaged in semantics, but it was 102 degrees in Philly the other day and they had 44k again. You don't get 30,000 more people to show up there because the dew point is a tiny bit lower. Good teams in good stadiums draw good crowds, period. Everything else is an excuse in my mind.

Last Thursday and Friday were probably the most glorious summer evenings I've ever seen in this area, schools are all out, holiday weekend, we played a competitive divisional team and averaged a rather blah 22k between the two nights.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 8, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Our attendance is also lame on weeknights where the visiting team is not a draw. Mets come to down, we'd be over 20,000 last night. Padres don't bring many people.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 8, 2010 11:48 AM

Nationals 7 (47-31)
Pirates 5 (34-43)
Thursday, June 30, 2005 1:06PM
Attendance: 37,361

Just win, baby!

Posted by: Kev29 | July 8, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

J.D. Martin didn't get a single keystroke in Kilgore's gamer. Pathetic.

Signed,
J.D.'s mom

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | July 8, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@sjt1455: It's a risky and potentially costly game Rizzo is playing. But, then again, it's not like Dunn isn't doing what he's done the past several seasons. Besides, playing in DC seems to keep good players under the radar. Know what I'm saying, Zim?

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | July 8, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

@storen: If you read Boz's chat from this morning, it's clear that the problem isn't Rizzo -- it's Uncle Teddy. Still.

Posted by: Bethesdangit1 | July 8, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

still trying to figure out what semantics has to do with the temperature in Phila...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 8, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - meant that last post to be @soren. I often confuse my philosophers with my relievers. In other news, JZmnnnnnn's line from Potomac today:

3.0IP 1H 0R 0ER 0BB 5K.

Tasty.

Posted by: Bethesdangit1 | July 8, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@alex: You must not have been here for the stadium debate, which ended up imposing a cost cap (in part because of MLB's refusal to pitch in) that resulted in dumbing down the design for the stadium and creating, what is, when compared to ballparks built around the same time in NY, Phila, and St Louis, a mediocrity.

Given those cost pressures, there was NO way a retractable roof was ever a possibility. Even in Minnesota, cost cutting forced them to drop the idea.

Like St Louis, Atlanta, Dallas -- none of which have roofs -- we get a few weeks of rough weather in the summer. The rest of the time it's fine (except some cold nights in April and, some day, God willing, October). As others here have said, with a decent product on the field, it will not be an issue.

Posted by: Meridian1 | July 8, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The whole pitching staff seems to be struggling to hold leads.

When the team is behind, they've been great at keeping them in the game. But given a lead, they start walking guys and giving up runs. It was most noticeable in Baltimore but it's been a problem since that lousy series in Houston.

It seems to have gotten into their heads, collectively. Has McCatty said anything about it?

Posted by: Meridian1 | July 8, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Re: Dunn, check the link to Rosenthal's piece.

Money quote: "Rival club officials say the Nationals’ asking price for Dunn is exorbitant; one says the Nats wanted either second baseman Gordon Beckham or right fielder Carlos Quentin from the White Sox."

Posted by: TomServo | July 8, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

No way they part with Beckham for Dunn...that would be dumb on their part. I think Quentin is realistic, but is that really an upgrade other than a cheaper option? I'd rather them shop with the Angels. Much deeper farm system, and they always seem to bring up home grown studs.

Posted by: TheycallmeThriiiiiiilledge | July 8, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Beckham? Wow! Take a look at his stats. Last time I did, I was amazed at how poorly he has done for a big-time #1 draft choice. I'll take Dunn. We still don't have anyone who will be able to do what he does if we trade him. I hope this isn't about the money. If it is, we're seeing the model for future seasons unfolding before our eyes right now.

Posted by: fpcsteve | July 8, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Re: trade rumor, the Nats will get no more than a few good prospects from a contender like Chicago for a couple of months of Dunn. Clearly, Dunn wil be given a large multi-year deal by some team in the offseason. Why risk losing him or paying a huge premium when an extension during the season would be (a) good for the team and now (b) good for the future.

If they trade Dunn for prospects, it just indicates that more rebuilding is coming and the team isn't as far along as Rizzo has stated. Dunn is also a good clubhouse guy and appears to be a team leader. We don't need to lose him and anger Zimmerman int he process.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 8, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Beckham 2010: BA - .208; 2 HR, 20 RBI's; OBP: .272; Slugging: .281 - lifetime BA: .245; 16 HR, 83 RBI's

Posted by: fpcsteve | July 8, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Right...because it's smart to write off a SS who is having a rough first half of his second professional year of baseball and who just last year was voted rookie of the year in the AL....is Jim Bowden's user name fpccssteve?

Posted by: TheycallmeThriiiiiiilledge | July 8, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2010/fv/ballot_pop.html?tcid=cp_fm2010_ballot&cmpid=475582&cme=1137883


Get the VOTE in for ZIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Only 2 hours left to get Zim in!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | July 8, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Where has Beckham's name even come up - other than here? I seriously doubt the Sox are going to trade him for anyone but a select few - definitely not for a three month rental bat. He's being mentioned in hypothetical Cliff Lee trades.

Sure he's struggling at the plate this season, but he was strong in 100 games last year. And the kid was drafted two years ago! Oh and did you see how many "Beckham 15" shirts were in the crowd during the White Sox series here in DC? Benched or not, he's still seems to be considered a jewel for the Sox.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 8, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

who just last year was voted rookie of the year in the AL....is Jim Bowden's user name fpccssteve?

Posted by: TheycallmeThriiiiiiilledge | July 8, 2010 1:53 PM

He was 5th in the AL ROY voting last season...

http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_2009.shtml#ALroy

Aside: Man, that Elvis Andrus can play, huh?

Posted by: Kev29 | July 8, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see an IF featuring Adam Kennedy AND Cristian Guzman on the right side. I say lock up Dunn. I don't see him as the kind of guy who's numbers are going to tail off in the next 3 years. Considering we really don't have anyone viable to step into that spot in the near future, I say we try and retain the Dunn-key.

Posted by: TheMichael | July 8, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Which is why real baseball people go by the ones voted on by the players not the sportswriters...

Posted by: TheycallmeThriiiiiiilledge | July 8, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Keep the donkey, keep the hammer, even would keep CAPPS.

Trade Guzman and one of the extra starting pitchers for either a reliever or some kind of decent prospect infielder.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 8, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Love Boz's piece on the rotation, 11 potential starters by August...WOW..sounds like Rizzo needs to start working the phones, we actually may have surplus pitchers for legit trades not for minor league roster fillers!

Posted by: markfd | July 8, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Collin Balester's line for his last 10 outings in AAA are...
18 innings, 13 hits, 4 runs, 4BB's, 12K's, ERA 1.99
batting average against .189
Looks like Bally is making a statement in AAA! He will be ready for the next jump up! Good for him!

Posted by: Spinman | July 8, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

RE: Matt Capps and his performance. I’ve been wondering about his overall season ‘cuz it sure seems like he’s been much less effective lately, especially seems like he rarely gets out of an inning without allowing either multiple hits or even runs.

Went back and looked at all 23 of his saves – here’s the data – didn’t crunch the numbers to death. Mostly curious about his ability to come in and get a 1-2-3 finish.

Out of his 23 saves, only 6 (or 26 percent) have been 1-2-3 innings. Not sure how that compares to other closers. And, notably, his last 1-2-3 save was exactly a month ago in the 6/8 Strasburg debut game versus the Pirates. Also, it looks like the gap between his 22nd save (6/22) and his 23rd (last night) is the biggest of the season. Part of that is on the club for not putting him in a situation to get the save.

Maybe I’ll look at the numbers later on runs scored on him when he still got a save, but suffice it to say this guy is usually going to give you a thrill ride in the 9th.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | July 8, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh – and to be fair to Capps, should mention this fact which is sort of interesting. Just in the last week, Capps has WON 3 games. Two comebackers against the Mets and the Z-man walk-off the other night against the Pads.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | July 8, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company