WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: Ian Desmond #6 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on April 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
• Today's Top 5:
5. Pudge on Ramos On SNY: Jim Riggleman said earlier this month that the decision to go with Wilson Ramos the majority of the time behind the plate had a lot to do with having him hit against left-handed pitchers as often as possible, but after three starts in-a-row, the Nationals' Skipper Jim Riggleman decided to put Pudge Rodriguez in the lineup tonight with Livan Hernandez on the mound. The decision to go with the veteran catcher pays off late in tonight's game when he connects on a hit-and-run single to right that sends Jerry Hairston first-to-third before he scores on a bunt, and the future Hall of Fame backstop throws Jose Reyes out when he tries to steal second after a two-out single in the seventh. Before the game, during the Mets' broadcast, Pudge was asked about mentoring Wilson Ramos:
Pudge Rodriguez: "We have a good relationship. First of all, he's a great player. He has a tremendous future in this game. As you can see he's a great hitter, power hitter, always keeps the bat on the ball. Defensive catcher, he's doing a very good job receiving. That's the thing that we're working on right now, receiving, calling the games and the footwork to throw the ball to the bases, but so far he's a great kid. He likes to learn, likes to listen, and so far we're doing a good job together."
4. Mr. National Himself: The story of Livan Hernandez being part of a federal investigation doesn't seem to have caught on in a big way in the nation's capital, though it's been reported on in all corners of NatsTown in the last few days. As soon as the 36-year-old right-hander struck Jose Reyes out, however, with the first slow bender of the night to start the game, that drama all faded into the background mentioned only once by the Mets' announce team during the evening. A 1-2-3 first by the Nats' 36-year-old magician/starter is followed by a scoreless second in which he drops a 53 mph curve on Jayson Bay (at least according to Gameday) for what has to be and will probably end up being one of the slowest pitches in the majors this season. A leadoff single in the third's erased by a DP grounder and Livan drops a 69 mph 1-2 curve on the opposing pitcher to get the last out of another scoreless frame in the fourth.
3. WereWerth!!: Livan Hernandez takes the first pitch he sees back up the middle and under a diving Jose Reyes at short for a one-out single in the Nats' third. One out later Rick Ankiel singles to center in front of Jayson Werth, and the Nats' right fielder tests the Mets' right fielder, who fails. Line drive to right and over Beltran's head, off the track and into the bullpen for an RBI ground-rule double. 1-0 Nats when Livan crosses. Hernandez surrenders a leadoff double to right by Jose Reyes that almost goes out and two groundouts later it's a 1-1 tie in the fourth.
2. Proud Desi: In his first game back after spending a few games on the Paternity Leave list, new dad Ian Desmond triples off the wall in left-center in his second at bat, just a few feet from a HR. Jerry Hairston hits a fly to short center that falls in front of Willie Harris and Desmond scores to put the Nats up 2-1. Pudge Rodriguez goes the other way for a hit and run single, and Hairston goes first-to-third. Livan gets a bunt down, and Hairston runs from third when he sees how good a bunt it is, 3-1 Nats when he scores. Danny Espinosa's single loads the bases with one down, but Rick Ankiel grounds to Ike Davis, who takes the force at home, and Jayson Werth K's swinging to leave three runners stranded. 3-1 Nationals.
1. Another Comeback?: Back-to-back singles by Ike Davis and Josh Thole to start the fifth before Livan Hernandez pops Willie Harris up. Chris Capuano gets a bunt down, but it's not a good one, Pudge Rodriguez jumps on it with his eyes on third, but his barehand grab comes up empty, and he then throws late to first. Bases loaded. Sac fly to center by Jose Reyes and the Mets are back within one when the top of the fifth ends. 3-2 Nats.
DADD DESI!!!: Ian Desmond just missed a HR in his second at bat of the night, settling for a triple, but he doesn't miss the third time up, launching a two-out solo shot to left-center, over the 377 ft sign and into the visiting team's dugout. 4-2 Nats on Desmond's third HR of the year. Livan Hernandez gives up a one-out line drive single to center by Carlos Beltran in the sixth, and leaves an 0-1 sinking fastball up for Ike Davis who doubles to center to score Beltran from second. 4-3 Nats.
-1. Mr. National: Livan Hernandez throws a 1-2-3 eighth on just six pitches and he's the first Nats' starter to go more than 7.0 IP this season. Hernandez throws 105 pitches total, 66 strikes, allowing seven hits, a walk, and three runs, two earned while recording five K's, and the Nationals' Skipper Jim Riggleman turns to the Nats' closer Drew Storen in the ninth. The 23-year-old right-hander gives up a hard hit liner to right by Jason Bay, but Werth's at the track to catch it. Ike Davis grounds to first, two down. But Josh Thole's third hit of the night keeps the ninth alive. Chin-lung Hu runs for the catcher, and steals second. Storen goes to a full count with Willie Harris and gets him swinging at a full-count slider. Ballgame. Nats win, 4-3 final.
• Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...
|Num||Name - Comments|
|1||MissB - 92|
|2||G8RB8 - 64|
|3||d_c_guy - 45|
|4||cat daddy3000 - 30|
|5||Brotato - 27|
|6||jeff550 - 21|
|7||Whupass - 15|
|8||Xeifrank - 14|
|10||Berndaddy - 9|
• Doghouse's Postgame WPA Graph: "Game 24: 'D' is for 'Desi,' 'Daddy,' and 'D1NGERZ!":
- Half-cycle: Ian Desmond (+18.0%) is 2-4 with a triple and the margin-of-victory HR (+11.9%).
He's crafty: Livan Hernandez (+19.7% pitching, +7.6% hitting) pitches 8 innings (the first Nats starter this season), fanning 5 while only walking 1 and giving up 2 ER. He's also 1-2 at the plate with a run and an RBI!
CLOSED: Drew Storen (+15.6%) gives up a single in the middle of three quick outs, finishing the game with a swinging K on former Nat Willie Harris (+11.0%).
Nationals now 11-13.