Racing Matt Williams Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Wilson Ramos singled to center to start the top of the second inning in Phoenix, Arizona's Chase Field and the Washington Nationals' catcher scored from first when Ian Desmond tripled to the right-center gap in the next at bat, making it 1-0 early over the Arizona Diamondbacks and right-handed starter Bronson Arroyo.
The D-backs tied things up in the fourth when slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt doubled to right on a 96 mph 0-2 fastball from Stephen Strasburg before scoring on an RBI single to center by Miguel Montero, who jumped on a first-pitch heater. 1-1 game after four in AZ.
Bronson Arroyo and Martin Prado singled an out apart in the D-Backs' fifth and Goldschmidt doubled to bring them both in when Strasburg left a 2-2 curve up and out over the plate. Goldschmidt's 16th double of the year made it 3-1 Arizona.
Goldy does what Goldy does, driving in two runs on a long double to left-center. #Dbacks lead 3-1 in the 5th.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) May 14, 2014
That's how it ended. 3-1 final in Arizona.
4. Davey's Take: Stephen Strasburg made his final start of the 2013 campaign in Phoenix, Arizona's Chase Field. He earned the win, improving to (8-9) on the year, but as now-former Nationals' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters after that outing, Washington's '09 no.1 overall pick pitched much better than his modest win total for the season indicated.
"We didn't score many runs," Johnson said. "A bunch of times didn't score any runs, or one run or two runs. His numbers are indicative that he should have won 15 ballgames, at least."
On the year in his fourth major league season, Strasburg received two runs of support or less in 12 of 30 starts, and one run or less in five of those twelve outings. The Nats' hitters scored five runs while he was on the mound that day, however, and the 25-year-old right-hander improved to 23-2 at that point in starts in which he received three runs or more of support while on the mound.
Strasburg finished the 2013 campaign with a 3.00 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 16 HRs allowed (0.79 HR/9), 56 BB (2.75 BB/9) and 191 Ks (9.39 K/9) in 30 starts and 183 IP.
The win in Chase Field that night left the Nationals' right-handed starter (2-0) in four career outings against Arizona, over which he'd posted a 2.16 ERA with eight walks (2.88 BB/9) and 21 Ks (7.56 K/9) in 25 IP in which he'd held D-Backs' hitters to a combined .202/.273/.281 line. Two of those four starts took place in Chase Field, where the San Diego, California-born starter put up a 2.08 ERA in 13 IP before tonight, while holding D-Backs' hitters to a .159/.275/.182 line.
The second game of three with the Diamondbacks and Strasburg's fifth career start against Arizona began with Gerardo Parra flying out to center...
1st: D-Backs' center fielder Gerardo Parra flew to center on the first pitch of the bottom of the first. Martin Prado took an 0-1 curve for a called strike three and grounded weakly to first on a 95 mph 1-2 heater. Paul Goldschmidt's groundout to short ended a quick, seven-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.
2nd: Miguel Montero flew out to center on a 94 mph 2-1 fastball. Ian Desmond tried to make a spectacular play from deep in the hole at short on an Aaron Hill grounder, but committed a throwing error instead that allowed Hill to take second. Cody Ross grounded out to short for out no.2. A.J. Pollock K'd looking at an 0-2 fastball and Strasburg was through two scoreless on 17 pitches after a 10-pitch frame.
3rd: D-Backs' shortstop Chris Owings sent a sharp one-hop grounder to short for out no.1 of Arizona's third. Bronson Arroyo got hold of a 1-2 bender and singled to center with one down. Strasburg got up 0-2 on Gerardo Parra and got him looking with a 94 mph 2-2 heater. Martin Prado grounded into a force at second and Stephen Strasburg was through three scoreless on 35 pitches after an 18-pitch third.
4th: Paul Goldschmidt fell behind 0-2 in the first at bat of the D-Backs' fourth, but doubled to right on a 96 mph fastball from Stephen Strasburg before scoring on a single to center by Miguel Montero. 1-1 game. Aaron Hill K'd swinging at a 1-2 bender for out no.1. Cody Ross took a 2-2 bender for a called strike three. Out no.2. K no.4. A.J. Pollock took a first-pitch fastball through short for a two-out single. Chris Owings took another 2-2 curve for another called third strike. K no.5. 19-pitch inning. 54 overall after four.
5th: Bronson Arroyo lined a 94 mph 1-1 fastball to right for his second hit in two at bats against Strasburg. Gerardo Parra flew out to center on a 1-0 heater. Martin Prado battled for seven pitches before singling to center on a full-count fastball. Paul Goldschmidt stepped in with two on and one out and drove two runs in when he crushed a hanging 2-2 curve. Double to center, 3-1 D-Backs. Miguel Montero lined to left for out no.2. Aaron Hill's groundout ended a 26-pitch inning that pushed Strasburg up to 80 overall.
6th: Cody Ross grounded weakly to third. A.J. Pollock gave Anthony Rendon some more work with the second weak grounder of the inning. Chris Owings fell behind 0-2 and K'd swinging to end an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 inning. 88 pitches overall after six.
7th: Bronson Arroyo flew to center for the first out of the D-Backs' seventh. Kevin Frandsen got a bad jump, but made a sliding catch on a soft liner to left off Gerardo Parra's bat. Martin Prado's groundout to second ended another quick frame by Strasburg. 10-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh. 98 pitches overall.
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 98 P, 68 S, 9/4 GO/FO.
3. Williams vs Gibson: Matt Williams was, of course, a member of Kirk Gibson's coaching staff from 2010-2013, at which point Williams left to become the fifth full-time manager of the nation's capital's Nats. There was some playful banter between the two salty veterans before Monday night's game in Chase Field with Gibson saying he knew Williams wanted to win in his return to Arizona but he wanted, "... to beat his ass, too." Williams responded in kind, telling reporters he heard what Gibson said and echoed those sentiments.
Before the actual game got started, and after they handed their lineup cards over and exchanged handshakes, the two major league veterans even engaged in a light-hearted race back to their respective dugouts though Williams appeared to "let" Gibson win:
Gibson took that one, but Williams and the Nationals beat the D-Backs 6-5 with a ninth inning comeback in the first game of the three game series. Gibson spoke to reporters after the loss about closer Addison Reed blowing his second save of the 2014 campaign.
"He's 11 of 13," Gibson said. "That's pretty good. He didn't have a good night tonight for us, so we've got regroup and get ready. We played a good game tonight, actually played a very good game."
The Nationals won it, however, with yet another comeback. It was their 11th come-from-behind win in the first 38 games of the season. As Williams reiterated last night, however, it's something the Nats want to keep doing.
"We don't want to rely on those though," Williams said. "That's not the plan. Those guys over there battle too. They've made a habit of coming back late in games too. So it was a good one for us tonight."
Gibson evened things up with his former coach with tonight's 3-1 D-Backs' win.
2. Missed Ops: The Nationals put a runner on third with no one out in the second with Ian Desmond tripling to drive Wilson Ramos in after the catcher singled to start the frame. Three outs later, however, Desmond was stranded at third base. In the fourth, Tyler Moore reached on a bloop single to right that no one could catch and an error on a bunt by Kevin Frandsen put runners on first and third with one down, but the Nationals couldn't bring Moore in from third base.
Paul Goldschmidt doubled to start the D-Backs' fourth and scored when Miguel Montero singled to center.
Goldschmidt stepped up with two on and one out in the fifth and drove both runners in with a double to deep center field.
3-1 D-Backs after five.
The Nationals put two on with two out in front of Jayson Werth in the eighth, but he flew out to left to end the inning. Two more stranded. 0 for 4 w/ RISP.
1. The Wrap-Up: The Nationals pushed a run across early, but through six innings that was all the damage they managed to do to Bronson Arroyo, who entered tonight's game with a (3-4) record and a 4.21 ERA against the Nationals in his career. After retiring the Nats in order in the seventh, the veteran right-hander was up to just 81 pitches.
After Arroyo got a fly to left from Jayson Werth to end the eighth, he was up to 100 pitches even.
Drew Storen took over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth and retired the side in order.
Arroyo came back out for the ninth and retired the Nationals in order. 3-1 final.
Nationals now 20-19