The Washington Nationals scored three runs in the bottom of the first on Tuesday night. They scored seven runs total for the third straight game. The Nats went 5 for 15 with runners in scoring position against Colorado Rockies in the second game of three in D.C. and connected for 10 hits total to go with seven walks. And as they have in recent days, the Nats cashed those runners in, starting with Jayson Werth's two-run double in the home-half of the first.
"We've got a lot of opportunities in the last couple of days," manager Matt Williams told reporters after the 7-1 win.
"Lot of guys out there. And that's what you ask for, so we've had a lot of opportunities with guys in scoring position and guys have come through. Jayson started it early and [Ryan Zimmerman] hit the sac fly. That put us ahead early. That helps your pitching staff and you get into the flow of the game if you can capitalize on those opportunities early and we did tonight."
Werth went 2 for 3 with two walks, starting the month of July strong after a .212/.297/.293 June in which the 35-year-old outfielder hit five doubles and a home run while striking out in 20 of 111 plate appearances,
"He's been working hard in the cage with Rick [Schu]," Williams said. "He stood up a little bit tonight. A little bit taller at the plate. They worked on that early today. And so he said he saw the ball a little better tonight. Which is good. And he got that curveball in the first inning and hit it hard passed the third baseman so that's a really good sign for him."
"He's a big guy," Williams explained when asked what he meant when saying that Werth "stood up" at the plate.
"If he gets too crouched he tends to get long with his stride. So he just made a minor adjustment, he stood a little taller the plate. It gets him on top of the baseball a little bit more. He was comfortable with that tonight."
"I've been working hard," Werth told reporters, "and I'm glad it came through for me tonight."
After driving in two runs with his first inning double to left field and scoring on Zimmerman's sac fly, Werth lined another double to right in the fourth to bring Anthony Rendon around and make it 6-0.
"The second one was more telling just because the pitch was down and in," the Nats' right fielder said. "And that's one thing I've been able to do throughout my career is hit fastballs that were inside. I've been able barrel those balls to right-center and sometimes I'll hit home runs to right-center on pitches like that. That was a little bit more telling than the first one, so it felt good."
With everyone healthy for now and back on the field, the Nationals' offense has come up big in the last three games.
Werth wants to get in on the action after struggling through a rough four weeks at the plate.
"It's not for lack of effort that's for sure," he said of the recent issues, "so it was nice to come through for the guys tonight."
Werth came up big at the plate. Stephen Strasburg dominated on the mound. The Nats won again. They've won four straight, which they've done before this season, but they've never won five. One more with the Rockies tonight... and Doug Fister's on the mound. Game Time: 6:05 pm EDT tonight. Until then, links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!:
• THE BIG STORY!!!:
• "In the wake of one of the worst performances of his career, Stephen Strasburg mentioned a mechanical glitch he needed to fix..." - "Strasburg bounces back to lead Nationals over Rockies" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• NATS BEAT:
• "Big talent. Good person. Youthful enthusiasm. But absolutely loves attention; so did Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson." - "Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post
• "Zimmermann’s tremendous June came after significant struggles in May, when he posted a 5.06 ERA in five starts." - "Zimmermann concludes superb June" - Daniel Popper, All Nats All the Time
• "The Washington Nationals arrived at the easy way to avoid controversy, the best method to scuttle any lingering hard feelings." - "Stephen Strasburg, Nationals have their way with the Rockies in 7-1 win" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post
• "'I’ve got to let you guys know something: I’ve got Bryce’s back, in every way,' Williams said prior to the Nationals’ game against the Rockies." - "Matt Williams: 'I’ve got Bryce’s back in every way'" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Today, Bryce Harper is 21 apparently going on 12." - "Bryce Harper is still just 21 years old, but he needs to stop acting like he’s 12" - Mike Wise, The Washington Post
• "Jayson Werth went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two walks and three RBIs, Anthony Rendon added two RBIs himself, and the Nats cruised to their fourth straight win." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams discusses Nats' 7-1 rout of Rockies" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "'When he throws 94, 95, 96 [miles per hour], [Strasburg] has to have command of that and be able to get the secondary stuff over,' Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau said." - "Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals - July 1, 2014" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap
• "Speaking to The Post alone at his locker, Span expressed surprised at Harper making his opinion public but said he would still support Harper." - "Denard Span reacts to Bryce Harper: ‘He’s still one of my teammates'" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post
• "The Nationals scored three runs in the bottom of the first, then scored four times in the bottom of the fourth, getting contributions from nearly everybody..." - "Nationals rout Rockies to improve to season-best 7 games over .500" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, as with any starter, pitches better with a lead. But it really seems to help Strasburg..." - "Strasburg works with early advantage against Rockies (Nats win 7-1)" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
Williams said he may look to get Danny Espinosa back in the lineup tomorrow.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 2, 2014
• "For more than three years, Nationals reliever Aaron Barrett has pitched using the exact same routine, which includes a unique hitch before he comes to the set." - "Barrett called for unexpected balk" - Daniel Popper, nationals.com: News
• "Pitching coach Steve McCatty said there is nothing alarming about Strasburg’s mechanics or performance this season." - "Steve McCatty unconcerned with Stephen Strasburg’s mechanics" - James Wagner, Washington Post
• "Strasburg has worked during his side session on his most important pitch, his fastball, which he had trouble locating in his last start at Milwaukee." - "Strasburg and Werth key Nationals' series win over Colorado" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "LaRoche is not a rah-rah type of guy, but he leads by example. He is looking to play in his first All-Star Game." - "Nationals deserving of All-Star Game berths; voting ends Thursday" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News
• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):
Since we are increasingly interdependent it's time to develop a sense of global responsibility, to help each other and promote human values.— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) November 8, 2013
• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:
• "Bryce Harper did not even wait a game to begin questioning his manager’s lineup." - "Bryce Harper complains about Matt Williams' lineup" - Larry Brown, Larry Brown Sports
• "Friedrich walked the first two batters, and it didn't get much better." - "Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals - July 1, 2014" - Thomas Harding, MLB.com COL Recap
• "It was Stubbs' first career start in the No. 4 spot. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg." - "Drew Stubbs moves up to cleanup spot in Rockies' batting order" - Nick Groke, The Denver Post
• "Essentially, Harper’s return forced Matt Williams to make a choice between two players: Denard Span and Danny Espinosa." - "Sorry, Bryce: Matt Williams is Right" - Dave Cameron, FanGraphs Baseball
• "As the Rockies teeter between a rushing need to rally and the ruin of irrelevance, no man better embodies that balancing act than pitcher Christian Friedrich." - "Rockies no match for Washington Nationals, Stephen Strasburg" - Nick Groke, The Denver Post
• "Central Wisconsin native Jordan Zimmermann improved to 5-and-0 lifetime against Colorado, as the Washington Nationals scored a 7-3 home victory..." - "Bucks officially fire Drew, haven't announce Kidd's hiring yet" - Pierce County Herald
• "Rockies left-hander Tyler Matzek hasn't been able to find that winning magic since his Major League debut...." - "Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals - July 2, 2014" - Cody Ulm, MLB.com Preview
• NATS MINORS:
• Class-A Auburn: "Each of the first four runs that crossed the plate for the Doubledays was generated with two outs, and Auburn topped Mahoning Valley 4-2 at Falcon Park." - "Two-out rallies boost Doubledays" - Auburn Doubledays News
VIDEO: The Auburn Doubledays take late lead, top Mahoning Valley Scrappers 5-2 http://t.co/URslNwWyTc— Jeremy Houghtaling (@CitizenHough) July 2, 2014
• Low-A Hagerstown: "The South Atlantic League announced on Monday that Suns RHP Lucas Giolito was named the league's Pitcher of the Week for the week spanning from June 23 - 29." - "Giolito named SAL Pitcher of the Week" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News
• High-A Potomac: "Wilmington plated one run in the opening inning against Potomac LHP Matthew Spann (5-3), who suffered his fifth loss of the campaign." - "Blue Rocks Bury Nationals 8-2 as Santos Rolls to First Win" - Potomac Nationals News
• Triple-A Syracuse: "Right fielder Steven Souza, Jr. homered twice in the game and singled in the tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning." - "Bisons edge Chiefs despite Souza's homers" - Syracuse Chiefs News
• "Giolito, Lopez Earn Weekly Honors" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com
• "Nats’ June in review: A very good chance to win a ball game" - Nat Anacostia, Nats Noodles
• "In terms of the offense, how Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth go, the Nationals go. Both are productively dynamic hitters that approach their time in the batter’s box in very different ways." - "Statistically Speaking: A Tale of Two Strike Zones" - Stuart Wallace, District Sports Page
• "The Nats relievers, according to MASN’s Dan Kolko, were tired of having to stare through a fence to watch the action at Nats Park." - "Nats install bullpen seating for relievers" - Dan Steinberg, The Washington Post
Big day for the pen. Got ourselves some new seating to see the action from above the cage. pic.twitter.com/rliQV3u54A— Drew Storen (@DrewStoren) July 1, 2014
• "With ample run support, an unfamiliar feeling for the ace, Strasburg (W, 7-6) cruised." - "Strasburg Brilliant as Nats Demolish Rockies" - Andrew Flax, The Nats Blog
• "On Tuesday night at Nationals Park, Teddy Roosevelt stopped his fellow racing presidents on the warning track to read them the 'Joke of the Day'..." - "Video: Abe shows no sense of humor on International Joke Day" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!
Gio attempts to throw sunflower seeds into a coach's pants pocket https://t.co/ffJ2EOQU2K— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) July 2, 2014
• NL EAST UPDATES:
• Braves: "Simmons' effort was part of yet another stellar night from the Braves' bullpen, which gave up only one hit and struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings." - "Bullpen's performance keeps Braves rolling" - Mark Bowman and Joe Morgan, braves.com: News
• Marlins: "Henderson Alvarez couldn’t notch his sixth win of the season Tuesday night." - "Ed Lucas’ hit lifts Miami Marlins to victory over Phillies" - Manny Navarro, MiamiHerald.com
• Phillies: "Amaro: 'These next 10 game leading into the All-Star break are going to tell us a lot about where we’re going to go.'" - "It's July and Amaro is assessing trade market" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News
• Mets: "The Mets catcher changed a lot during those 17 days away but it wasn’t the mechanics of his swing. It was the mechanics of his mind." - "For Travis d'Arnaud, Vegas trip for Mets no minor adjustment" - Roger Rubin, NY Daily News