What was the most impressive thing you saw in Nationals Park tonight? Livan Hernandez's 5.1 inning, 123 pitch performance against Atlanta? Josh Willingham's solo HR to left off Kenshin Kawakami in the second? Roger Bernadina's run-saving, inning-ending diving catch to rob Troy Glaus on a line drive to right in the third? The HR the Braves' Jason Heyward hit to straight center and off the emergency vehicle parked behind the outfield fence? Boo!! The 69 mph first-pitch curve from Kawakami that Ian Desmond crushed to center and into the Red Porch seats for a game-winning solo HR in the fifth? YEAH!!! Or Adam Dunn's towering leadoff blast in the sixth that put the Nats up 4-2. Or was it simply the first matchup between Livan Hernandez and the Braves' young outfielder Mr. Heyward, which saw the 35-year-old right-hander drop a few mid-to-high 60's curves on the 20-year-old hitter, who gave up any thought of swinging and took a six-pitch walk. (ed. note - "What's more impressive, is that Heyward battled Hernandez for 8 pitches in his second AB, homering when Livan was forced to throw a full-count sinking fastball that ended up 420-430 ft from home). Miguel Batista's struggles were the only real disappointment as he started the ninth after Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard held the lead through eight. Batista gave up a one-out walk to Chipper Jones and an RBI single to Brian McCann that made it 6-3 before the Nats turned their 3-run lead over to Matt Capps, who got a DP grounder from Troy Glaus to end the game and convert his 11th save of the season...
• Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...
Comment Battle Royal: Talking Chop - 1,966, Federal Baseball - 521. (That's ugly.)
• Natinals Joke Count: Talking Chop - 1,967, Federal Baseball - 1, well 2. (That's ugly.)
Nationals now 14-12.
Game Notes: John Lannan To Miss Start, Nats To Hire Bryce Harper's Coach? Full Game Report.
• John Lannan To Miss Start: Just after this afternoon's Manager's meeting, all the beat writers following the Nationals broke the news at once that DC lefty John Lannan would miss a start with what was described as "elbow discomfort", with DC GM Mike Rizzo quoted in a Tweet by MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling (@masnben) addressing Lannan's status by saying:
"John Lannan had a clean MRI three weeks ago, but had discomfort in his elbow and will only miss one start."
According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's (@washingnats) Lannan-related Tweet, "...doctors found swelling in John Lannan's left elbow, but no structural damage." The Nats' 25-year-old left-hander told reporters, as quoted on the Twitter by Dave Nichols from the Nats News Network (@NatsNewsNetwork), that the, "...discomfort started in start against Colorado, effects two-seamer and changeup, pitches he needs to succeed," and during an interview on MASN's broadcast Lannan told viewers that he couldn't go out to the mound when not 100% because it wasn't fair to his teammates. The speculation immediately after the announcement, had the Nats looking to Syracuse where J.D. Martin could be called up to make a start, or before his rough outing in relief, Miguel Batista, who could be stretched out a bit from his usual long-relief role. No word on that as of 12:05 am...
• The oddest story of the evening however, came from SI.com's Jon Heyman who wrote, in an article entitled, "Nationals working to hire Harper's college coach as scout" about the Nationals', "expected hiring of well-regarded College of Southern Nevada coach Tim Chambers," a move which Mr. Heyman believes, "...will be viewed my many as a sign the Nats do indeed plan to select Harper, the 17-year-old slugging prodigy, with the top overall pick." I'd think so. But it's not. Huh? As Mr. Heyman writes, taking away some of the shock factor achieved with his headline, Nats' Asst. GM Roy Clark, "...employed Chambers for a decade when Clark was with the Braves." But they're totally going to sign Harper too...And Strasburg will be up by June...
FULL GAME REPORT:
1 - Nationals' right-hander Livan Hernandez goes to a full count with Nate McLouth, who fouls a few off and then lines one off the out-of-town scoreboard just right of center for a double. Martin Prado up next, and Roger Bernadina flat drops his line drive to right. First and third. Livan Hernandez throws a cut-back fastball inside that breaks over the plate for strike three against Chipper Jones. Brian McCann walks to load the bases with one down. Troy Glaus flies to center, Nyjer Morgan gets there. Sac fly, 1-0 Braves. Jason Heyward takes a 3-2 curve that's called ball four inside. Melky Cabrera grounds toward second, Livan misses, but Cristian Guzman gets there and throws to first. 1-0 Braves...Nyjer Morgan drops a perfect bunt in the grass in front of third and Chipper doesn't bother. Morgan's out at second on a sharp grounder by Cristian Guzman, one down. Ryan Zimmerman K's swinging at a slow curve, and Guzman gets thrown out going for second, 1-0 Braves after one scoreless by Kenshin Kawakami.
2 - Omar Infante grounds weakly to short, Ian Desmond's arm is up to it. Ryan Zimmerman throws out Kenshin Kawakami. Nate McLouth grounds to first, quick 1-2-3 for Livan Hernandez...Big Adam Dunn flies out to center. Josh Willingham waits for the sinker to break in and launches it to left, 1-1 game as it goes into the stands. Roger Bernadina connects on a line drive to right, Pudge goes first to third. Ian Desmond singles up the middle and under a diving Omar Infante to score Pudge. 2-1 Nats. Livan Hernandez bunts both runners into scoring position, but Nyjer Morgan grounds out to third.
3 - Nyjer Morgan takes a little run back to catch Martin Prado's fly ball. Chipper Jones sneaks one into the corner on Josh Willingham, who misses the fly to left. Ground-rule double for Chipper. Brian McCann grounds out to Desmond at short, Chipper stays at third. Troy Glaus rips a line drive to right, Roger Bernadina flat out robs Glaus with a diving grab!! 2-1 Nats after two and a half...Cristian Guzman grounds out to second. Ryan Zimmerman almost beats out a grounder to short, but Omar Infante backhands it and throws him out. Jason Heyward's back on the track to catch Dunn's fly ball as it falls.
4 - Jason Heyward fouls off a few of the curves he missed in his first AB, then straightens out a fastball or change, who can tell, and lines it deep to center and over the wall. 2-2 game. Melky Cabrera flies out to the Hammer in left. Omar Infante hits a broken bat liner to Ian Desmond, who gets it on one hop? (He caught it.) and throws to first for the out. Livan gives up a single to Kawakami, and then walks Nate McLouth with two down. Martin Prado grounds to short, Ian Desmond tosses to Guzman, 2-2 in the fourth...Josh Willingham grounds out to Chipper at third. Pudge Rodriguez flies out to center. Roger Bernadina pops out behind short.
5 - Chipper Jones grounds to Guzman at second. Nats in the shift with McCann up, and his weak grounder to second is fielded by Ian Desmond who throws it over first for an infield hit and the throwing error. McCann to second. Troy Glaus grounds out to short, Desmond throws to first. Jason Heyward gets the intentionals to bring up Melky Cabrera with two on and two out. Fly to left, 2-2 in the fifth...IAN DESMOND GOES DEEP!! Desmond waits on a curve and crushes it, deep to center and gone. 3-2 Nats. Livan Hernandez flies to left, will apparently stay in. Nyjer Morgan grounds to short. Cristian Guzman's single keeps the inning alive for Ryan Zimmerman. Zim grounds back to the mound, Kawakami has it.
6 - Omar Infante grounds back to the mound. Brooks Conrad takes a one-out walk and Livan Hernandez's night is done. Sean Burnett takes over and gets McLouth swinging, Conrad's running, and safe, just. Martin Prado rips a grounder to short through Conrad's legs, but Desmond stays with it and throws Prado out...Adam Du---SHAKE N BAKE!! SHAKE N BAKE!!! Solo HR to left and Gone! 4-2 Nats as Eric O'Flaherty gives it up. Josh Willingham grounds out to short. Pudge grounds out to second base. Roger Bernadina does the same. 4-2 Nats.
7 - First pitch fastball to Chipper Jones and a leadoff single in front of McCann. McCann K's flailing at a yawner across the zone from Sean Burnett. One out. Tyler Clippard takes over against Troy Glaus. Glaus flies out to center. Jason Heyward gets one by Dunn and first and by Guzman's outstretched glove. Two on, two out. Melky Cabrera gets down 0-2 in a hurry and fouls off a few, but takes strike three to end the Braves' seventh...Jonny Venters vs Ian Desmond in the Nats' half of the frame. Desmond flies out to center. Justin Maxwell gets a PH appearance and works another walk, taking second on Nyjer Morgan's groundout. Cristian Guzman's up, 1-0 fastball, single to center, Guzman hits and RBI line drive. 5-2 Nats. Zimmerman grounds into the inning-ending force. 5-2 Nats.
8 - Omar Infante flies to Roger Bernadina, who's in left now. Eric Hinske flies to Maxwell in right. Two down, and it's three in a row for Tyler Clippard when Nate McLouth stares strike three all the way in...Adam Dunn vs Jesse Chavez to start the Nats' eighth. Leadoff walk. Willy Taveras on to run. Alberto Gonzalez bunts Taveras over in front of Pudge. Pudge singles through short, Taveras to third. Roger Bernadina with the dribbler toward first, Glaus makes a lazy last second toss and Bernadina beats it out. Taveras scores, 6-2 Nats. Ian Desmond K's on ball four low. Justin Maxwell with two on and two out. Maxwell K's. 6-2 Nats after eight.
9 - Miguel Batista vs Martin Prado. Prado flies out to Morgan in center. Chipper Jones walks with one down and Brian McCann's single scores the Braves' third run. 6-3 Nationals. And Matt Capps is coming on. Capps vs Glaus. Glaus grounds to third, Zimmerman to Alberto Gonzalez at second, to Adam Kennedy at first, double play!!! 6-3 Nats win.