Thursday Afternoon Baseball Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Today's starters, Washington Nationals' left-hander Gio Gonzalez and Arizona Diamondbacks' lefty Wade Miley, matched one another with six scoreless each in the series finale in the nation's capital, Gonzalez on 89 pitches and Miley on 94. Gonzalez made it through an eight pitch seventh to finish his outing at 97 pitches overall, but Miley issued a base-loading, two-out walk to Adam LaRoche in the bottom of the inning, bringing his own start to an end.
The Nationals were trying to sweep the series and win their 10th straight overall.
The bullpens kept it scoreless through eight and a half.
Denard Span singled to start the Nationals' ninth, stole second and then scored on a grounder to third by Anthony Rendon when D-Backs' third baseman Jordan Pacheco bounced a throw by first that left the field of play.
Walk-off error? Unreal. Nationals win, 1-0. 10 straight. And the sweep.
4. Bounce back Gio?: In his last seven starts, going back to July 10th, 28-year-old Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez is (0-5) with the Nats 2-5 when he's taken the mound.
Over that stretch, Gonzalez has put up a 5.20 ERA with 17 walks (4.21 BB/9) and 43 Ks (10.65 K/9) in 36 ⅓ IP over which opposing hitters have put up a .283/.358/.386 line against him.
In his last two outings, Gonzalez has thrown a total of 213 pitches in 9 ⅔ innings, struggling with his command while walking six batters and giving up 13 hits and five earned runs in a loss to the Braves in Atlanta which left him (6-9) on the year and a win over the PIttsburgh Pirates in which he received no decision.
After Gonzalez faced the Bucs last weekend, Nats' skipper Matt Williams was asked if there was any concern that the left-hander, who missed time on the DL earlier this season with left shoulder inflammation, was still having problems with the shoulder.
Williams said it was more of a command problem with Gonzalez struggling to locate either his fastball or his curve rather than a health issue.
"He feels good," Williams said. "His velocity is good. He's complained of no pain or anything. It's just a question of command and that curveball is important for him. So he'll address it with [Steve McCatty] again and look for that arm slot and hopefully next time out he finds it early. We've seen that in his good outings, that he's had that, the ability to throw it for a strike when he wants to and down in the zone when he wants to, that makes him really effective."
The Nationals turned to Gonzalez today in the series finale with the D-Backs hoping he could keep help keep their current nine-game win streak going. He missed the Diamondbacks during the Nationals trip to Arizona in May.
In two career starts before this afternoon's, Gonzalez was (2-0) against the D-Backs with a 2.03 ERA, four walks (2.70 BB/9) and 11 Ks (7.43 K/9) in 13 ⅓ IP in which Diamondbacks' hitters have put up a .269/.321/.346 line against him.
At home in the nation's capital this season, the southpaw was (3-3) heading into today's start with a 4.67 ERA, a 2.52 FIP, 20 walks (3.46 BB/9) and 54 Ks (9.35 K/9) in 52 IP in which he'd held visiting hitters to a .255/.327/.328 line.
1st: Ender Inciarte battled for ten pitches before rolling over a 93 mph full-count fastball. Cliff Pennington tried to bunt his way on, but Anthony Rendon was on it, making a barehand play and underhand throw to get out no.2. David Peralta's groundout to first ended a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 first.
2nd: An 82 mph 3-2 change got Mark Trumbo swinging for the first out of the D-Backs' second. Aaron Hill buzzed Gonzalez's tower with a line drive single to center. Jordan Pacheco grounded sharply to third where Anthony Rendon scooped it up and started a 5-4-3 inning-ending DP. 13-pitch frame, 28 total after two.
3rd: Alfredo Marte walked to start the third. Tuffy Gosewisch lined to right to put two on with no one out. Wade Miley bunted both runners over/gave up an out. Ender Inciante lined to short for out no.2. Cliff Pennington stepped in with two on and two out and lined out to right field to end a 16-pitch frame that left Gonzalez at 44 pitches total after three.
4th: David Peralta chased an 0-2 curve into the dirt, one down. Mark Trumbo grounded out to strong-armed Danny Espinosa at short. Aaron Hill's groundout to short ended a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth. 52 total.
5th: Jordan Pacheco K'd swinging over a filthy 1-2 bender. Alfredo Marte fell behind 0-2 quickly, but sent a soft liner to short right for a one-out single. Tuffy Gosewisch K'd taking a high 0-2 fastball inside for out no.2. Wade Miley lined a single over short and Bryce Harper misplayed it and then threw home, allowing the pitcher to move up a base. Ender Inciarte spit on a 1-2 bender low in the zone and took a 2-2 pitch as well to get to a full count and then walk to load the bases. Cliff Pennington stepped in with the bases loaded and popped up to first on a 1-0 change to end a 21-pitch frame. 73 total.
6th: David Peralta K'd swinging over a 1-2 bender. Mark Trumbo walked with one down taking the third free pass from Gonzalez. Aaron Hill sent a hard-hit fly to center where Denard Span caught out no.2. With Jordan Pacheco up, Trumbo was caught trying to steal second, bringing an end to a 16-pitch frame. 89 total for Gonzalez after six.
7th: Jordan Pacheco took a 78 mph 0-2 curve outside for a called strike three. Alfredo Marte lined out to right for out no.2. Tuffy Gosewisch rolled one out to short to end an eight-pitch frame that left Gonzalez at 97 pitches.
• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 97 P, 60 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
3. Miley in D.C.: A rough start against the Kansas City Royals in his first August outing, in which he gave up nine hits, three walks and 10 runs, all earned in just 4 ⅔ IP, skews the lefty's numbers for the month, but he bounced back from that beating with solid outings against the Colorado Rockies and Miami Marlins in which he gave up nine hits and five runs total, four earned (2.77 ERA) in 13 IP over which he held opposing hitters to a .188/.235/.354 line.
Miley, 27, took the loss in Marlins Park last time out, leaving him (5-3) in 13 starts away from Chase Field (vs 2-6 in 13 at home in AZ) with a 2.86 ERA (vs a 6.20 ERA at home), a 3.24 FIP (vs 4.91) and a .220/.295/.328 line against in 85 IP (vs a .280/.331/.508 line against in 78 ⅓ IP in Arizona).
Today's start was his fifth against the Nationals in his career.
In his four previous outings against the Nats, the left-hander was (1-2) with a 2.59 ERA, seven walks (2.59 BB/9) and 12 Ks (4.44 K/9) in 24 ⅓ IP, with Washington's hitters putting up a .290/.336/.420 line against him.
Two of the four starts took place in Nationals Park, where Miley was (1-1) with a 1.38 ERA, five walks (3.46 BB/9) and eight Ks (5.54 K/9) in 13 IP in which he's held Nats' hitters to a .240/.309/.400 line.
Miley took the mound in D.C. in the bottom of the first this afternoon and gave up a single by Denard Span and a walk to Jayson Werth before getting a double play grounder out of Adam LaRoche to end a 13-pitch first.
Wilson Ramos singled through the left side to start the Nationals' second. Bryce Harper singled to center. Three outs later, both runners were stranded at the end of a 20-pitch frame that left Miley at 33 total after two.
Denard Span walked to start the third and Anthony Rendon lined a single to left on a 93 mph 2-0 fastball. Span tagged and moved up on a fly to right off Jayson Werth's bat, but LaRoche grounded into his second straight inning-ender. 6-3 this time. 16-pitch frame, 49 overall after three.
An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth left Miley at 60 pitches total.
Danny Espinosa singled to start the home-half of the fifth, allowing Gio Gonzalez to bunt him over/give up an out. Denard Span stepped in with a runner in scoring position for the Nationals for the seventh time in four-plus innings and K'd swinging, 0 for 7 w/ RISP. Miley pitched around Anthony Rendon to get to Jayson Werth, who walked to load the bases with two down. Adam LaRoche worked the count full and K'd swinging at a 3-2 slider. 25-pitch frame. 85 total for Miley after five.
Wilson Ramos singled to left-center for another leadoff hit. Bryce Harper singled to center for the second straight hit. Asdrubal Cabrera K'd taking a 92 mph 1-2 fastball he thought was inside. 0 for 9 w/ RISP. Danny Espinosa grounded into an inning ending 6-4-3. 0 for 10 w/ RISP. Nine-pitch frame for Miley, 94 total after six.
Kevin Frandsen singled to center to start the Nats' seventh and took second on a sac bunt by Denard Span. Anthony Rendon stepped up with a runner in scoring position and one down and sent a fly to right for out no.2. Jayson Werth walked to bring Adam LaRoche (0 for 3, 2 GIDPs, 1 K)... and LaRoche walked to load the bases and end Miley's night... [ed. note - "Action picks up in no.1 below..."]
• Wade Miley's Line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 BB, 4 Ks, 114 P, 58 S, 7/5 GO/FO.
2. 10?: The Washington Nationals have come close, but no version of the nation's capital's Nats has bested the mark set by the Inaugural Nationals in 2005.
Between June 2nd that season and June 12th, the then-recently-relocated team strung together ten straight wins, beating the Atlanta Braves (1), "Florida" Marlins (3), Oakland A's (3) and Seattle Mariners (3).
The Nationals took the field today with a chance to tie the franchise mark after beating the New York Mets (3), Pittsburgh Pirates (3) and Arizona Diamondbacks (3).
A walk-off error gave them ten straight.
1. The Wrap-Up: Matt Stites took over on the mound with the bases loaded and two down in the Nationals' seventh and got a fly to short right from Wilson Ramos to end the threat and leave the Nationals 0 for 12 w/ RISP. Still 0-0 in D.C.
Matt Thornton took over for the Nationals in the top of the eighth and retired the side in order in a 14-pitch frame.
Oliver Perez retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the inning.
Rafael Soriano came on in a non-save situation and issued a one-out walk to Mark Trumbo, but Aaron Hill grounded to short to start an inning-ending 6-4-3. 10-pitch frame.
Oliver Perez came back out for a second inning of work and gave up a one-out single to center by Denard Span. D-Backs' skipper Kirk Gibson went to the pen for Evan Marshall vs Anthony Rendon. Span stole second to put himself in scoring position. SB no.27 of 2014. Anthony Rendon grounded to third in the next at bat and Jordan Pacheco bounced a throw by first and into the dugout. Walk-off error?
Nationals now 73-53