Sunday #TeamStrasbaton Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Before this afternoon, seven of the 19 home runs Washington Nationals' starter Stephen Strasburg allowed this year came in the first inning. Opposing hitters have put up a .292/.316/.540 line against the 26-year-old right-hander in 27 opening frames. San Francisco Giants' leadoff man Gregor Blanco hit the eighth first-inning home run off the Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick in 28 starts on a 95 mph 3-2 fastball, taking it out to right field in Nationals Park and over the out-of-town scoreboard for his second homer of 2014 and a 1-0 lead early in the series finale in the nation's capital.
Giants' first baseman Travis Ishikawa hit the second home run off Strasburg in two innings out to left-center and into the Red Porch seats for another leadoff home run and a 2-0 lead over the Nats after two.
Hunter Pence and Buster Posey hit back-to-back singles in the first two at bats of the third and after Pence took third on a flyout to left by Pablo Sandoval, Michael Morse drove him in with an RBI double off the out-of-town scoreboard in right field. 3-0 Giants. A bases-loaded sac fly by Travis Ishikawa and an RBI single by Brandon Crawford made it 5-0 Giants after two and a half in D.C.
Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche hit back-to-back doubles to start the fourth with LaRoche's two-base hit driving Werth in to get the Nationals on the board, down 5-1. Asdrubal Cabrera hit the third double of the inning with two down to drive LaRoche in and make it 5-2.
A leadoff triple to right by Gregor Blanco and a sac fly to right by Hunter Pence made it 6-2 Giants in the sixth.
The Nationals rallied with one down in the bottom of the sixth, however. Ian Desmond hit a solo home run to left in Ryan Vogelsong's final at bat of the game. Bryce Harper doubled to left off Jeremy Affeldt and took third on an RBI single by Asdrubal Cabrera before scoring on a wild pitch to Jose Lobaton, 6-4. Lobaton singled to left to drive Cabrera in, 6-5, then scored himself when pinch hitter Scott Hairston lined a double to left, 6-6.
Jayson Werth brought Hairston in with an RBI single to center one out later, and Anthony Rendon, who walked to get Werth to the plate, scored on an RBI single to left by Adam LaRoche as the Nationals jumped out to an 8-6 lead.
The Nationals rallied with two down in the seventh with three-straight singles by Jose Lobaton, pinch hitter Danny Espinosa and Denard Span, whose second hit of the game drove Lobaton in to make it 9-6 Nationals.
Jayson Werth walked and stole second in the bottom of the eighth before scoring on an RBI single to center by Ian Desmond. Desmond came home the easy way when Bryce Harper crushed a first-pitch fastball from Juan Gutierrez and bounced a two-run blast off the right field foul pole. 12-6 Nationals. A two-run home run by Danny Espinosa made it 14-6.
That's how it ended...
4. #TeamStrasbaton: In four August starts, 26-year-old Washington Nationals' starter Stephen Strasburg is (3-1) with a 2.67 ERA, a 3.91 FIP, six walks (2.00 BB/9) and 31 Ks (10.33 K/9) in 27 IP over which he's held opposing hitters to a combined .170/.222/.380 line.
With the exception of his rough outing against the Braves in Atlanta, the Nats' right-hander has been solid since starting the second-half of the 2014 campaign with two sub-par outings against the Brewers and Rockies.
After dropping three straight decisions out of the Break, two of them on the road in Colorado and Miami, Strasburg returned to the nation's capital for a start against the Philadelphia Phillies on August 3rd in which he struck out 10 batters in seven scoreless. He followed up the blow-up against the Braves in Turner Field with a dominant outing against the Mets on the road in New York's Citi Field, then returned home to face the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In eight innings of work in an 8-1 win over the D-Backs, he threw just 95 pitches, giving up just three hits, a walk and one run, improving to (10-10) on the year with the win. The one run he allowed, came on a two-out, first-inning home run by outfielder David Peralta, who connected on the seventh first-inning home run Strasburg has allowed in 27 starts this season. Outside of that blast, Strasburg was dominant on the mound in Nationals Park.
"Really good," Nationals' skipper Matt Williams said. "With the exception of the homer in the first, he was in complete control. Not a lot of strikeouts, but a lot of ground balls. Limited pitch count, putting the ball in play, which is good."
As Williams stressed after Strasburg's start against the Mets in the previous outing, his decision to start attacking hitters inside was producing good results.
"It opens the plate for him," Williams explained to reporters, "and allows him to throw his other pitches with even more effectiveness. But I think the biggest thing it does, it opens up the down and away and that's important for him."
The win at home left Strasburg (8-2) in 14 starts in Nationals Park this season with a 2.86 ERA, 2.35 FIP, 15 walks (1.44 BB/9) and 116 Ks (11.11 K/9) in 94 IP in which he's held visiting hitters to a combined .225/.263/.336 line.
This afternoon, Strasburg was facing the San Francisco Giants for the second time this season after holding them to one run on four hits in a 9-2 win in a June 9th start in AT&T Park.
That outing left him (3-0) in four career starts against the NL West franchise with a 1.80 ERA, eight walks (2.88 BB/9) and 29 Ks (10.44 K/9) in 25 IP, over which Giants' hitters have put up a .188/.258/.259 line against him.
Strasburg's 15th start of the year at home and his fifth career start against San Francisco began with yet another first-inning home run...
1st: Gregor Blanco crushed a 95 mph 3-2 fastball, sending a solo shot out over the out-of-town scoreboard in right. 1-0 Giants. Hunter Pence chased an 0-2 curve into the dirt. Buster Posey sent a fly ball to right for out no.2. Pablo Sandoval singled through the left side of the infield with two down. Michael Morse walked with two down, but a groundout to first by Joe Panik ended a 24-pitch first.
2nd: Giants' first baseman Travis Ishikawa took a 94 mph 1-2 fastball for a ride, sending the second home run in two innings and his second home run of the season out to left-center and into the Red Porch seats in Nationals Park. 2-0 Giants. Brandon Crawford popped to left for the first out of the second. Ryan Vogelsong K'd swinging at a 1-2 fastball. Gregor Blanco took a 96 mph fastball for a called strike three and out no.3 of a 15-pitch frame. 39 total after two.
3rd: Hunter Pence and Buster Posey hit back-to-back singles to left and right, respectively, to start the Giants' third. Pence took third on a flyout to left by Pablo Sandoval. Michael Morse stepped in with runners on the corners and one out and bounced an RBI double off the top of the out-of-town scoreboard in right to make it a 3-0 game. Joe Panik walked to load the bases with one down. Travis Ishikawa's sac fly to left made it 4-0 Giants. Brandon Crawford's RBI single to center brought Morse in to make it 5-0. Ryan Vogelsong's grounder to the mound ended a 23-pitch frame that left Strasburg at 62 pitches overall after three.
Strasburg gave up five total runs in first four career starts against Giants. They have five through three innings.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) August 24, 2014
4th: Gregor Blanco grounded out to second to start the Giants' fourth. Hunter Pence tested Ian Desmond's backhand. Desmond passed the test. Buster Posey hit a low liner through short with two down. Posey took second on a pitch in the dirt to Pablo Sandoval, but was stranded there when the "Big Panda" K'd swinging through 97 mph 3-2 fastball. 17-pitch frame for Strasburg, 79 total after four.
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HR, 79 P, 49 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
3. Same Old Vogelsong: In his June 9th start in AT&T Park, 37-year-old, 10-year veteran Ryan Vogelsong gave up nine hits, two walks and six earned runs in six innings of what ended up a 9-2 loss to the visiting Washington Nationals. That start left the right-hander (1-2) in eight career outings against the Nationals, four of them starts, over which he's put up a 6.39 ERA with 11 walks (3.90 BB/9) and 21 Ks (7.46 K/9) in 25 ⅓ IP.
Nats' hitters have put up a combined .292/.370/.443 line against Vogelsong in his career.
Since that June start, the Giants' starter is (3-6) with a 3.62 ERA and a .255/.302/.386 line against in 12 starts with San Francisco 4-8 when he toes the rubber.
So far in August, Vogelson has been solid with a 2.08 ERA and a 4.75 FIP in four starts and 26 IP over which he's held opposing hitters to a .167/.237/.348 line.
On the road this season, before this afternoon's start, Vogelsong was (5-3) in 12 road starts with a 4.38 ERA (vs a 3.22 ERA in AT&T), a 4.99 FIP (vs 2.47) and a .277/.354/.468 line against in 81 IP (vs a .235/.285/.356 line against in 63 ⅔ IP at home).
Vogelsong's 13th road start of the 2014 campaign began with a scoreless 24-pitch first in which he pitched around one and two-out walks. Asdrubal Cabrera took a one-out walk in the second, but Jose Lobaton grounded into an inning-ending 1-6-3 DP. 16-pitch frame. 40 total after two. A nine-pitch, 1-2-3 third left him at 49 pitches after three scoreless.
The first hit off Vogelsong today was a line drive double to left by Jayson Werth in the first at bat of the fourth, which was followed quickly by an RBI double to left-center off Adam LaRoche's bat that drove Werth in to make it a 5-1 game. Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to left-center two outs later to drive LaRoche in and make it 5-2. A two-out walk to Asdrubal Cabrera ended Stephen Strasburg's night, but pinch hitter Nate Schierholtz sent a fly to center to end the threat and a 23-pitch frame by Vogelsong, who was up to 72 pitches overall.
Vogelsong came back with a scoreless 17-pitch fifth that left him at 89 pitches overall.
One out into the sixth, the Giants' right-hander gave up a solo home run to left by Ian Desmond on a hanging-a$$ first-pitch slider that ended up sailing out over the 106.7 the FAN sign at the back of the left field bullpen. 6-3 Nats. That was all for Vogelsong... [ed. note - " Action picks up at no.1 below..."]
• Ryan Vogelsong's Line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 56 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
2. Turning Point(s): Another first-inning home run off Stephen Strasburg. A leadoff blast in the second. The Giants jumped out to a 2-0 lead early, but it was a three-run third that gave them a big lead in the series finale of the three-game set in the nation's capital. Back-to-back singles by Hunter Pence and Buster Posey started the frame, and one out later former Nationals' outfielder Michael Morse did what fans in Nationals Park have seen him do many times before, go the other way with a pitch inside and double to right off the out-of-town scoreboard. Morse's 30th double of the year for San Franciso made it a 3-0 game and two more runs scored in the third as the Giants jumped out to a 5-0 lead in a 23-pitch frame by Strasburg.
Nats down a five-spot early. pic.twitter.com/NRswTEmbFB— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) August 24, 2014
Ian Desmond sparked the Nats' rally and comeback in the sixth, however, with a one-out solo home run to left field in Nationals Park that cleared the visitor's bullpen and knocked Vogelsong out of the game. Seven hits and five runs later, the Nationals were up 8-6. Desmond struck out to end the inning, but started the rally with his 21st home run of the season.
1. The Wrap-Up: Stephen Strasburg was hit for in the fourth, so Craig Stammen took over on the mound in the top of the fifth. Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford hit one and two-out singles, but Ryan Vogelsong grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 to get Stammen through a scoreless 13-pitch fifth.
Gregor Blanco tripled on a line drive by first that bounced off the ball girl's chair in front of the cutout down the line in right and scored on a sac fly to right field by Hunter Pence for a 6-2 Giants' lead after five and a half.
After Ryan Vogelsong was done... Jeremy Affeldt took over on the mound for Vogelsong with one out in the sixth and gave up a double to left by Bryce Harper and an infield single by Asdrubal Cabrera. With Harper on third and Jose Lobaton at the plate, a passed ball/wild pitch allowed the Nationals' fourth run to come in, 6-4 when Harper scored. Lobaton's RBI single to left brought Cabrera in too, 6-5. Pinch hitter Scott Hairston lined an RBI to left in the next at bat and it was all tied up at 6-6 in D.C. An infield single by Denard Span ended Affeldt's outing.
Span got picked off first by Giants' reliever Jean Machi for the second out of the frame, but a walk by Anthony Rendon brought Jayson Werth to the plate and Werth's RBI single drove Hairston in to make it 7-6 Nationals. Adam LaRoche went the other way for a line drive single to left and Rendon came around with Bob Henley waving him all the way. 8-6 Nationals.
Drew Storen took over on the mound for the Nationals in the seventh and retired the Giants in order in a 10-pitch frame.
Javier Lopez gave up back-to-back two-out singles by Jose Lobaton and Danny Espinosa, and Denard Span drove Lobaton in. 9-6 Nats.
Tyler Clippard gave up a leadoff single by Brandon Crawford, but completed a scoreless seven-pitch eighth.
Juan Gutierrez gave up a leadoff walk to Jayson Werth in the home-half of the eighth and Werth scored on an RBI single to center by Ian Desmond. Bryce Harper stepped in next and hit a first-pitch fastball off the right field foul pole for a two-run HR and a 12-6 lead. Danny Espinosa hit a two-out blast out to right field for a 14-6 lead before the eight was over.
Rafael Soriano came on in a non-save situation and retired the Giants in order. Ballgame. 14-6 final.
Nationals now 75-54