clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wire Taps: Can Nationals put Monday's ugly loss to Red Sox behind them?

New, 23 comments

Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams was not happy with the Nats' defense on Monday. Can the defending NL East Champs put it all behind them and come through in the second game of three in Fenway?

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It's not a matter of effort. It's not preparation either. Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams assured reporters after Monday's error-filled 9-4 loss to the Red Sox in Boston's Fenway Park that his team was putting the necessary work in, in spite of the results over the first seven games.

"It's not preparation," Williams said. "We work every single day. Guys work their fannies off. But it's got to get better than that. We just don't give ourselves a chance. So, you've got your pitcher out there working his tail off to get outs, and they're provided for our team and if we don't make the plays behind him, then it's very difficult. We'll come prepared to play tomorrow."

Stephen Strasburg takes the mound tonight when the Nationals and Red Sox play the second game of their three-game Interleague set. Strasburg looks to bounce back from last Thursday's loss to the New York Mets, which saw the 26-year-old right-hander give up nine hits and six runs (three earned) in 5 ⅓ IP.

"We've got to catch the ball tomorrow," Williams said. "And see if we can help Stephen out."

Backing the Nationals' starters up with solid defense, Williams said, "... it's always a focus for us. It's always important to us. It will continue to be. And it's got to get better than that though."

Can the Nationals rebound from the disappointing showing in the series opener with the Sox? We'll find out at 6:05 PM EDT. Until then, catch up on the last 24 hours of Nats news. Links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• NATS BEAT: Betts pulls home run back; Nats' defensive issues; Injury updates

What went wrong in Fenway?:

• "He called the loss 'about as bad as you can get' but said he didn’t consider the loss a wake-up call for a team with lofty expectations." - "Nationals vs. Red Sox: Washington suffers sloppy, 9-4 loss to Boston" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "It’s small consolation on an otherwise dreadful afternoon, but Danny Espinosa homered left-handed." - "Red Sox 9, Nats 4: D.C. debacle in Fenway opener" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "When the dust cleared, Zimmermann's final line read eight runs allowed, seven earned, on nine hits with one walk and two hit batters." - "Nationals Pastime: Horrendous defense leads to early exit for Zimmermann (Red Sox win 9-4)" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals played poor defense behind Zimmermann, but he declined to use the miscues as an excuse." - "Unable to get good grip, Zimmermann turns in short start" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com

• "The difference is not that the Nationals lost, but how they lost." - "Matt Williams, Nationals seek improvement after loss to Red Sox" - Tom Schad, Washington Times

• "Defensive struggles are not new for the Nationals. Through 37 games last season, by May 12, Washington had committed 34 errors — almost an error a game." - "Nationals defense off to slow start, again" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

• "On paper, the stats said the Nationals made one error in the game, but the truth is, they misplayed quite a few balls." - "Williams dismayed by numerous miscues" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com

• "The Nats misplayed two easy fly balls in the third inning alone, helping the Red Sox run four across the plate." - "Nationals Pastime: Defensively challenged Nats can't execute under pressure" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "It was a rare acknowledgement from the Nationals manager of the pressure heaped upon his team, consensus World Series favorites despite the way it has played through the season’s first seven games." - "The weight of expectations, and when enough is enough" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

Betts, Betts, Betts, It's all about Mookie Betts:

• "Betts, a converted second baseman, is the same age as Harper, though the Nationals right fielder has played 300 more games." - "Mookie Betts robs Bryce Harper of a homer with incredible catch" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

• "Betts’ stone-cold rob of Harper’s first inning drive that appeared destined for the Boston bullpen in deep right-center brought the sellout crowd at Fenway to its feet..." - "Red Sox’s Mookie Betts dazzles in only 2 innings against Nationals" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Mookie Betts robbed Bryce Harper of a homer, stole two bases in one sequence and clubbed a three-run homer." - "Zimmermann, defense struggle against Red Sox" - Ian Browne and Bill Ladson, nationals.com

Jayson Werth returns

• "There was just one small thing that made the conversation odd. Werth is not on a bad baseball team. In fact, he's on one of the five best teams in the game." - "Despite early struggles, Nationals will rise" - Richard Justice, nationals.com

• "The Nats could've filled half of a "Not Top 10" highlight reel with some of their poor defensive plays on Monday." - "Nationals Pastime: No panic for Werth after loss in return" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "Earlier in the day, Werth was taking fly balls near the Green Monster in left field. There are challenges playing in front of that famous wall." - "Shoulder better, Werth activated off disabled list" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com

Injury Updates: Denard Span, Anthony Rendon working way back

• "So, while the Nationals are in Boston on Monday, Rendon was expected to graduate to hitting soft toss." - "Anthony Rendon throwing, hitting, but where will he play when he returns?" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Denard Span is close to beginning a minor-league rehab assignment, and Anthony Rendon has begun baseball activities, encouraging news for both injured Nationals regulars." - "Span getting close, Rendon begins baseball activities"- Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon is making progress as far as trying to get back on the field." - "Rendon takes another step forward in rehab process" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com

NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Porcello's start; Sandy Leon vs Nats

• "'It was special for me, something I’ll never forget,' Porcello said. 'It was a lot of fun. I can’t really put it into words right now, but it was exciting.'" - "Rick Porcello happy with strong Fenway debut for Red Sox" - Michael Silverman, Boston Herald

• "Jordan Zimmermann’s final line on Monday afternoon was a textbook example of why it’s best to err toward defensive independent pitching when evaluating pitching performance." - "What You Need to Know: April 14, 2015" - Chris Mosch, Baseball Prospectus

• "Two of the three hits Leon collected in Monday's win were against his former teammate Jordan Zimmermann, whose tendencies he knows quite well." - "Facing former club, Leon notches three hits"- Quinn Roberts, redsox.com

• "Porcello, who got some early help from his offense, made sure to keep the Nationals at a distance by keeping things simple: throwing strikes." - "Efficient Porcello keeps Nationals at a distance Efficient Rick Porcello keeps Washington Nationals at a distance" - Jimmy Toscano, CSNNE.com

• "Betts dominated in all facets of the game Monday, showing off his skills at the plate, on the bases and in the field. Things started almost immediately." - "Mookie Betts dominates in all facets against the Nationals on Monday" - Chris Cwik, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "Red Sox speedster Mookie Betts is quickly earning a reputation as MLB’s walking highlight reel..." - "Mookie Betts Steals Two Bases In One Play" - Timothy Burke, Deadspin.com

• "No, the game isn't played on paper (or a computer screen). And no, the 2015 Washington Nationals, fine as their press clippings may be, are not assured a 100-win season and safe passage to the World Series." - "Washington Nationals 2015 Preview: The Capital Improvement Plan" - Howard Cole, Rolling Stone

• "Vaunted rotation is a disappointment already at 1-3. We kid!" - "MLB Power Rankings: Springer looks good, Tigers look great" - Anthony McCarron, NY Daily News

• "'I was really happy for him,' Scherzer said. 'He’s worked so hard. He’s been durable. It’s great to see somebody get rewarded for the type of results he’s had.'" - "Max Scherzer thrilled to see Rick Porcello get paid" - providencejournal.com

• "The Dan Uggla experiment at second base is going about as well as expected with a .111 average, no walks and five strikeouts." - "The week ahead: Five big things to watch" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot - ESPN

NATS MINORS: Trea Turner update; Cutter Dykstra + game recaps

• "Shortstop Trea Turner's status as the player to be named later in this winter's three-way trade for Wil Myers is the game's worst-kept secret. He will head to the Washington Nationals once he is eligible to be traded in mid-June." - "MadFriars' Preview: 2015 San Antonio Missions" - John Conniff, FOX Sports

Low-A Hagerstown: Hagerstown 1, West Virginia 3 - April 13, 2015 - Hagerstown Suns Box

High-A Potomac: "P-Nats SS Wilmer Difo, the highest ranked prospect on the Nats' this season, yanked his first long ball of the year off Heidenreich..." - "P-Nats Drop Series Opener with Winston-Salem 4-3" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "Matt Swynenberg's first start of the 2015 season was successful as he allowed just two runs on two hits in six innings of work." - "Harrisburg topped by Bowie in series opener" - Perry Mattern, Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, came back from a ninth-inning deficit to beat the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 5-4, Monday night." - "Syracuse Chiefs come back and beat Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Jason Martinson, Cutter Dykstra" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "At Triple-A, Jason Martinson and Cutter Dykstra provided dramatic ninth-inning hits as Syracuse came back to stun Lehigh Valley 5-4 on Monday." - "At Triple-A, Cutter Dykstra finishes comeback with ninth-inning hit" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

NL EAST UPDATES: Howard and heaters; Syndergaard; Fish vs Braves

Mets: "Syndergaard, whose start was delayed by forearm tightness, threw 54 pitches, 37 for strikes." - "Noah Syndergaard makes uneven 2015 debut for Las Vegas" - Cody Derespina, Newsday

Phillies: "The New York Mets made it no secret on Monday. They don’t think Ryan Howard can hit a good fastball." - "Facing the heat, Ryan Howard vows it will 'turn around'" - Jim Salisbury, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia

Marlins: "Familiarity won't be an issue when Tom Koehler faces the Braves on Tuesday night at Turner Field." - "Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves - April 14, 2015" - Joe Frisaro, MLB.com Preview

Braves: "Shelby Miller has not yet shown what he can do beyond the fifth inning." - "Second five-inning outing just fine for Miller" - Mark Bowman, braves.com