Somehow, with the way things have gone early this season, an 8-5 lead Washington Nationals' lead after six innings didn't seem as secure as it should have. Luckily for the Nats, who've struggled to hold leads and play clean games, Tyler Moore took Boston Red Sox' reliever Robbie Ross, Jr. deep to left-center and over the "Monster" on the 27th pitch the left-hander threw in yesterday's series finale in Fenway Park. Moore got all of it, depositing his first home run (and second hit of the season after a single in the fifth) in the first row above the high outfield wall.
"It's a big swing from Tyler in a situation where guys aren't really seeing the baseball very well," Nationals' skipper Matt Williams told reporters after the 10-5, sweep-avoiding win over the Sox.
With the late afternoon shadows drawing a straight line in front of the plate and the mound and infield grass still bathed in bright sunlight, it wasn't easy for hitters (or catchers) to see what was coming.
"The shadows come in and it's difficult," Williams said. "I mean, when your catcher is having trouble catching it, it's really hard to see it. So it's a good swing from him. Much-needed swing for him. Had a couple of hits today, those are the first of the year for him. He's going to get an opportunity like that for us to get in there against a lefty and go to work."
Will Moore get another chance tonight with Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phillies in the series opener in Nationals Park? He's 0 for 7 with four Ks against Philadelphia's ace in his career and off to a 2 for 15 start this season. Will Moore be back in the lineup tonight after a big game in Boston?
We'll see when the lineup is announced. The big news this morning? The Nationals are going to add a second left-hander to the bullpen... and his name?
Lefty Felipe Rivero joining Nats in D.C. today. Matt Thornton has been the lone lefty in the 'pen the past two days. http://t.co/cIfnJnBtKe— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) April 16, 2015
Let's catch up on the last 24 hours of Nats news now, shall we?
NATS BEAT: Rafael Martin's debut; Nats' salvage job
Martin Ks five straight Sox:
• "By the fifth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s win against the Red Sox, Rafael Martin thought it might soon be time." - "Rafael Martin strikes out five in impressive major league debut" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
"Unbelievable. Everything I expected. It was a good feeling." -- New #Nats reliever Rafael Martin on his electric MLB debut— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 15, 2015
• "Summoned from Class AAA Syracuse on Tuesday to replace the ineffective Xavier Cedeno in the Nationals’ bullpen, Martin was wide-eyed when he got to Fenway for the first time." - "Martin savors 'unbelievable' MLB debut with Nats" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "After the game, left-hander Gio Gonzalez referred to Martin as the 'Mexican Assassin.' How did Martin feel about the new nickname?" - "Martin impresses Nats with dominant debut" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
Nats salvage series finale in Fenway + more Nationals news:
• "No one is fooled by these pitches because of the lack of north-to-south movement." - "Why two pitches are wrecking Stephen Strasburg’s season thus far" - Neil Greenberg, The Washington Post
• "For the second time on this road trip, the Nationals took the field on getaway day needing a win to avoid an unsightly series sweep." - "Nats 10, Red Sox 5: Bats break out to avoid sweep" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "The Nats responded in a big way in the third. Desmond got things going with a big blast off Miley that easily sailed over the Green Monster for a solo homer, his first of the year." - "Desmond, Moore homer as Nats top Red Sox 10-5" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "The good news for Washington is that it has scored at least seven runs in each of the past two games." - "Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals - April 16, 2015" - Todd Zolecki, MLB.com Preview
• "Whether Tuesday night’s game flipped the switch or not, the Nationals club that reported back to Fenway Park on Wednesday looked and played like a loose bunch." - "Relaxed Nats put on offensive show in Fenway finale" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Sometimes, the worst of times brings out the best in people. Just to be clear, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond would rather not be this kind of example." - "Grinding Desmond embodies Nats as whole" - Richard Justice, nationals.com
• "An offense that broke out with a six-run inning Tuesday came alive again a day later, led by Ramos, Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore." - "Nationals offense comes to life and Gio Gonzalez holds down Red Sox in 10-5 win" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "The Nats have come out of the gates tight. It's somewhat understandable, given the heavy expectations sitting on top of them." - "Nationals Pastime: No panic as Nats bust out of offensive funk in 10-5 win' - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "The Nats came out swinging, jumping on Red Sox starter Wade Miley for two runs in the first and then knocking the lefty out with a six-run barrage in the third." - "Nationals team up to deliver Beantown rout" - Ian Browne & Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "The Nationals face Philadelphia for four games and one of the NL favorites in the Cardinals for three more before they go on their longest road trip of this young campaign to end the month." - "On the Phillies, the weekend series, Span and Martin" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Nats beat Sox in finale, Phillies up next
• "Still, two truths emerged from the Red Sox winning their opening home series against Washington. One is that if the Nationals are going to turn out to be as great as everybody predicted, they’ve got a long way to go." - "Red Sox, despite loss, doing more right than wrong" - Michael Silverman, Boston Herald
• "Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels dominated the Nationals on Saturday. He allowed two hits, one run, two walks and struck out five in seven innings." - "Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals - April 16, 2015" - Todd Zolecki, MLB.com Preview
• "Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals, who were supposed to lord over the NL East, are on the bottom of this upside-down division with a 3-6 record." - "NL East, already upside down, could be in for wild ride" - Ray Glier, USA TODAY Sports
• "Mookie Betts and his Marvel Comics exploits have deflected attention. So has a Sox offense that came into Wednesday afternoon's matinee averaging better than six runs a game..." - "Rapid Reaction: Washington Nationals 10, Boston Red Sox 5" - Gordon Edes, Boston Red Sox Blog - ESPN
• "Doug Fister is opposing Hamels on Thursday, so a win might be hard to come by, but the matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies is certainly a positive." - "Fantasy Baseball daily notes for April 16, 2015 -- pitcher rankings, batter ratings, news, injuries, next level" - Mike Sheets, Fantasy Baseball - ESPN
• "Rafael Martín trabajó por espacio de dos entradas donde no permitió carrera, le conectaron un imparable, enfrentó a siete oponentes y ponchó a cinco de ellos." - "El pitcher mexicano Rafael Martín debuta con los Nationals" - Temas Relacionados, TelevisaDeportes.com
NATS MINORS: Span's rehab continues; Renda and Ross interview
• "Span, who had right core surgery in early March, is back in D.C. now. He will play nine innings in Class A Hagerstown on Thursday." - "Denard Span will play in Hagerstown on Thursday, could return soon" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "In this week’s episode of ‘Baseball in the District,’ Tim Murray of ESPN 980 and I had two of the Nationals’ top minor league prospects on as guests." - "Baseball in the District: Nats prospects Joe Ross and Tony Renda" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• Low-A Hagerstown: "The minor league Hagerstown Suns are celebrating their 35th season despite a sometimes rocky relationship with the western Maryland city they call home." - "Minor league Hagerstown Suns mark 35 years in city" - WHP-TV
• "When the Hagerstown Suns play their home opener Thursday night — and do it with Washington Nationals center fielder Dennard Span in the lineup on a rehab assignment..." - "No hits, no problem for Suns against West Virginia" - Herald Mail Media: Sports
• "Tonight will be Span's second time wearing a Suns uniform and playing in the South Atlantic League. He rehabbed with the Suns last year as well..." - "Denard Span to make rehab start in Hagerstown April 16" - Hagerstown Suns News
• High-A Potomac: "RHP Nick Pivetta (0-2, 0.90) toed the rubber for the P-Nats for the second time this season after making the opening night start at The Pfitz." - "P-Nats No-Hit in Game One Loss; Go Deep Twice in Game Two Win to Split DH" - Potomac Nationals News
• Double-A Harrisburg: "Senators' starter Joe Ross allowed six runs in five innings of work, although only four were earned. The right-hander walked two and struck out six." - "Former Senator Latimore burns Harrisburg" - Perry Mattern, Harrisburg Senators News
• "Martin spent parts of four seasons here in Harrisburg and became quite the workhorse on Randy Knorr's 2010 squad and Tony Beasley's 2011 team." - "What a long, strange trip it's been to the Major Leagues for former Harrisburg Senator Rafael Martin" - Mick Reinhard, PennLive.com
• Triple-A Syracuse: "Syracuse Chiefs general manager Jason Smorol wants to make his 2015 objectives as radiant as the energy that radiates from his personality." - "More fun, more fun, more fun: Goals for Syracuse Chiefs general manager Jason Smorol" - Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com
• "The Syracuse Chiefs, Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, fell to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 8-5, Wednesday afternoon. Kila Ka'aihue hit a three-run homer, his first as a Chief, in the loss." - "Lehigh Valley IronPigs, seven run seventh, Syracuse Chiefs, Manny Delcarmen, Kila Ka'aihue" - Syracuse Chiefs News
NL EAST UPDATES: Asche hype?; d'Arnaud's spot; Yelich's back
• Marlins: "Miami left fielder Christian Yelich, who didn't play the past two games at Atlanta, will be re-evaluated on Thursday to determine if he will play in the series opener." - "Miami Marlins at New York Mets - April 16, 2015" - Joe Trezza, MLB.com Preview
• Phillies: "The broadcast team has been heaping effusive praise on Cody Asche. Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt practically drooled while discussing Asche’s play last weekend." - "Avoiding the Asche Hype" - Corinne Landrey, Crashburn Alley
• Mets: "D’Arnaud said he was fired up by a move toward the top of the batting order that "meant the world" to him and kicked him into another gear." - "D’Arnaud digs batting second ahead of Duda" - Metsblog
• Braves: "In both Miami and Atlanta, he overcame the outcry over losing a popular player by becoming one himself. It's all in the way he plays the game." - "Maybin on his way to becoming household name" - Jon Cooper, braves.com