Tag: Gio Gonzalez

stephen strasburg getty

Nationals choose Stephen Strasburg to start Game 1


Making official what was expected, the Nationals announced that Stephen Strasburg will start Game 1 of the NLDS against the Giants. It’ll be Strasburg’s postseason debut.

Jordan Zimmermann, fresh off his regular season finale no-hitter, will start Game 2 and Doug Fister will get the ball in Game 3. So far at least manager Matt Williams has not said what his plans are for Game 4. Gio Gonzalez is the obvious option, especially with Tanner Roark likely to work out of the bullpen, but the Nationals could also bring back Strasburg on short rest if needed and then use Zimmermann on normal rest in Game 5.

Strasburg’s win-loss record this season wasn’t great because of poor lineup and bullpen support, but he threw 215 innings with a 3.14 ERA and league-leading 242 strikeouts. Washington’s rotation depth is, on paper at least, pretty incredible.

Nationals likely to use Tanner Roark in the bullpen for playoffs

tanner roark getty

Here’s how much starting pitching depth the Nationals have: Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that they’re likely to use Tanner Roark out of the bullpen in the playoffs and there’s really no strong reason to argue against it.

Roark was fantastic this season, posting a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts with a 138/39 K/BB ratio in 199 innings. And he was even better as a rookie last season, giving him a combined 2.57 ERA in 252 innings as a big leaguer.

For a lot of teams that’s a No. 1 or No. 2 starter in the playoffs, but the Nationals have Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, and Gio Gonzalez.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 6, Orioles 5:  For everything that was and will be said about this game — for all of the stuff about storybook endings and rising to the occasion and everything else — my biggest takeaway from Derek Jeter‘s heroics was the replay in which they showed his dad reacting to the walkoff hit.

The man watched his son kick ass for 40 years. And on the occasion of the last big hit his son will ever have, he reacted as if it was his first. He jumped out of his seat with a big smile on his face and whooped it up. It was just wonderful

It spoke to me more than anything else anyone has said about Derek Jeter these past few weeks has spoke to me. It explained more about the guy than any of the people reaching beyond their grasp to try to explain the guy have managed. People have tried to figure out why Jeter is who he is and why he has been what he has been these past 20 years. It’s a thing we’ll never know for sure because Jeter doesn’t, to his credit, open up like a book to everyone. But if we had to guess, I’d say the answer to it is somewhere in his dad’s reaction. Some bit of grounding and normalcy and good damn sense that a great many star athletes don’t have surrounding them from the youngest of ages because they’re star athletes and, in this day and age anyway, they’re treated differently.

Derek Jeter’s dad looked like a guy cheering on his son’s first goal in kindergarten soccer. And in that there was something absolutely beautiful.

Red Sox 11, Rays 1: Rusney Castillo and Christian Vazquez each hit their first ever big league homers. Vazquez had four hits and drove in three. Allen Webster had a solid start. The Sox’ season ends with a visit from the Yankees. Jeter will likely DH a bit during the series, but that’s all. What a weird, ignominious ending for both of these teams.

Pirates 10, Braves 1: The Pirates trounce the Braves, who could almost literally be seen checking their October vacation reservations on their smart phones during the game. Pittsburgh is one game behind the Cards for the Central with three games to go. The scoreboard watching between the two of those teams will be about the most meaningful baseball played this entire weekend.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: Homers from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez and a win from Max Scherzer despite not having his best stuff. Best sign for the Tigers: three innings of bullpen work from three pitchers. Nine batters faced, nine batters retired. The Tigers maintain their two-game lead with three to play. Seems pretty safe as long as they don’t just totally woof away the weekend.

Mets 7, Nationals 4Nationals 3, Mets 0: The split. In the first game, Matt den Dekker singled home the go-ahead run off Tyler Clippard in the eighth. Curtis Granderson had three hits in the Mets’ 15-hit attack. In the nightcap, Gio Gonzalez allowed one hit in seven innings while striking out 12. Not a lot of offensive fireworks here, as the Nats’ three runs scored on a bases-loaded walk, a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and a fielder’s choice. The Nats play another doubleheader today, this time against the Marlins. I’ll be flying to Washington this afternoon to meet up with a good friend and she and I are going to take in the nightcap. I will not wear my Braves gear to the game out of respect, but nor will I do my usual When-in-Rome thing and buy Nats gear because, man, a dude has to have standards. I think I’ll wear my Columbus Clippers cap, to be honest. And root like hell for the Marlins, because I am nothing if not a man animated by spite.

Marlins 6, Phillies 4: The Marlins win ensures that the Phillies will finish in last place for the first time in 14 years. Good effort, fellas. They now go on to play the Braves who may actually be a bigger disappointment than the last place Phillies. I’d say this is the World Series for both of these teams, but they’re both so terrible that it’s more like a lame spring training game on March 25th when everyone is just tired of the routine and they all want to break camp,

Mariners 7, Blue Jays 5: Two homers for Logan Morrison as the Mariners stay alive, albeit in critical condition. The A’s lost, so Seattle remains two back with three to play. Seattle has three against the Angels. The A’s have three against the Rangers.

Rangers 2, Athletics 1: Of course, the Rangers beat them here, courtesy of a walkoff homer from Adrian Beltre. They stunk all year, but in the second half of September, the Rangers have come alive. They stand ready to spoil the A’s season just like the A’s have spoiled the Rangers’ past couple of years. If they do it, boy howdy, that’d be something.

Reds 5, Brewers 3: Speaking of spoiled, the Reds did that to the Brewers, officially eliminating them from playoff contention. Jay Bruce went 3 for 4. Brandon Phillips homered. Yovani Gallardo gave up ten hits in five innings. And like that — poof — it was gone. Quick — someone ask Jonathan Lucroy if he still thinks the Brewers are better than the Cardinals.

Royals 6, White Sox 3: Three runs across the eighth and ninth innings for the rallying Royals. Eric Hosmer was 3 for 5 with a couple driven in. James Shields gets the no-decision and the Kansas City pen does its usual three scoreless innings thing.

Giants 9, Padres 8: The Padres made it interesting, scoring five in the seventh to take the lead, but the Giants roared back with three in the bottom of the inning to seal it. Either way, the Giants clinched the playoffs yesterday with Milwaukee’s loss, so it was going to be champagne, win or lose for San Francisco.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 3, Brewers 2: A walkoff single in the 13th for Tony Cruz in the 13th inning gives the Cards two of three in a series the Brewers really needed to sweep in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. Between both teams, 12 runs were scored all series long. And, thanks to two extra innings games, that amounted to 36 innings. Milwaukee is now down three and a half for the second wild card which, no, does not look doable with a bit more than a week to play.

Rangers 7, Athletics 2: Just when you think the A’s have hit rock bottom they show you that they still have farther to fall. Oakland was swept by the worst team in baseball and now they find themselves out of the first wild card slot and into the second, only one game ahead of Seattle. Here Sonny Gray was touched for four runs in the first inning and five overall. Not that it matters. If and when this collapse is complete, most A’s fans will think of it as one giant blur of a collapse, unable to truly pin it on any one guy. Believe me, I know from experience.

Mariners 3, Angels 1: The A’s loss is Seattle’s gain, as they beat what was pretty much a Salt Lake City lineup the day after the Angels clinched. Not that they had an easy time of it. They were shut out by Wade LeBlanc and four relievers until the ninth when they got through against Kevin Jespen with a three-run homer from Logan Morrison. Felix Hernandez, meanwhile, was right in his element, getting a no decision after striking out 11 in seven shutout innings. Unlike in years past, however, hardly anyone in Seattle gives a rip about King Felix’s W-L record. They can taste the playoffs, sitting only one game out with a dead team walking in Oakland in front of them.

Pirates 3, Red Sox 2: Fortune smiles on Pittsburgh as Sox baserunner Jemile Weeks, who was on third base, was called out when he was hit by Will Middlebrooks’ infield single to third. That’s an out, of course. The Sox went on to score one more run meaning that if Weeks hadn’t been hit, welp, they probably would’ve tied the game. It’s been that kind of season for the Red Sox.

Nationals 6, Marlins 2: The Nats keep winning, now with the best record in the NL in their sights. Gio Gonzalez allowed two runs in seven innings, Bryce Harper had three hits. They put up five runs in the fourth, all with two outs. That’s the kind of hitting that plays well in October. Just think back to all of those annoying Yankees teams in the late 90s doing that kind of thing just as it looked as if their opponents were out of the inning.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2: Derek Jeter hit a home run. This is not a drill. Please report to your nearest fallout shelter and tune all radios to the emergency band and await further instructions.

Dodgers 8, Cubs 4: A big inning for L.A, plating five in the seventh thanks to RBI doubles from Dee Gordon and Andre Ethier. Crazy stat: this was only the second time this year the Dodgers won a game when trailing after six innings. Second win in in 56 such games. I can’t imagine there are playoff-bound teams with fewer late inning comebacks than that.

Indians 2, Astros 1: A thirteen inning game featuring three total runs between two teams playing out the string that ends on a sac fly. Feel the excitement. OK, Cleveland would tell you that they’re not merely playing out the string. But while five games doesn’t feel like a lot in, say, June, it is damn nigh insurmountable with a week to go and multiple teams in front of you. Why people — mostly reporters who cover these games — don’t make that more clear rather than talk up playoff implications is beyond me, but it happens every year. I’ll say it now: if the Indians make the playoffs I’ll do the HBT Daily video the next day while wearing my daughter’s dance recital costume and an Cleveland Indians cap.

Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 6: Willin Rosario hit a two-out, two-run walkoff homer and had four hits in all to lead the Rockies past the Snakes. Arizona blew a five-run lead overall. If I was a betting man, I’d say we are seeing the final few games of Kirk Gibson’s tenure managing the Diamondbacks,

Padres 7, Phillies 3: This feels like the 10th straight game these two have played. It’s a ten-game series, is it not? Robbie Erlin pitched well — he’s a Padres pitcher, by the way, which you would be forgiven for not knowing — and Alexi Amarista and Will Venable homered.


And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Phillies pitchers

Phillies 7, Braves 0: I talked about the no-hitter at length yesterday when it happened, so allow me to ask why we haven’t seen more of these in the past couple of years. More strikeouts and less contact. More hard throwers. More bullpen specialization. It seems to me like these should happen more often than they do. I guess that they don’t shows that, yes, these are still special, obviously, but conditions favor such beasts now more than they have for a long time.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 4: The Cards, for the first time all year, are alone in first place in the NL Central. The lore about this team is that if a relatively lackluster Cards squad makes the playoffs, watch out, they’re bound to win it all. I guess that’s happened a couple of times, but I suppose they’d rather finish strong and with the division going away.

Cubs 4, Brewers 2: Not that it’s up to them. The Brewers, however, need to not do things like drop six in a row, which is what they’ve done. Here Jorge Soler helped do them in, doubling twice and scoring a run. He has extra base hits in all five of his major league games so far. He’s the third guy to do that in his first five games in the past century.

Padres 3, Diamondbacks 1: Cory Spangenberg — which sounds like the name of a tight end from the 1980s more than a big league third baseman — made his big league debut. He hit a two-run single. He also irked the Padres by announcing on Twitter that he was being promoted and making his debut before they had a chance too. So it was a big day.

Marlins 9, Mets 6:  The Mets had a chance here — it was tied heading into the bottom of the eighth — but they blew it thanks in part to Jeurys Familia’s two throwing errors on a single play and a wild pitch. Oh, and the wild pitch was accompanied by a throwing error by Travis d’Arnaud. Six errors for the Mets in all, after which manager Terry Collins said afterward that “It wasn’t a big-league baseball game, I can tell you that.” Not that he needed to tell us that.

Athletics 6, Mariners 1: The A’s get back on track, thanks to new addition Adam Dunn. Who, let’s be honest, was born to be an Oakland Athletic. Dunner hit a homer in his first at bat in the green and gold and added another hit later. Five first inning runs for Oakland, which ended things before they started. A strong performance from Jason Hammel as well plus a two-run single for Geovany Soto. Viva La Mid-Season Imports.

Tigers 12, Indians 1: Miguel Cabrera was given a bit of a rest — allowed to DH rather than play 1B — and it must have paid off: two homers on a 4 for 5 day. This after an August in which he only his one homer the whole bleedin’ month. David Price did his part too, allowing one run over seven and striking out eight. Corey Kluber, who has somehow lost his super powers, allowed five runs and couldn’t escape the third inning.

Giants 4, Rockies 2; Rockies 10, Giants 9: The first game took three months to complete. Really, guys, we HAVE to do something about the pace of play. *Someone whispers in my ear and explains that it was the resumption of a suspended game from May*  Ahem, never mind. The second game took about three hours and forty-four minutes. I’m gonna err on the side of caution and assume it was suspended and resumed too. *guys whispers in my ear again.* Well I’ll be damned. Charlie Blackmon with a walkoff single. The Giants’ six-game winning streak comes to an end. They are now only two back of the Dodgers because  . . .

Nationals 6, Dodgers 4: . . . The Dodgers dropped their third game in four tries. The dingers did it here. Denard Span socked two homers and Jayson Werth and Asdrubal Cabrera added their own. Gio Gonzalez was solid and won his first game in ages. He also [altogether now[ helped his own cause, singling and scoring. The Nats have the most wins in the NL.

Twins 6, Orioles 4: Four RBI for Joe Mauer. Phil Hughes allowed three runs in eight innings, but none of them were earned. Hughes has 15 wins on a team that only has 60 overall.

Rays 4, Red Sox 3: Matt Joyce had an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth to help the Rays salvage a split. I basically got nothing else here. It’s weird when normally good teams are just playing out the string.

Royals 4, Rangers 3: Sal Perez homered and drove in three as the Royals won for the first time in a week. This was your standard Royals win: close game and then in the late innings Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland shut the door with hitless relief. Regarding what I said in the Phillies recap at the top? If just one Royals pitcher can toss six hitless innings — or, heck, five maybe — this is the sort of pen which can pretty much end the game when it comes in.