Sunday, August 30, 2015

Seeing Back to Back Wins by the Nats

One of the few times this year that I've been to back to back games where the Nationals have won both games.

Going to two games in a row is a little easier to do on a weekend then during the week.

Let's cover Saturday night's game first.

It was of course 80s night as I've posted about previously. One of my favorite pictures, Jordan Zimmermann, was on the mound. No matter what happens Zimmermann seems to be unflappable. Of course one of his best games was the no-hitter from last year. But I enjoy all of his games. He just seems like a rock. Not to say he hasn't had problems this year.

But what happened in the 4th sums up just the type of picture he is:
In the fourth inning of the Washington Nationals’ 5-1 win over Miami on Saturday night, Marlins third baseman Martin Prado lined a ball back at Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann, who collapsed to the ground, trying to catch it as he fell. He missed it, and as he lay on the ground, he slammed his glove against the mound in frustration. He thought he should have caught the ball, physics be damned.

Nationals Manager Matt Williams and trainer Lee Kuntz came out to check on Zimmermann, who waved them off dismissively. He now had two men on with no one out, and far bigger problems than a bump or bruise. Undeterred by the shot, unhappy about its outcome, he retired the next three hitters.

Moments like those are typical Zimmermann, unchanged by tribulations, unwilling to excuse failure or be consumed by it. He has endured a few more ups and downs this season than last, and he maneuvered around a few through seven one-run innings Saturday night.
That sums up the pitching. The offense was in high gear as well. Three home runs for the Nats. One by Ryan Zimmerman in the 2nd. Another by Clint Robinson with Anthony Rendon on base. And the next batter after Robinson, Ian Desmond, homered at well.

Ryan Zimmerman at home

Clint Robinson rounding third on his way home.

Ian Desmond.

A great night for Nationals' bats.

Sunday's game was much more dramatic in that the Nats were down early. Three runs were scored by the Marlins in the first inning. They added another run in the 4th. But the Nats refused to stay down.

Jayson Werth had a fantastic day. He homered in the 3rd inning to bring the Nats to within one run. In the 5th inning he doubled driving in a run. Clint Robinson came off the bench to pinch hit in the 7th and hit a home run with Danny Espinsoa on base. That was all the offense would need to win 7-4.

The only down side to the win is that Stephen Strasburg left the game with upper-back discomfort.

As to where they stand in the race against the Mets and the seemingly endless series of injuries I think the Post sums it up pretty well:

“We don’t have a choice,” said Clint Robinson, one of the unexpected contributors the Nationals have required all season, who homered for the second straight game. “We’re here trying to win ballgames. We don’t have time to sit there and try to get comfortable, try to massage our egos and all that kind of stuff. We’ve got to go out and win ballgames.”

Robinson hit his first career pinch-hit home run in Sunday’s win, in which all eight starters and two pinch hitters — Robinson and Matt den Dekker — chipped in with hits. After a season of waiting to be whole again, after a few weeks of readjusting to being that way, these Nationals are now the team they will be in September. No reinforcements are coming to save them now. If they are to come back in the National League East, those starters and those bench players must be the ones to do it.

Next up a three game series against the best team in baseball the Cardinals. They need to win at least a game if not two. If they are swept by the Cardinals, the Nats have to hope the Mets have a lose or two.

Just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

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