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Bullpen shines in come-from-behind win over Yanks

May 20, 2015, 10:00 AM EST

AP

Ryan Zimmerman got the headlines Tuesday night, and rightfully so after launching the 10th walk-off homer of his career to beat the Yankees in dramatic fashion. But that blast off the right-field foul pole might not have been possible if not for some yeoman’s work from the Nationals’ bullpen, which was forced into both early and late action in this ballgame.

After Gio Gonzalez’s once-dominant start went awry in a hurry, the Nats’ relief corps was asked to churn out five innings against a deep, experienced New York lineup. It wound up churning out five zeroes, getting contributions from five different arms.

“It’s big for us,” said Drew Storen, who pitched the ninth. “Especially in a big game like this, to have guys come out of the pen and come up in big spots and just give us an opportunity to win late in the game is all that we’re asked to do.”

That bullpen hasn’t excelled at posting zeroes at all times so far this season, with several April meltdowns of note during the club’s ragged, 7-13 start. But with some tweaks in personnel and in roles, that group has delivered a number of impressive performances over the last three weeks, helping the Nationals win 16 of their last 20 games to catch the Mets atop the NL East.

“We have unbelievable arms,” right-hander Blake Treinen said. “We may be a little young, with few veteran guys, but everybody out there has unbelievable stuff. And I feel like we match up well against anybody. Some of us, myself included, have struggled against lefties early in the year, and that’s been my issue. But we all put in work to get better every day. We encourage each other. We’ve made big strides as a team. We’re playing good baseball right now.”

Treinen was front-and-center in Tuesday’s win, the first man out of the pen to replace Gonzalez, asked to pitch two innings and bridge the gap to his late-inning mates. He wound up retiring 6-of-7 batters faced, striking out both Garrett Jones and Chris Young.

After struggling as the club’s primary setup man early in the season, Treinen has rediscovered himself pitching in lower-leverage situations since. He has posted a 2.93 ERA over his last 10 appearances, and over his last 10 innings he has allowed only one run and five hits, striking out 11.

“He threw some good sliders down and in to lefties tonight,” manager Matt Williams said. “He pitched really well, and he’s got the ability to go out there and do that. Early on, he didn’t have command off the lefty, and the ball would sail off the plate. But he’s made that adjustment and he’s pitching well.”

Matt Thornton took over for Treinen in the top of the eighth and retired 2-of-3 batters before Aaron Barrett entered to get Jose Pirela to end the inning. Storen then retired the side in the ninth, striking out Alex Rodriguez with a 2-2 fastball on the outside corner that had the crowd of 37,355 roaring with approval.

“A guy I grew up watching and looked up to as a kid,” Storen said of the now-39-year-old slugger. “[I was] a big Mariners fan growing up, so it was kind of cool for me to face him. I’m just trying to miss that barrel, because he does have the power there to change the game. I knew if I made a mistake I’d pay for it, so I tried not to do that.”

Storen now sports a 1.10 ERA for the season (better than his sparkling 1.12 mark in 2014) and he has now retired 29 of the last 31 batters he has faced.

His appearance Tuesday came not in a save situation and merely helped get the game into extra innings, where Matt Grace awaited. The rookie left-hander did his job in the top of the 10th, pitching around a 2-out walk of Mark Teixeira by striking out both Young and Brian McCann, completing a remarkable, 5-scoreless-inning evening for the Nationals bullpen.

“I think our motto is just: Try to hand it off to the next guy,” Barrett said. “Just keep the torch going. Keep making pitches and getting guys out and hand it off to the next guy. And tonight was one of those nights where everyone did great.”

  1. masterfishkeeper - May 20, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    Speaking of arms, nice mention of Lopez in Rosenthal’s latest. I’m not a big fan of Rosenthal, but . . .

    “One scout compared the 6-foot, 185-pound Lopez to Yordano Ventura, adding, “If you really had guts, you’d drop a Pedro Martinez (comparison) on him.” The Nats believe that Lopez, because of his fastball command, could progress quickly.”

    http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/oakland-a-s-running-out-of-time-rockies-troy-tulowitzki-trade-ken-rosenthal-notebook-051915

  2. jfmii - May 20, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    Good post, Mr. Zuckerman. The work of the bullpen was what made me most happy in a game where many good performances contributed to happiness in the currently wonderful world of the Nationals.

  3. Eric - May 20, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    I’m re-posting this comment I made over on Nats Baseball blog:

    “I’m not sure if this is gonna make any sense, or if I’m oversimplifying, or otherwise off the mark with this, but I’m gonna throw it out there:

    It appears as though the season has started over in more ways than just the standings. If we play at a .585 pace from here on out, we end up at 94.37 wins, whereas if you play at a .585 pace from opening day you wind up with 94.77 wins. That means if we recover just shy of another 1/2 game from horrid start (7-13), we will have as much of a shot at 95 wins as we had on opening day.

    If we win tonight, we’ll make up just slightly more than we need, as playing .585 ball the rest of the way would then net us 94.785 wins.”

    If I did the math right and I’m interpreting this correctly, we have most definitively climbed out of the 7-13 hole we dug. Here’s the math I did, using

    162 * .585 = 94.77
    122 * .585 = 71.37 + 23 = 94.37
    121 * .585 = 70.785 + 24 = 94.785

    GO NATS!!!

    • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 10:49 AM

      To highlight what we’ve accomplished a bit further, if you play at a .585 pace from 7 – 13 to the end, you end up with 90.07 wins.

      • Theophilus T.S. - May 20, 2015 at 10:54 AM

        Last year’s team accelerated at the end of the season after 96 wins seemed unachievable. That could happen again but the rotation has to stabilize.

    • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      interesting analysis — thanks!

  4. Theophilus T.S. - May 20, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    Striking out Garrett Jones and/or Chris Young is not a significant accomplishment but you can only expect guys to do the job they’ve been given to do, and Treinen and Grace were up to their assignments. Treinen might have been especially notable because there are some on this list who claim, his high-90s sinker notwithstanding, he doesn’t strike out anybody. His slider was very effective last night, big break but controlled — every one of them looked like a strike coming in.

    I really don’t think Janssen will add much to the BP when he returns. And there are a couple of guys out there (Cole, Solis) who don’t look completely major league-ready. (Both may well have to pitch tonight unless Zimmermann surprises and goes deep into the game.) But Syracuse will be deep w/ possible reinforcements.

    My personal preference — since Spring Training — was for Treinen to be starting at Syracuse, to be the sixth starter needed for occasions, such as the Fister injury. The choice among Cole, or Jordan, or Roark-plus, or God knows who else as an “emergency starter” is far from optimal. I’m afraid that ship has sailed — it seems The Brain Trust sees him as more valuable as a reliever — but I’m glad Treinen is looking solid in the bullpen.

  5. micksback1 - May 20, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    Enjoyed last night as I was at the park.

    Let me get the only negative at of the way, GIo. Of course I could not see any facial expressions being that the game. I am assuming that Gio after looking so dominant the first 3 innings did his usual pouting like a little 2nd grader after a few things went wrong, umpiring squeezing him, etc.. It appears he loses his curve ball after he gets mad. I have concluded that he is simply a head case and hopeless when it comes to growing up on the mound. If things go right, he is fine, if not, he becomes toxic.

    Now, it was a blast watching Drew win the battle verse ARod last night. Could be a few more between the two, but it was sweet watching ARod not lift the bat off his shoulder and called out on strikes. RZim walk off you could feel it coming.

    • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:07 AM

      I have concluded that he is simply a head case and hopeless

      People have been saying those same words for two years now about Espinosa, too.

      Ya’ never know.

      • micksback1 - May 20, 2015 at 11:12 AM

        the only thing is Gio is a pitcher. What separates the aces from the average 500 pitcher is “composure” and how adversity is dealt with when things go wrong in the field or with a call. All MlB pitcher throw the same heat and can mix pitches, what makes one better than the other is poise. Gio has zero composure and after 6-7 years in MLB, clearly this will not change

      • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:14 AM

        I’m not as good at predicting the future as you apparently are! 😉

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 11:17 AM

        Not to mention Harper.

        Heck, I remember them saying that about a rookie third baseman for the Giants, a while back. He turned out OK.

      • micksback1 - May 20, 2015 at 11:20 AM

        But, Gio is now in his 8th season, so what will change at this point? I understand it if he was a young pitcher in his 2-3 season, but after 8 seasons…really?

      • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        Mick, please note, I am not disputing your characterizations (so much). I am only disagreeing with your certainty about the future. (See my other post about the difference in viewing a season from a 30, 40, 50 years of watching baseball, versus somebody newer)

        We’ve seen a lot of guys turn it around, even at a late age. You just never know.

        That’s why I never use never. 😉

      • natsguy - May 20, 2015 at 11:21 AM

        Its early yet for Espinosa and he has been here before.

        I really like Gio personally, but he has a habit of going “walkabout” in the 4th and 5th innings. I never take his performances in inning 1-3 seriously. If he gets through 4 and 5 probably a great game from him. I don’t know if he loses focus or its just the second time through the order. Some overly detailed person could research this, but I suspect he has done this a lot.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 11:22 AM

        But, Gio is now in his 8th season, so what will change at this point?

        Perhaps, some folks’ characterizations of him? Just a guess.

        Nah.

      • micksback1 - May 20, 2015 at 11:34 AM

        you are correct Wonk, I know that ya never know. My concern is after 8 season’s it just seems to me that Gio is Gio. Look, I love Gio, he is a lovable guy, reminds me of the Cookie Monster who I also love, but some habits are hard to break, Gio is too emotional and Cookie can not control himself when it comes to eating cookies

        LOL

      • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:43 AM

        Concern? Yes, I’m concerned, too. And I’m worried that he might never get it together, too. But, hope springs eternal, and I’ve seen too many guys do get it together. And he’s surrounded by other truly great pitchers who, hopefully, can help him. And, if not, perhaps the urgency will get him to see a sports psychologist (since, after all, his livelihood depends on it).

        Some, indeed, never get it together. Rick Ankiel was a hulluva pitcher. (And, although I might be a minority of one here, I think HRod was, too — and that he simply suffered from the same problem that Ankiel did — between the ears).

        I saw the Mets give up on Nolan Ryan, I saw Randy Johnson lead the league in walks and hit batters; (I didn’t see, but I read about) Sandy Koufax leading MLB in wild pitches, to go along with his 4.48 ERA, etc.

        Granted, in each of those cases, the pitchers got it together at an age younger than Gio is now (29). But Gio, undeniably, has terrific talent. So, it’s worth being patient and trying to work with him as long as possible. Imho

      • jd - May 20, 2015 at 11:44 AM

        Mick,

        Gio is not a superstar but he’s still a very good middle of the rotation guy.When you say Gio is Gio my response is ok that ain’t so bad. If you want to compare him to Kershaw then yes he will never be that good. But he’s not Jason Bergman or Jason Marquis either.

      • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:49 AM

        Gio is not a superstar but he’s still a very good middle of the rotation guy

        That’s a good point, jd. His ERA of 3.57 last year was the highest it had been in four prior straight years (and even that was a bit unlucky, as his WHIP last year was the second lowest of his career). He’s been in top 10 for ERA three times, top K/IP 3 times, fewest H/IP 3 times . . .

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 11:46 AM

        Gio’s only 29?! Wow. Yeah, I think he’ll be OK. IMO he’s already showing signs this season of developing a tighter, grittier approach. I have to think the final refinements to one’s game are the hardest to complete, especially for someone who has already had incredible success (e.g., 21 wins in 2012).

      • Section 222 - May 20, 2015 at 3:22 PM

        jd, he’s not Garrett Mock or Jason Simantacci, or Matt Chico, or Tim Redding, or J.D. Martin, or Daniel Cabrerra, even John Lannan either. 🙂 mick, he’s our No. 4 or No. 5 starter for goodness sakes. I don’t think he’s worth the level of angst and contempt you’re showing for him. Gio is Gio. Not a No. 1 or 2 like he was in 2012, but decent for the role he now plays on this team.

    • ArVAFan - May 20, 2015 at 11:17 AM

      Amazing what a difference a few comebacks make. Down 6-2? Not worrying. Tied? Still not worrying. So their relievers haven’t given up a run yet? It’s about time . . . . and it was! Now I’ve seen two Z-man walk-offs (the other was the August 2012 after-midnight grand slam against the Phillies. I count myself really lucky, as all the Metro-dependent fans had had to leave, and missed the walk-off. Unlike the Phillies’ phans, who had to mope all the way home. Awwww-NOT).

      And yes, the park was fun last night. A lot of Yankees fans, but I didn’t see any trouble. From the volume, I would say they were booing A-Rod louder than the Nats fans.

      Back to Zim. I think it was two years ago, and probably NatsLady, but someone did an analysis and determined that Zim had more “walk-off homers per plate appearance” or “walk-off homers per games played” than any other player. That probably needs to be updated, but he definitely deserves the title of “Mr. Walk-off.”

      On Gio–if anyone can help him, it’s Scherzer. Let’s see what he can do.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        Scherzer does seem to have the ability, at least sometimes, to take control of a game, personally — something only a few dozen human beings alive at any one time can do. Gio is in pretty good company as a good pitcher in the majors on a good team, but it’s unfair to expect him to be what he’s not. He doesn’t have the stuff to shut down an inning when things are going the other way, dinks start falling in, swinging bunts hug the line all the way to third base, his command deserts him for a hitter or two, and/or maybe an error compounds that. If he can improve his focus then, it would help, but he is what he is: a nice third starter, who’s probably fourth or fifth on this staff..

      • sec105rowwseat28 - May 20, 2015 at 1:18 PM

        Nats fans were booing ARod last night, but the Yankee fans weren’t. They were yelling “Dreeeeeeeeeew!”

    • Hiram Hover - May 20, 2015 at 11:21 AM

      Gio is not “toxic.” He is an above average but not elite pitcher at a reasonable salary. The Nats are very lucky to have him as their #4 starter.

    • jd - May 20, 2015 at 11:52 AM

      BTW,

      At no time last night did I feel that Gio was dominant. He retired the 1st nine hitters but had zero strikeouts. That’s a house of cards as you know that BABIP will eventually get you.

      • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 12:56 PM

        Well, yeah, but . . .

        The grounders were showing that his fastball, curve, *and* sinker (or slider) were working. BABIP doesn’t get you too much with grounders. Yes, some will see the holes, but another grounder is then a DP. It’s the line drives that kill a pitcher, and there was nary a one of them in the first three innings.

      • Hiram Hover - May 20, 2015 at 12:57 PM

        If anything, Gio has been unlucky on BABIP this season. His BABIP for 2015 is .371, vs a career .291.

        Last night, maybe the BABIP fairies were just trying to even things out.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    Good move by MW to sit Cole down and get Treinen up who was dominant for 2 innings.. An amazing play by Span on the leadoff man in the 8th saved the game and I think that was off Thornton and good move to go then to Barrett to matchup. Nice jobs by Storen and Grace also.

    • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:08 AM

      I like very much that MW has been doing “match up” much more than last year. (OTOH, when you have a Clip and a Storen, it’s hard not to let them “own” innings)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 11:16 AM

        Agreed and Janssen could own the 8th but last night felt like playoff baseball and I loved it.

      • masterfishkeeper - May 20, 2015 at 11:18 AM

        +1

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 11:16 AM

      Span’s catch was on Grace’s hitter, but yes, very nice all around.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 11:18 AM

        Thanks for the correct. I take back my praise of Grace 😉

  7. adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    Great post, MZ.

    I’m reminded, again, of Davey’s theory, that the first 1/3 of the season is primarily for the manager to find out: “who do you got” and “what do they got”

    And so, e.g., folks were wondering why Trienen, or Barrett, or whoever, was being trotted out, despite lack of experience in high leverage situations, etc. Well, perhaps the usage of those pitchers earlier is why they seem more stable now.

    For those who were earlier wondering about Storen:

    has now retired 29 of the last 31 batters he has faced.

    That is an *incredible* stat !!

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 11:19 AM

      another head case, that Storen kid. He’ll never amount to anything either.

      What’s that? He already has? Well … that doesn’t count.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 11:19 AM

      another head case, that Storen kid. He’ll never amount to anything either.

      What’s that? He already has? Well … that doesn’t count.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 11:20 AM

      I’m going on Double-Secret Probation if I don’t figure out how to quit double-posting.

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 11:24 AM

        It’s happened to me I believe exactly once, and it was because I accidentally and *very* rapidly double-tapped “Post Comment” on my phone.

        If you’re on a PC, maybe you’re inadvertently double clicking? Sometimes a single click on my old mouse at home is ‘interpreted’ as double click, which can be very annoying.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 11:40 AM

        I’ve recently moved to W 8.2, and it’s not as bad as Windows Splenda or whatever they called the last hot mess of an OS that escaped before XP, but it’s telling that they are giving us Windows 10 for free when it comes out.

        So once again, I blame Bill Gates.

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 12:02 PM

        As well you should!

        If you’re referring to Vista, man…what a disaster!! Windows 7 is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better.

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    MW was on with the Junkheads this morning. He said after Bryce’s doubleplay that he changed his (dominating) approach and chased pitches to K twice on non-strikes.

    The Junkheads asked him about making up the 7 game deficit to get back to 1st Place and I thought it was 8 games. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were wrong, they are so CGAS on the Nats.

    At least in their next segment with Boog Sciambi they discussed the AL East and mentioned every team from the Yankees, Red Sox and even Toronto and Tampa briefly and never mentioned the O team.

    • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:21 AM

      The Junkheads asked him about making up the 7 game deficit to get back to 1st Place

      Doesn’t almost every die-hard fan know the phrase that’s been repeated over and over again: “After a 7-13 start, the Nats trailed the Mets by 8 games on April 27…”

      Certainly somebody getting *paid* to know DC sports stuff should know that.

      Sheesh.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 11:25 AM

        MW was gracious in his answer. They repeated it again to Boog Sciambi.

        No mention of Ramos game tying HR and 19 game hitting streak or even the pinch hitting and Difo’s 1-1 first career AB.

        Doubt they watched the game, just highlights.

    • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 11:26 AM

      I definitely felt Harper was thrown way out of whack after the GIDP. As soon as he threw his helmet I wondered what we’d see from him for the rest of the game.

      Hopefully he’ll shake it off quickly.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 11:37 AM

        Supposedly as they heckled him after the K when he returned to RF he kept pointing to the W on his cap.

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 11:42 AM

        I’m not sure I follow the significance of that…?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 11:52 AM

        W for WINNING is Bryces thing.

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 12:03 PM

        Ah! Gotcha.

    • rayvil01 - May 20, 2015 at 12:19 PM

      That Miller strikeout should have an asterisk by it. That first pitch looked a foot outside and Blue called it a strike. Kind of planted the seed that said he had to go out there after that look.

      I’m not saying he didn’t get anxious after that GIDP. But, that one strike call changed the last AB.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 12:22 PM

        Good point of view on that.

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 12:29 PM

        I definitely agree. And, on the flip side of how I perceived the effects of the GIDP (no idea if it’s accurate), Harper’s composure was fantastic after that terrible strike was called.

      • masterfishkeeper - May 20, 2015 at 2:14 PM

        Dave on the radio broadcast said the ball was way outside and that Harper pointed, but didn’t turn and face the umpire. Seemed to compose himself.

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 2:34 PM

        Yeah, he sort of spun away towards the pitcher, then seemed to relax and step back in.

  9. TimDz - May 20, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    Saw a picture of Difo holding the “Ist MLB hit” baseball…..

    I know he is only 22 but, between Difo, MAT and Tymo…the Nats seem to have the market cornered on players that look like they should be in Middle School…

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 11:50 AM

    I hope you take the time to read this.

    I keep talking about team chemistry but brotherhood and being a good neighbor goes beyond normal pleasantries.

    I don’t know how this came about but my source for Difo’s callup was with him in the clubhouse last night and Difo was void of any family and friends except my friend who he invited to the clubhouse. He searched for anyone who looked Dominican to meet Difo’s entourage but there was none. There was nobody. There was 1 guy with a small suitcase on wheels. That guy was with Escobar but he would learn later that was actually Difo’s belongings.

    Turns out Esco has taken Difo under his wings and taken him into his apartment. How cool is that.

    Difo was so nervous when he dressed in his home white uni he stayed in the dugout area not knowing his boundaries.

    Esco keeps amazing me. Like I said, I don’t know if he was encouraged to take him on or volunteered but the fact is he did it without ego. It’s great to hear these stories and be able to share them in a few paragraphs.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM

      Great story, Ghost, thank you. Somebody needs to tell the kid about Tres Hermanos, the Dominican restaurant in Columbia Heights.

      Great food, but no liquor license, so it’s not crowded with yuppy hipsters like the Cuban place is, next door.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 12:03 PM

        Whoops — Tres Hermanos was the place on Duke St. in Alexandria, now closed.

        LOS Hermanos is the place in DC, on Park Road, not far from Metro, parking garage next door.

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 12:06 PM

        There are — or were as of a few years ago — a couple of good Dominican joints at the corner of Flower Ave and Piney Branch Rd in Takoma Park, MD. Very much so hole-in-the-wall type places, but good food nonetheless.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 12:13 PM

        Manna is till up on Flower Ave, just south of Piney Branch, AFAIK.
        http://www.mimannarestaurant.com/

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 12:17 PM

        Ah, nice, that’s one of the ones we went to. First time I truly had goat was there…it was like they just took a cleaver to a goat’s leg, cooked the pieces, and tossed it on a plate. The presentation was a little weird for me, but it sure tasted good!

        We went to a Salvadoran joint directly across Flower Ave from Manna a bit more often. My wife loved their pupusas.

        That corner is like little Central America. Kind of amazing.

      • natsfan1a - May 20, 2015 at 12:33 PM

        Hole-in-the-wall type places are the best. That is all.

    • natsfan1a - May 20, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      Nice story, thanks for sharing it.

    • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 12:19 PM

      Yeah, good stuff. Escobar is growing on me faster than Span did (I was always a big fan of Span, even when he was struggling early on, for the same reason it took me forever to start giving up on Espi: I love watching stellar defense).

    • Bruxtun - May 20, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      Great post, Ghost. Gave me some good feelings.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 20, 2015 at 12:42 PM

        Good Ju-Ju, GOSM

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 12:48 PM

        Me too. I thought it was worth sharing.

      • letswin3 - May 20, 2015 at 4:33 PM

        Bunch of true romantics here. I loved it too.

    • Tyler Babip - May 20, 2015 at 12:50 PM

      So cool.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 20, 2015 at 1:27 PM

      Great story. I was fortunate enough to have lived in the DR for a couple of years in the early 1980s and know what a great and welcoming culture it can be (with one notable asterisk which I won’t get into here). There have been other stories over the years about Dominican players getting together in each other’s homes while on the road (particularly when home-cooked specialties are involved). I can’t wait until the Cubans fully and completely join the Dominicans in MLB (yes, I know there are some, but I mean freely and in larger numbers).

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 2:11 PM

        I’ve heard endearing stories of their culture and off the top of my head you have 2 Venezuelan players and 1 Cuban and Difo might be the only Dominican.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 4:03 PM

        Yes. Soriano was the only Dominican last year.

  11. Section 222 - May 20, 2015 at 2:31 PM

    Really nice story Ghost. Thanks for sharing it.

    I think it was last year that there was a big piece about Domenican players from various teams hosting each other and even bringing food to the opposing clubhouse for their countrymen – Nelson Cruz, Robbie Cano, David Ortiz, and Rafael Soriano were mentioned. Very cool.

  12. Section 222 - May 20, 2015 at 2:32 PM

    G

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