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Game 121: Brewers at Nats

Aug 21, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

Well, here’s one way for the Nationals to open a critical homestand: With a surprise promotion of top prospect Trea Turner from Class AAA Syracuse. That move was not expected, at least not until rosters expand on Sept. 1, but obviously Mike Rizzo felt it was time to do something that might inject some life in this club.

We’re still waiting for tonight’s lineup, so we really can’t say yet how Turner will be used, whether he’ll be displacing somebody on a regular basis or whether he’s just here to come off the bench. One word of caution: There was a lot made initially of the Nats’ promotion of Wilmer Difo to the big leagues earlier this summer, and he barely played at all. Not saying that’ll be the case with Turner, but we simply don’t know yet. [UPDATE: Turner is not in the lineup tonight.]

Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez starts tonight’s game against the Brewers on the heels of a ragged outing in San Francisco last week. The good news: Gonzalez is 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA in nine starts at home this season.

It’s great to be back at the park after a long road trip by the Nats. Check back for updates throughout, and as always your comments are welcome…

MILWAUKEE BREWERS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 82 degrees, Wind 7 mph LF to RF

NATIONALS (60-60)
LF Jayson Werth
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Bryce Harper
3B Yunel Escobar
1B Clint Robinson
SS Ian Desmond
C Jose Lobaton
CF Michael Taylor
LHP Gio Gonzalez

BREWERS (52-70)
SS Jean Segura
C Jonathan Lucroy
RF Ryan Braun
1B Adam Lind
LF Khris Davis
CF Domingo Santana
3B Hernan Perez
2B Elian Herrera
RHP Jimmy Nelson

UMPIRES
HP Joe West (cc)
1B Clint Fagan
2B Rob Drake
3B D.J. Reyburn

7:04 p.m. — We are underway, a minute early! And Gio Gonzalez got Jean Segura to flyout to right on his first pitch of the night. Good omens?

7:25 p.m. — Well, that was an eventful top of the first. Nobody scored, but Yunel Escobar did get injured trying to catch Ryan Braun’s foul popup down the third base line. Escobar slammed against both the short wall down the line and a fan seated in the front row, left dazed by the collision. He had to come out of the game, with Anthony Rendon moving to third base and Danny Espinosa taking over at second base. It’s a scoreless first inning, but a negative inning for the Nats from an injury standpoint.

7:44 p.m. — It’s not scoreless anymore. The Nats take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second thanks to Ian Desmond and Jose Lobaton. Desmond drew a 2-out walk, then stole second with a huge jump on Jimmy Nelson. That put him in position to score on Lobaton’s opposite-field single to left. Nice job of manufacturing a run there, giving the Nats a lead.

8:10 p.m. — An ugly third inning now has the Nats trailing 2-1. It included an infield single by Segura on a chopper Rendon could’ve caught and made the play on, then a stolen base, then a misplay by Werth in left field (he took a step in on Lucroy’s liner over his head, turning it into an RBI double), then a passed ball after Gonzalez and Lobaton got crossed up on a pitch, which put Lucroy in position to score on Braun’s sac fly to right (though Harper nearly threw him out from 319 feet away). So after all that, it’s 2-1 Milwaukee after three.

8:33 p.m. — Still 2-1 after four. The Nats had a chance in the bottom of the inning after Robinson drew a 2-out walk and Desmond singled to left. But Lobaton popped up to shallow left field, so that killed that potential rally. The Nats have put five men on base in four innings, but four of those men didn’t reach until there were already two outs.

8:55 p.m. — And it’s getting uglier. The Brewers just extended the lead to 5-1 in the fifth. They got hits from Lucroy and Lind, then a sac fly by Davis, followed by a crushed 2-run homer by Domingo Santana, just called up from the minors earlier today. Gio Gonzalez is done after five innings, and to add insult to injury he was pinch-hit for by Max Scherzer. The Nats only have a 4-man bench these days, and they’ve already used one guy because of Escobar’s injury. So it’s 5-1 after five as Doug Fister enters for mop-up duties.

Chase here taking over for Mark while he works on his gamestory

9:22 p.m. — The Nats got a run back against the Brewers to make it 5-2 in the sixth, but they should have had more. Harper hit a solo homer with one out – his 31st of the season – to give the Nats their run. But then Espinosa singled and stole second. That brought up Ryan Zimmerman, who pinch-hit for Robinson, and he struck out. Desmond followed with another strikeout to end the inning. Fister let Herrera get all the way to third, but kept the Brewers off the board. Fister will go back out there to pitch the seventh.

10:00 p.m. — Well, that was a disaster. The Brewers scored five more runs in the seventh to make this a 10-3 game. The Nats got their run on a solo homer by Taylor in the bottom of the seventh. The top of the seventh got out of control quickly as Fister allowed a leadoff walk to Braun and followed that with two singles by Lind and Davis. Scooter Gennett then pinch-hit and singled home a run and Herrera responded with another RBI hit. Shane Peterson then pinch-hit and reached on a catcher’s interference, as Lobaton’s glove clipped his bat. Segura then hit a sac fly to right field that scored one run and another came home on a throwing error by Harper to home plate. Yeesh. This one got out of hand quickly. The seventh did, however, have one good moment for the Nats: Trea Turner’s MLB debut. Once the runs started pouring in, Williams replaced Desmond with Turner at shortstop. Turner then got his first MLB at-bat later in the inning, a groundout to the shortstop.

10:18 p.m. — We are still at 10-3 after eight. Roark overcame an error by Rendon to pitch a scoreless frame. And the Nats couldn’t capitalize on walks by Harper and Zimmerman. On to the ninth, where Felipe Rivero will take over.

10:32 p.m. — Turner grounds out to 2B and the Nats lose an ugly one, 10-3, to the 53-70 Brewers.

  1. Doc - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:36 PM

    Ha Ha, I told you so. I predicted in ST that Turner would be promoted by the end of the year. Some hardened NI told me back that that wouldn’t happen. Ha Ha again!

    Kid is raking at AAA, and I mean raaaaaaaaaaaaaaking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. bc4314 - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:36 PM

    Turner is not in the lineup, per the Nats’ twitter feed…

  3. langleyclub - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:49 PM

    Strange move. If they were going to do this, it would’ve made more sense a month ago when Desi was awful and Rendon and Werth were hurt. At this point, not sure where Turner plays as the Nats are having a hard enough time getting at bats for Rendon and Espinosa.

    Understand the Barrett went to the 60 day DL, but who is getting dropped off the active roster? Moore? Rivero? Someone going to the DL? Fister?

    • alexva6 - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:55 PM

      +1

      plus MW seems to loath giving the call ups a chance at all. rather he sits them for a week so they go cold after playing everyday in the minors.

      would love to be a fly on the wall when Rizzo and MW get together

      • chiefwj - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:05 PM

        Tyler Moore goes on DL retroactive to Aug 19, which makes him eligible to come back right after rosters expands.

        Like other posters, I’m finding this a bit mystifying, but there could be less to this than meets the eye.

        Most NL teams carry six infielders, with two players who can play some combination of 2B, 3B & SS. Nats only had five, assuming Zim will never play 3B again. So, it’s either bring back Uggla before Sept. 1 or go with Turner or Difo and by all accounts Turner is better prospect. If the Nats were well in front (or behind), they might be thinking about the service time, but potentially helping to win one game now is arguably more important than arbitration or not in 2019. I’m still not sure why they’re carrying 8 relief pitchers now, but Fister can’t go anywhere and I guess they didn’t want to send Roark to Syracuse for 10 days. Plus having fewer pitchers in order to keep Tyler Moore on the bench wouldn’t seem to be a benefit–I don’t think Moore has played the field for more than an inning or two since Zim & Werth came back.

    • Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:07 PM

      TMo to the 15 day DL.

      I can’t believe they would burn an option on a guy with his kind of ceiling to give him occasional pinch running duty. This is a showing that they are belatedly getting more all in on 2015.

      And, no, it would not have made sense to do this a month ago when they were reasonably and expecting Zim, Rendon, and Werth to come back strong.

      • chiefwj - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:13 PM

        If he’s as good as billed, burning an option is pretty immaterial. It only comes in to play if they send him back to the minors this year (unlikely, since the roster expands in 10 days) , and then sends him back to the minors in 2016 and again in 2017–they wouldn’t be able to option him in 2018. If he stays the entire rest of the season, he could still be optioned in 2016, 2017, and 2018. I don’t think anyone thinks Turner will be playing in Syracuse in 2018.

      • Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:25 PM

        You’re right, I didn’t mean burn an option– what I meant was starting the service clock.

        And that is a very relevant marginal cost-benefit calculation that had better have enough current upside to be worth it, which they can’t get by using him as a pinch runner.

  4. langleyclub - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:06 PM

    BTW, I thought Rendon looked solid at the plate last night. He had some tough luck hitting 3 balls hard. Fully expect him to bust out on the home stand.

  5. natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:10 PM

    I did not see that coming. In other news, hope some home cooking will help get the team on track for a string of wins! Go, GIO! Go, NATS!!

  6. rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:11 PM

    This is an amazing move since what we have needed was an outfielder for late game replacement of Jason and or Robinson.We have gone weeks with 4 bench players and now we bring up another infielder to do what with?MW keeps an extra reliever but would not bring in thornton in the 7th against the lefty when he still had Storen,Jansen,Fister and Roark for the 8th or a match up in the 7th.What is the sense in this move.Hard to understand.

  7. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:20 PM

    One question: Did Tylor Moore sprain his ankle before or after they put him on the DL?

    • ArVAFan - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:32 PM

      +1

  8. langleyclub - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:21 PM

    Could it be possible that the Nats will trade Desi before the end of the month? He has been hot, but would they get more than the compensatory pick that the Nats will receive when he leaves as a FA?

    Realize that’s a longshot, but just trying to consider all options given the curious timing of a move that runs counter to everything that this organization has done since Rizzo has taken over (be mindful of Super 2 status; only bring prospects up when they are going to play or there are no alternatives).

    If Turner is going to only pinch run, would think that they would’ve brought up den Dekker, keeping Turner from accruing active roster time. Have hard time believing that MW is going to sit Desi (and Rendon or Espi) to play Turner.

  9. Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:21 PM

    No, you’re right on the option thing — I Meant the service clock.

    And that is a real marginal cost/value calculation.

  10. jd - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:10 PM

    There is the possibility that Moore is really hurt and Turner is simply filling in until Span returns in a couple of days. You know sometimes things are simpler than we think.

    • langleyclub - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:16 PM

      You would think that if that was the case they would’ve brought den Dekker or Difo.

      • jd - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:20 PM

        Looking for a right handed hitter and this also gives them a chance to take a look at their big prospect and it gives him a chance to get his feet wet. Let’s see if he goes back when Span returns.

      • Another_Sam - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:21 PM

        What’s with Fister? He’s still active, right? Until he’s on the DL they’re playing with 24?

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:28 PM

        Re Doug Fister: I was traveling for about a week — has he not pitched since his move to the BP?

  11. Drew - Aug 21, 2015 at 6:00 PM

    The timing is a head-scratcher for a couple of reasons.

    In addition to the service time issue, there is the anti-microwave consideration.

    For all of his exciting potential, Trea Turner does not heat up quickly. At AA and at AAA he had O-fers of 11 to 17 at bats before he got acclimated and started tearing it up.

    How’s he going to get those 15 at bats now? If he’s not going to get those at bats now, and he’s just a pinch runner, why accelerate the service time?

    (Unless Rendon is really hurt, they’re about to deal Desmond, or Espinosa is going to get significant time in LF.)

  12. rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 6:00 PM

    Fister has pitched a couple of times.We are playing with 25,13 pitchers.This makes no sense unless Desi is going to be moved now.Does not seem likely.

  13. manassasnatsfan - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:30 PM

    Hope Escobar didn’t whiplash his neck to a concussion stare.

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:32 PM

      What’s a concussion stare?

      • rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:55 PM

        And this is the guy we want in LF late in a game we are up 1or 2.I have begged to get a OF like denDekker to play defense late.Instead we keep 13 pitchers and 4 bench players and call up an infielder.And then I am called crazy.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:00 PM

        ???

  14. Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    Heck of a throw by Bryce. Had no chance though.

  15. philipd763 - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    Wertth’s crappy defense in LF leads to 2 runs.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:59 PM

      How about some blame on Rendon’s muff?

      • philipd763 - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:02 PM

        Last season, I was very impressed with Rendon. The season, he plays with absolutely no intensity.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:03 PM

        We were all surprised in my section that Anthony wasn’t charged with an error. And the muff was costly.

    • DaveB - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:03 PM

      Have to give at least some of the blame to Lobaton …. He definitely should have had Segura (and who knows who’s fault the “passed ball” was)

  16. Drew - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    Come on! Werth breaks in on a liner over his head, then a cross-up.

    Sloppy inning and the Nats give up the lead.

  17. natsjackinfl - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:01 PM

    Lobaton and Gio have crossed each other up 3 times in this game and the 3rd time cost them. Unacceptable.

  18. rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:06 PM

    And then Jason is not running hard and should be standing on 2nd.Our great announcers are not critical.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:11 PM

      The ball died right in front of Braun. I think Werth would have been dead meat.

      He was on the attempted SB anyway.

  19. Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:06 PM

    And the outfielders givith and the outfielders taketh away.

  20. veejh - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:08 PM

    We’ll take Lucroy.

  21. Serious Jammage - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:41 PM

    Need a K here Gio.

    • rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:43 PM

      We look like a dead team

  22. kgwcoach - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    Last time Gio pitched here it was an. Hour later when we batted in the fifth.

  23. lphboston - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:52 PM

    Say good-night, Gracie

  24. philipd763 - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:53 PM

    It is really painful to watch this team morph into nothingness.

    • rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:57 PM

      This is really sad.I was a paper manufacturer and I would never run a team this way.I have said over and over you can not have a 4 man bench.We are now pinch hitting a pitcher.This is pathetic and I am banned from here a few days ago because I tell it like it is and have predicted this demise.YOU CAN NOT HAVE A 4 MAN BENCH.

  25. exposremains - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:57 PM

    We shouldn’t be surprised, the Brewers have been close to a .500 team since Counsell took over. That’s what the Nats are a .500 team.

    • rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:58 PM

      Not really since Counsell took over we are a 400 team

  26. Drew - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    14 to reach 100 at age 22.

    669 from Henry Aaron.

  27. Serious Jammage - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:11 PM

    Thank you Bryce!! And Danny. Let’s go Zim.

  28. robertrobert104 - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:14 PM

    this is a very very bad team we have…..They just look…dead. And Matt Williams doesn’t know how to manage….So that’s it, no championship with these guys….

  29. exposremains - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:15 PM

    Mets 7-1against the mighty Rockies

    • rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:22 PM

      The Mets will be 4-0 after tonite against the Rockies.We split 6 games.This season was over weeks ago.

  30. scnatsfan - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:26 PM

    Just watching Fister throw $ and a Nats draft pick away. Gio, needed a big game, can’t say I’m surprised with the outing.m

  31. abqnatsfan - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:29 PM

    It is really tough watching them show the same weaknesses again and again. I know they try, but I would still like to see some focused improvement to avoid KO’s and giving away runs when they need to find a way to play tough.

    Focus and refocus. I will hope, and hope again.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:33 PM

      Still hoping right along with you

  32. JT - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:35 PM

    It’s Trea Turner time!!!!!

    I have never been more excited as a Nats fan. This is going to be historic – remember where you were at 9:34pm today.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:38 PM

      I was watching Roark continue his horrid season

  33. Drew - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:36 PM

    Well, the Nats found a way to keep me watching.

    Go Trea!

  34. rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:38 PM

    We had to keep both Roark and Fister and go to a 4 man bench.We have no one left.We can only use pitchers to pinch hit.We are a joke.

    • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2015 at 11:36 PM

      Going through the game post. Why I’m not sure. But I am curious, do you ever comment on anything other than the 4 man bench? What is it that you’re looking for? Do you think MW or Rizzo reads the blog and will respond to you?

      You’ve driven away a huge number of regular commenters with your repetitive rants. So what will it take to get you to give it rest? Do you want someone to agree with you? Ok, I’ll do it. A four man bench is dumb. Having Fister and Roark in the pen isn’t helping us one bit. I actually believe these statements, but I’m not going to say them again and again. Happy now? Or do you want me to agree that Matt den Dekker is the savior of this team? Because there I don’t agree. That’s a bridge too far. 🙂

  35. Drew - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:43 PM

    This is an embarrassment.

    • JT - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:50 PM

      Patience. It’s like a car shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear – it seems like things have stalled for a second, but we’re about to take off.

      The turnaround starts this weekend.

  36. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    Turner must have a jet pack on his back. I blinked and he was down the line….

    Good things coming for him.

    • rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:58 PM

      But not this year.

      • rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:59 PM

        We need OF help and we get Trea Turner.

  37. knoxvillenat - Aug 21, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    What a comedy of errors this is.

    I don’t know what is going on in their heads or in their clubhouse, but watching the 2015 Nationals reminds me of something that happened in women’s golf a few years back. The American team was getting kicked around by the European team in Solheim Cup competition and golf analyst Dottie Pepper called the Americans “…..a bunch of choking dogs ” (I believe that was the expression) when she mistakenly thought her microphone was turned off. Well Ms. Pepper caught all sorts of hell for that comment but truth be told she was quite correct in her assessment.

    Point is the current Nationals have to be considered one of the biggest chokers in 21st century baseball. I can’t recall any team in the last 15 years or so that has underachieved as much as these Nationals have. And don’t throw the injury excuse out to me. Every team has injuries, deal with it, next man up, whatever. Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon, Doug Fister, Tanner Roark, Ian Desmond, most of the bullpen….I’m sure I’ve left out several, but all of these individuals have underperformed this year and they are embarrassing to watch. On top of this the reigning “Manager of the Year” at times looks clueless in how to use his bullpen or when to best pull an ineffective starter.

    This isn’t a playoff team my friends they just aren’t. Having said that I can’t wait until college football starts up again.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 21, 2015 at 10:06 PM

      We might make the playoffs but would get destroyed

      • knoxvillenat - Aug 21, 2015 at 10:18 PM

        Yes we might make the playoffs but that doesn’t necessarily make us a “playoff (caliber) team”. It just means we won perhaps the worst division in MLB and snuck into the playoffs. I wouldn’t like our chances against any other playoff team quite honestly.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 21, 2015 at 10:53 PM

      +41

  38. JT - Aug 21, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    Amazing double play turn by Trea. Acted like he’s been in the league for a decade.

  39. abqnatsfan - Aug 21, 2015 at 10:15 PM

    I hope they do better. They have talent and most of them I like. But they have a disappointing tendency to play to less then their cumulative ability when things are tight. I hope they get past it (Boz says they can learn, but wow is it painful to watch sometimes.)

  40. dcwx61 - Aug 21, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    Cespedes 4 for 4 with 3 hrs and 7 RBIs in the 7th
    Is that a troll statement, bro ?

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