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Game 134: Braves at Nats

Sep 4, 2015, 3:27 PM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

It’s been more than two months since Tanner Roark started a game for the Nationals, his season broken into multiple parts that have included stints as a long reliever, short reliever, spot starter and minor-league starter. He just served as the latter, making two minor-league starts in advance of his return to the Nats’ rotation tonight against Atlanta, when he’ll be limited to roughly 85 pitches.

Julio Teheran is the next man up for the Braves, whose pitching staff has been absolutely pummeled recently. During this stretch in which they’ve lost 16-of-17 games, they’ve posted a collective 7.70 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. Yikes. We’ll see if the Nationals can continue to take advantage.

Updates to come, so please check back…

ATLANTA BRAVES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183/869
Weather: Muggy, 84 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from RF

NATIONALS (68-65)
RF Jayson Werth
2B Anthony Rendon
CF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Clint Robinson
3B Yunel Escobar
SS Ian Desmond
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Tanner Roark

BRAVES (54-79)
RF Nick Markakis
CF Cameron Maybin
1B Freddie Freeman
C A.J. Pierzynski
3B Adonis Garcia
2B Jace Peterson
SS Andrelton Simmons
LF Michael Bourn
RHP Julio Teheran

UMPIRES
HP Paul Emmel
1B Jerry Meals (cc)
2B Andy Fletcher
3B Clint Fagan

7:05 p.m. — We are underway on a muggy, mostly overcast night here at Nationals Park. No rain to this point, though there’s still a slight chance of some before the game is over.

7:24 p.m. — Well, that was an interesting first inning. Tanner Roark got into some trouble, but he got out of it in part by picking Cameron Maybin off first base, which became huge when Freddie Freeman doubled off the right-field wall. So Roark escaped the inning with no damage. Speaking of damage, that’s what Bryce Harper did in the bottom of the inning. He finally got a pitch to hit — a 3-2 fastball down the middle — and boy did he hit it. Into the second deck in deep right-center, a 446-foot blast. That’s Harper’s 32nd homer of the season and his third career in 22 at-bats vs. Julio Teheran (he’s 10-for-22 with three homers and three doubles). Nats lead 1-0 after one.

7:38 p.m. — Pitch count is going to be a big deal for Roark tonight, because he’s restricted to roughly 85. The good news is he’s through two innings on only 26 pitches, thanks to a 1-2-3 top of the second. So far, so good. Still 1-0 Nats after two.

8:04 p.m. — Talk about the Barry Bonds treatment: The Braves just intentionally walked Harper with runners on the corners and two outs, loading the bases for Zimmerman, who seems like he’s had the bases loaded every other at-bat this week. The gamble worked, though, because Zim skied a flyball to right to end the inning. For the season, though, he’s 4-for-6 with the bases loaded, with a homer, a walk, eight sac flies and 17 RBI. It’s 1-1 after three, thanks to a misplay in left field by Clint Robinson on Freeman’s sinking liner and A.J. Pierzysnki’s cue-shot down the third-base line for an RBI.

8:23 p.m. — Golden opportunity for the Nats in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a ball through Adonis Garcia’s legs and a walk to Yunel Escobar. But Nick Markakis made a nice catch of Ian Desmond’s liner down the right-field line, and then Teheran showed quick reflexes to snag Jose Lobaton’s comebacker and start an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play. So it remains 1-1 after four.

8:45 p.m. — Matt Williams has come under plenty of fire lately for managing “by the book” too much. Well, he just went against the book and made a bold move, pulling Roark with one out in the fifth and the bases loaded, going to Matt Thornton to match up against the left-handed A.J. Pierzynski. And it worked. Pierzynski popped out and Garcia grounded out, so a nice job by Thornton gets the Nats through the fifth with the game still 1-1. That was a high leverage situation and Williams wasn’t afraid to play matchups, even though it was only the fifth inning.

9:03 p.m. — Williams’ bullpen decisions are coming up winners so far in this game. Felipe Rivero set the Braves down in order in the top of the sixth inning on just five pitches. But the Nats yet again squandered a bases loaded opportunity in the bottom of the frame, with Ian Desmond striking out and Jose Lobaton flying out to end the threat. It’s still tied 1-1 as we head to the seventh.

9:20 p.m. — Rivero came out for a second inning of work and once again set the Braves down in order. But old friend Edwin Jackson held the Nats scoreless as well. So onto the eighth we go, and here comes Drew Storen.

9:41 p.m. — And Storen’s struggles continue. He yielded the go-ahead run in the eighth when he allowed a leadoff double by — who else — Freeman which was later followed by an RBI single by the pinch-hitting Nick Swisher. The Nats couldn’t rally with the middle of the order up after Harper was stranded at first. Jonathan Papelbon will work the ninth down 2-1.

10:07 p.m. — Free baseball, everyone! The Nats rallied in the ninth to tie the game at 2-2 after Matt den Dekker’s RBI single to drive in Trea Turner. We head to extra innings with Papelbon coming back on to work the 10th.

10:30 p.m. — And how about that? Michael Taylor, who started this game on the bench with a bruised knee, hits a walk-off three-run shot to end the game and give the Nats a huge 5-2 win. More coverage soon.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 4, 2015 at 3:36 PM

    I would like to believe that Tanner Roark’s issues this year have largely been a function of his mixed roles. I would also like to believe that he’s now been told that he’s starting every fifth game for the rest of the season. And I would finally like to believe that that certainty will now address those issues. GYFNG!

    • alexva6 - Sep 4, 2015 at 3:48 PM

      I don’t know, if I was managing tonight I would have Cole ready at the first sign of trouble.

      • Jeff - Sep 4, 2015 at 4:57 PM

        Agree . Grace and Martin after that

    • Doc - Sep 4, 2015 at 3:49 PM

      Amen, bro!!!!!

    • Hiram Hover - Sep 4, 2015 at 4:32 PM

      +1.

      OTOH, I would also like to believe that drinking beer helps me lose weight.

      • veejh - Sep 4, 2015 at 5:13 PM

        Well played
        +1

    • natsguy - Sep 4, 2015 at 5:07 PM

      I don’t think Grace is a real good option.

  2. langleyclub - Sep 4, 2015 at 3:48 PM

    Looks to be the toughest game of the series based upon the pitching matchups (hard to believe Saturday’s Starter for the Braves, Shelby Miller, has not won any of his last 19 starts). The bullpen is rested, like the Nats chances as long as Roark can keep it close until the Braves have to rely on their wretched bullpen.

  3. Doc - Sep 4, 2015 at 3:51 PM

    Avoid Casey At The Mound, and go with the kids and call-ups!

  4. knoxvillenat - Sep 4, 2015 at 4:12 PM

    Hoping Roark can give thecNstsxa solid five innings (or more) and then turn it over to the bullpen with a lead. Hopefully MW will look to put his best defensive players on the field late in the game if the lead is one or two runs and not leave us with CRob and Werth manning the outfield or Escobar at third. Defense Matt, think defense when needed.

    • veejh - Sep 4, 2015 at 5:14 PM

      +1 on defensive replacements

  5. knoxvillenat - Sep 4, 2015 at 4:14 PM

    “thecNstsxa”…….uh, that should be “the Nats a…”

    • soonernat - Sep 4, 2015 at 4:31 PM

      If a Sooner were heading to Knoxville next weekend for a certain non-baseball athletic contest where might he want to go to have a beer before this non-baseball athletic contest? Here’s hoping my MLB at Bat app will work inside this non-baseball facility next Saturday evening…..

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 4, 2015 at 4:57 PM

        “No-Hitter Field”?

      • knoxvillenat - Sep 4, 2015 at 5:38 PM

        Well it depends on how close the Sooner wants to be to the actual site of this non baseball activity. If you want to be within walking distance I would recommend Calhoun’s on the River. If you are staying in a hotel in the downtown area there are many find establishments on Gay Street or even better Market Square. One of my favorites is Stock & Barrel but be prepared for a long wait for a table there. If you are near the Cumberland Avenue section, aka “The Strip” I highly recommend Copper Cellar which is very popular with locals. I especially recommend the downstairs bar over the main level and the crab cakes are excellent.

        Hope you have a good time, local fans are, by and large, very courteous to out of town visitors. Always an exception however so don’t let the idiots ruin your visit.

      • soonernat - Sep 5, 2015 at 12:35 PM

        Thanks Knoxville!!

  6. Jeff - Sep 4, 2015 at 4:55 PM

    Goodwin leap frogged by Cat Ballou??
    Is Brenden Webb on the radar for AA
    Next year??

  7. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 4, 2015 at 6:47 PM

    So, reading some of the Matt Harvey stories while waiting for the game to start, I’m trying to wrap my mind around what the Mets GM means by a ‘soft’ innings limit. It’s clearly more than simply letting Mr. Harvey go a few innings over 180 in order to let him finish his last couple of games with six innings each. But what is it, then? Seeing how he feels after he gets to 180? This is the guy who didn’t want to skip a turn in the rotation — he’s not going to say he’s tired and needs to be shut down. Or does ‘soft limit’ mean they’re going to wait until he becomes ineffective? Which may or may not happen and may or may not be a good indicator of his long-term health. Or do they wait for him to feel some discomfort or pain? They would be insane. I know Mike Rizzo has been (and still is) roundly criticized for his ‘hard’ limit on Stephen Strasburg, but I can’t imagine doing it otherwise.

    • veejh - Sep 4, 2015 at 7:05 PM

      I don’t care anymore about what they do. As far as I’m concerned, let them pitch the hell out of Harvey and ruin his future and the Mets. It ends up working out better for us. They’re not even close to being good enough to win the WS this year. Burn em all up, baby.

    • natsjackinfl - Sep 4, 2015 at 7:42 PM

      Like Stras had a “hard” limit that didn’t get reached due to his ineffectiveness in his last 2 starts, a “soft” limit would be one that would trigger the close observation that would lead to the shut down decision.

      That could be the 180 mark that’s been tossed about or something around there. Pain isn’t something any one would want in that process but ineffectiveness is what would trigger the decision.

  8. Section 222 - Sep 4, 2015 at 6:56 PM

    On the pregame, Trea didn’t seem too upset that his first MLB hit was debatable whether it was an error. Glad to get it out of the way.

  9. Section 222 - Sep 4, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    Carp gives a shout out to Mark on the broadcast. Wonder if that means he reads the comments too. Hi Carp!

  10. veejh - Sep 4, 2015 at 7:21 PM

    Gone, boy.

  11. Drew - Sep 4, 2015 at 7:25 PM

    13 to reach 100 at 22.

    668 from Henry Aaron.

    • Reverendp - Sep 4, 2015 at 7:30 PM

      Carp just referenced this. Think they read the blog, at least the producers?

  12. philipd763 - Sep 4, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    From Jon Heyman:
    In today’s edition of his weekly Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports begins by highlighting the fact that the NL East division title race will determine the fate of Nationals manager Matt Williams and Mets manager Terry Collins. Heyman writes that while Nats GM Mike Rizzo has repeatedly backed Williams, Rizzo is a “chorus of one” within the Nats brass. Ownership is extremely frustrated with the team’s recent play, and Heyman points out that it may also be telling that amid multiple reports of players disliking his rigid demeanor, not one player from the Nats has stepped forward to defend Williams. Ownership has already discussed dismissing Williams, Heyman adds. Collins, on the other hand, is in line for a new contract if and when the Mets reach the postseason. Falling behind the Nats and missing the playoffs, though, would harken back to 2007’s epic collapse and almost certainly cost Collins his job. Then again, the Mets have remaining series against the Reds, Braves, Phillies and Marlins, as Heyman points out, so a collapse seems particularly unlikely.

  13. natslive - Sep 4, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    Braves run a gift from Clint

  14. Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 8:22 PM

    I’ll give CRobb minor Cudos for advancing on the Desi fly ball to right, but that was a terrific catch by Markasis.

  15. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 4, 2015 at 8:26 PM

    Bob Carpenter beat me to it. Even though the Nats didn’t score, with each pitch they’re getting that much closer to the Braves bullpen. That used to be a scary thing. Not so much now.

  16. knoxvillenat - Sep 4, 2015 at 8:31 PM

    Maybin with three hard hit balls tonight off Roark. Smart move to walk Freeman.

  17. Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 8:41 PM

    Hmmm….seems that our idiot moron of a manager did a pretty good handling the the top of the 5th.

  18. carlospaula - Sep 4, 2015 at 8:42 PM

    and down the stretch we go….Matt made a good move yanking Roark…40 man roster matters

  19. Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 8:50 PM

    And, yes, I scoreboard watch. 3-1 Fish over the Mutts in the 6th.

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 8:53 PM

      Uh-oh. 3-2 now.

  20. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 4, 2015 at 8:58 PM

    So in this close game…. where we are about to get into their BP, I can expect defensive subs next inning, right?

    A new LF and a new 3rd baseman?

  21. knoxvillenat - Sep 4, 2015 at 8:58 PM

    Expanded rosters why not pinch run for CRob here? Someone faster who can play left field? Cough, Espinosa, cough.

    • natslive - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:04 PM

      DenDekker

      • knoxvillenat - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:07 PM

        I was thinking Den Dekker later in the game for Werth with Harper moving to RF.

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:07 PM

      Or den Dekker. I was against benching MAT to put Espinosa in LF back when Span was playing CF. Once Denard went down things were different. Now, though I think MdD is at best a 5th outfielder for a good ML team, he at least is an outfielder.

  22. knoxvillenat - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:00 PM

    And maybe a faster runner and better defender than Escobar….Turner?

  23. Danny - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:02 PM

    Exhibit A why we will be a better team without Desmond next year

    • Karl Kolchak - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:05 PM

      Oh come on, he’s been doing great lately rebuilding some of his free agent value by hitting solo home runs when the team is down 7-2. You can’t expect him to excercise plate discipline a maybe draw a walk when it could actually make a difference. That is expecting WAY too much!

      • Danny - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:06 PM

        Haha I couldn’t have put it any better

      • Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:11 PM

        HA!

  24. Drew - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:03 PM

    Is that the third time they’ve failed to score a runner from third with less than two outs?

    How many chances are they going to waste?

  25. knoxvillenat - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:03 PM

    Like NatsJack I am so over Ian Desmond. Not one of his swinging strikes is in the strike zone.

    • Karl Kolchak - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:09 PM

      Seattle is the perfect place for him. A lousy team that consistently overpays for overrated “name” players. He’ll fit right in.

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:09 PM

      That was ugly. Now quite Uggla ugly, it was ugly none the less. That said? Dan Uggla may play a big part in the Nats winning this game.

  26. Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:16 PM

    OT and sorry to throw this out there on a game blog, but this an interesting take on Scott Boras’ feelings about his client Matt Harvey and his innings limit.

  27. IsawTeddywin - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:29 PM

    OK, I’m about ready to join the Fire MW crowd. Why is Storen pitching against a parade of lefties? That turned out so well against the Dodgers.

  28. exposremains - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:29 PM

    You know Storen the best way to make your boss looked bad for demoting you is to show them wrong. Not even trying anymore is not the way.

    • Karl Kolchak - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:37 PM

      We’ve talked about how much money Desmond and Fister cost themselves this year, well Drew has cost himself a bundle as well. I know he isn’t a free agent until 2017, but I can’t imagine what team will take a chance on making him a closer next year.

      • exposremains - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:00 PM

        Absolutely

  29. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:35 PM

    Anyone want to explain why Rivero didn’t face Freeman?

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:54 PM

      Gee, MrsB, I tend to agree with you. But Werth was playing way towards the line, no problem with that, and Freeman hit it where they weren’t, as he has done against the Nats for years. But according to some, Jayson didn’t hustle to the ball.

  30. Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:57 PM

    Wow! A two strike bunt by Desi. And it was successful!

    • coop202 - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:59 PM

      Terrible by ramos

  31. exposremains - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    Good job Ramos. Smart at bat. Another 1 out situation. Fp quit the excuses

  32. Drew - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    Wow!

  33. Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    Ok, I tip my hat to MdD, and am eating my words!

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:03 PM

      Rltdtn is somewhere screaming…

    • Karl Kolchak - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:06 PM

      Horrible decision to have Desmond bunt with two strikes, but it works out anyway. Amazing.

  34. Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:15 PM

    Nice job, Pap! Now let’s win this now, fellas!

  35. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:27 PM

    Face. Of. The. Franchise.

  36. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:28 PM

    Yyyyeeeassssssss

  37. Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:28 PM

    Wooohooooooooooo!!!

  38. tcostant - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:28 PM

    About that Talyor!!!

  39. Drew - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:28 PM

    MAT!!!

  40. Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:29 PM

    Our man, mAT!!!

  41. ArVAFan - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:29 PM

    In the immortal words of Michelle S:

    WOO – F**ing HOO!

    And here comes the chocolate sauce . . . and well deserved!

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:31 PM

      + 3

  42. natslive - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:33 PM

    MAT, And DenDekker come thru and Pap going 2 innings

  43. Karl Kolchak - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:34 PM

    Taylor’s knee looked okay there. 🙂

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