October 2012

Desmond: ‘We are not at a disadvantage’

The Nationals plan to use left-hander Ross Detwiler for Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals. The last time Detwiler faced the Cardinals was on Sept. 30. He allowed seven runs – three earned – in 2 1/3 innings.

“I don’t think we are at a disadvantage. We have a great pitching. We got here on what we have been doing and we are going to stick to it,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “I’m 100 percent confident in Det. I have no worries whatsoever. I think he is due.”

Infielder Mark DeRosa was with the Braves in the early 2000s and he watched them be eliminated in the early rounds of the playoffs. He said the Nationals can’t afford to play the game like it was any other series.

“I like to put the finality of it, the football mentality of it,” said DeRosa, who is off the playoff roster.  “That will be my little speech to the guys tomorrow. There is no tomorrow. That’s stating the obvious. If you approach each pitch like that … you can’t do it for 162 games, but you can do it for a short series. You can do it when [the game] is on the line.

“We got beat, we got beat pretty handily. We move on to the next day. Thank goodness we have another game. We need to draw on the fact that we have been the best baseball team for 162 games and just have to win one game tomorrow. Ross will give his best effort. I would like to give Gio [Gonzalez] one more opportunity to pretty much cement the season that he already has.”

NLDS Game 3 lineups

Same lineups for both teams as they look to take a 2-1 edge in this best-of-five National League Division Series.

Jon Jay CF
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday LF
Allen Craig 1B
Yadier Molina C
David Freese 3B
Daniel Descalso 2B
Pete Kozma SS
Chris Carpenter RHP

Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Edwin Jackson RHP

If you want to read MLB.com’s pre-Game 3 coverage, there’s plenty of it up on Nationals.com right now. Some quick links…

-Bill Ladson talked to Stephen Strasburg, who has “accepted” being shut down while already looking forward to pitching next season.
-Anthony DiComo has a great story up on Ryan Zimmerman, the face of the Nationals franchise finally getting a crack at the postseason.
-Columnist Lyle Spencer writes that Ian Desmond is breaking out on the postseason stage.
-Bill Ladson takes a look at the “Goon Squad” on the Nats’ bench, which helped them win Game 1 and made this successful season possible despite all the injuries.
-There is a ton of stuff in the Nationals notebook, including Mike Fiammetta’s writeup of Bryce Harper’s approach through his first two postseason games. Plenty of other news and notes in there — Michael Morse is sticking with his agents, the game times for the rest of the series, NLCS tickets on sale and an update on the Sun Monster.
-And finally, the Nationals are excited about Washington’s first playoff game since 1933 for themselves as well as their fans. Check out the chart to see how other things have changed since the last postseason game in D.C.

-Adam Berry

NLDS Game 2 lineups

Adam Berry here at Busch Stadium, pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

 Same lineups as yesterday in what Nats first baseman Adam LaRoche called a “must-win” game for the Cardinals before this series moves to Nationals Park.

Werth RF
Harper CF
Zimmerman 3B
LaRoche 1B
Morse LF
Desmond SS
Espinosa 2B
Suzuki C
Zimmermann RHP

Jay CF
Beltran RF
Holliday LF
Craig 1B
Molina C
Freese 3B
Descalso 2B
Kozma SS
Garcia LHP

The importance of 1-0, winning on the road; links

Adam Berry here in St. Louis, pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

The Nationals won their first postseason game Sunday at Busch Stadium, beating the Cardinals, 3-2, thanks to some pinch-hitting heroics from Tyler Moore, a spectacular effort by their bullpen and a wild, but not totally disastrous, start from Gio Gonzalez.

“We learned a lot about ourselves. It doesn’t have to be perfect for us to get it done,” closer Drew Storen said afterward. “If we’re going to be playing in the World Series, that’s the only way we’re going to get there.”

More immediately, they’re two wins away from hosting the NLCS against the Reds or the Giants (and given the way Cincinnati thumped San Francisco last night to go up 2-0, it’d be stunning if it wasn’t the Reds), and they’ll have as many as four more chances to get those two wins, three of them coming at Nationals Park if the series goes a full five games.

Obviously winning Game 1 matters in any series. You set the tone, establish early momentum and all that cliche stuff. It’s especially important in a five-game series. Consider these numbers, updated by MLB.com’s Zack Meisel:
-Teams with a 1-0 lead in the NLDS have gone 30-4 in the series.
-Teams with a 2-0 lead in the NLDS are undefeated, going 21-0 to this point. (See what I meant about the Reds?) Overall, between both leagues, clubs that won the first two games of a five-game series have gone 38-4.
-Seventeen of 19 clubs to take a 2-1 lead in the NLDS have won the series.

“The first one’s huge, especially in this first round. You go up to seven games, it’s a little different,” Adam LaRoche said last night. “But a short round like this, you want to get the first one.”

Jayson Werth called on his own experience about the importance of surviving a tough first game on the road, recalling one in Milwaukee in the 2008 NLDS — it was Game 3, the first one in Miller Park and the only one the Phillies lost that series. He remembered that the roof was closed and the crowd was banging ThunderStix the whole time — “It was so loud, it was like 10 times louder than any game we had played,” he said — and Philadelphia lost, 4-1.

“And mentally, we were fried. It was a lot to overcome. I always remember that game,” Werth said. “We got beat and we came back and won the next night, but that first game was tough to swallow. I felt like we got into that situation a little bit in the first inning [Sunday]. We grinded through it and we ended up getting the win. Big win for us today, no doubt.”

If you want to read more about Game 1, here are some links from the MLB.com staff here in St. Louis:

-The game story focuses on Tyler Moore’s game-winning, pinch-hit single in the eighth, which made everything all right after so much seemed to be going wrong early on.
-Anthony DiComo’s story on the good, the bad and the ugly of Gio Gonzalez and his first postseason start.
-DiComo also recaps Ryan Mattheus’ short, but incredibly important, outing in this piece on the Nationals’ bullpen.
-On the topic of Mattheus, and Moore, columnist Tracy Ringolsby delves into their stories and their contributions in Game 1.
-The Cardinals game story from Jennifer Langosch reads a lot like the Nationals’ story probably would have had Tyler Moore not come through: full of missed opportunities and a must-win Game 2.
-Speaking of Moore, Paul Hagen runs through Mike Matheny’s options in the most crucial moment of the game.
-And if you can’t get enough of the shadows at Busch Stadium, Jennifer Langosch got reactions from both sides. Something to look forward to: They’ll probably be even worse today.
-The Did You Know? collection of fun facts and notes from Game 1, compiled by associates Mike Fiammetta and Jake Kaplan.
-And, looking ahead to this afternoon’s game, another piece by Anthony DiComo on why the always stoic Jordan Zimmermann says he won’t be affected by the playoff excitement.

NLDS Game 1 lineups

Adam Berry here at Busch Stadium, pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

Just a reminder this game begins at 3:07 p.m. ET and will be televised on TBS. Head over to Nationals.com for a bunch of stories and columns from the MLB.com staff here in St. Louis.

No surprises on either side, but here’s who will be taking the field for the Nationals’ first playoff game on this chilly St. Louis afternoon…

Werth RF
Harper CF
Zimmerman 3B
LaRoche 1B
Morse LF
Desmond SS
Espinosa 2B
Suzuki C
Gio Gonzalez LHP

Jay CF
Beltran RF
Holliday LF
Craig 1B
Molina C
Freese 3B
Descalso 2B
Kozma SS
Wainwright RHP

Nats announce 25-man roster for NLDS

The Nationals today announced their 25-man roster for the National League Division Series against the Cardinals. Manager Davey Johnson’s roster includes 12 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders

LHP Sean Burnett
LHP Ross Detwiler
LHP Gio Gonzalez
LHP Michael Gonzalez
LHP Tom Gorzelanny
RHP Tyler Clippard
RHP Christian Garcia
RHP Edwin Jackson
RHP Ryan Mattheus
RHP Craig Stammen
RHP Drew Storen
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

C Jesus Flores
C Kurt Suzuki

SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa (S)
1B Adam LaRoche (L)
INF Steve Lombardozzi (S)
INF Chad Tracy (L)
3B Ryan Zimmerman

OF Roger Bernadina (L)
OF Bryce Harper (L)
OF Tyler Moore
OF Michael Morse
OF Jayson Werth

Divsion series game times through Tuesday announced

Sat. Oct. 6th ALDS Game 1, OAK @ DET 6:07 p.m. (ET) TBS
Sat. Oct. 6th NLDS Game 1, CIN @ SF 9:37 p.m. (ET) TBS
Sun. Oct. 7th ALDS Game 2, OAK @ DET 12:07 p.m. (ET) MLBN
Sun. Oct. 7th NLDS Game 1, WSH @ STL/ATL 3:07 p.m. (ET) TBS
Sun. Oct. 7th ALDS Game 1, NYY @ BAL/TEX 6:15 p.m. (ET) TBS
Sun. Oct. 7th NLDS Game 2, CIN @ SF 9:37 p.m. (ET) TBS
Mon. Oct. 8th NLDS Game 2, WSH @ STL/ATL 4:37 p.m. (ET) TBS
Mon. Oct. 8th ALDS Game 2, NYY @ BAL/TEX 8 07 p.m. (ET) TBS
Tues. Oct. 9th NLDS Game 3, SF @ CIN 5:37 p.m. (ET) TBS
Tues. Oct. 9th ALDS Game 3, DET @ OAK 9:07 p.m. (ET) TBS