Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’

Hairston embraces challenge of Hamels matchups

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — Scott Hairston doesn’t start often for the Nationals, but when he does, there’s a good chance the Phillies’ Cole Hamels is on the mound.

After a trade from the Cubs, the veteran outfielder made his Nationals debut against Hamels last July 9. The two were paired up again on Sunday afternoon at Nats Park, where Hairston fell just short of hitting two home runs but still came away with the go-ahead sacrifice fly in a 3-2 victory.

As a powerful right-handed hitter with a history of doing damage against southpaws, Hairston fills a clear niche on the Nats’ roster. The result has been Hairston making four of his 11 starts this year against Hamels, with all of those opportunities coming in a six-start span since July 12.

“It’s a challenge, it really is,” Hairston said. “It’s not only Cole. I believe I’ve faced [Clayton] Kershaw a couple times and [Scott] Kazmir and a couple other lefties that are pretty dominant.

“Especially the role I’m in, I don’t really get everyday at-bats, and when I do get a start, it’s against either a former Cy Young Award winner or a future one. I take it as a challenge. Whenever I’m out there, I try to just have the best at-bats possible, just to help the team win, do my part.”

Hairston now has 53 career plate appearances against Hamels, 15 more than against any other pitcher. Since joining the Nats, he’s faced Hairston 20 times, with Kershaw the next closest, at eight.

Here is a breakdown of Hairston’s starts with Washington:

- 6 vs. Cole Hamels (PHI)

- 3 vs. Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

- 2 vs. Mike Minor (ATL)

- 2 vs. Jon Niese (NYM)

- 1 vs. nine other pitchers

- Includes Madison Bumgarner (SF), Francisco Liriano (PIT), Scott Kazmir (OAK)

Against Hamels, Hairston is a .375 career hitter (18-for-48), with five doubles, five homers and 10 RBI. With the Nats, he’s 6-for-18 (.333) with one RBI. Does seeing Hamels so often give Hairston any advantage?

“It’s really tough to say,” said Hairston, who first battled Hamels in 2008 with the Padres. “We’ve faced each other so many times. Like I’ve said before, I think this is the best I’ve ever seen him. … He’s always been good, but I don’t recall him pitching this good.”

In Sunday’s sixth inning, Hairston broke a 2-2 tie with a drive off Hamels that Phillies left fielder Grady Sizemore caught up against the wall, scoring Ian Desmond. It was the second time in three at-bats that an unkind wind seemed to turn a home run into a warning-track for Hairston

“I was just thankful that somebody was one base for that last one,” he said. “It would have stung a lot more if the bases were empty, and I could have tied the game or put us ahead with a home run.”

Follow Andrew Simon on Twitter at @AndrewSimonMLB.

Fister enjoying good stretch with all-around play

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — As a junior at Fresno State in 2005, Doug Fister not only pitched, but also started 26 games at first base.

Those days are long gone, but Fister’s inner infielder has never left him completely, and that showed during Thursday’s win over the Phillies.

Fister exhibited the all-around game that Nats general manager Mike Rizzo touted after he acquired him from the Tigers this winter. The right-hander threw seven solid innings to put his ERA at 2.23 over his past five starts, laid down a pair of sacrifice bunts at the plate and also made three difficult plays in the field.

With runners at first and third and one out in the first inning, Fister nearly helped complete an inning-ending double play. When first baseman Adam LaRoche fielded Ryan Howard’s ground ball and threw to second, Fister hustled to cover first, then used his entire 6-foot-8 frame to stretch for the return throw. He wound up catching the ball in a full split position, but the throw was a tiny bit too late.

“It kind of reverts back to playing first base in college,” Fister said. “Again, it’s part of being a pitcher. You’ve got to get over and cover, and it’s just something that comes natural to me, to get out there and stretch.”

Fister wasn’t too impressed with the play, even if it sparked some concern in others.

“I thought he blew out,” LaRoche said. “But he hopped up and was like, ‘No, I’m good,’ like nothing happened. I couldn’t do it.”

“That’s not comfortable,” manager Matt Williams said of watching the play.

For Fister or for him?

“For both,” Williams said. “He’s a good athlete though.

“He could play first base if he had to.”

In the third inning, Fister showed off another part of his skillset, one he said he hones by having someone smack fungos back at him to improve his reaction time.

Speedy leadoff man Ben Revere hit a ground ball to the third base side of the mound as Fister finished his delivery to the first base side. Fister was able to reach back and twist himself around to snare it and make the play. Then in the sixth, he pounced on Revere’s bunt to the first base side of the mound, scooped it up and tossed to first.

“For a guy that tall, he’s got great agility,” Williams said.

Fister would be a desirable pitcher if pitching were all he could do. But the six-year veteran has shown an ability to handle the bat, control the running game and field his position, and last year was a finalist for an American League Gold Glove Award.

“It’s something I take a lot of pride in and spend a lot of work on,” he said.

Follow Andrew Simon on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

‘The Shark’ faces Nats in Philly

PHILADELPHIA — Former Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina was in the starting lineup for the Phillies on Monday, hitting eighth and playing right field.

The Nationals released Bernadina on Aug. 19 to make room for outfielder David DeJesus</span>. At the time of his release, Bernadina was hitting .178 with two home runs and six RBIs. His hitting wasn’t the only thing that disappointed the Nationals. He was also known to make baserunning mistakes.

“I like him. He just didn’t get much playing time early because we had a set lineup,” manager Davey Johnson said. “But he should have been used to that. Early on, it looked like he was guessing for pitches because he wasn’t aggressive.

“Again, all things come back to you having to stay aggressive in the box. First pitch may be the best pitch you get. They threw a lot of changeups and offspeed stuff. I think he missed a lot of fastballs, because he started getting into that guessing game.”</p>

Asked if was he surprised that the Nationals released him, Bernadina said: “You never want to get released, of course. I will say I was a little bit shocked. I wasn’t performing well. … It’s a business. I understand that part. I wish it had been a better ending, but I understand it’s part of business.

“I think they wanted me for a long time. I wouldn’t be in that organization for that long. In the end, it didn’t work out like I wanted it to.”

Bernadina was a popular figure with the D.C. fans and his teammates. He was lovingly known as “The Shark” because of the handful of great catches he made in the outfield.

“I love my teammates. I love the fans in D.C. I’m looking forward to going over there to see my teammates again,” Bernadina said.

Bernadina has been with the Phillies for the last two weeks and his hitting didn’t get any better, but he has made some nice plays in the outfield.

“Ever since I came here, they really want me. It’s a new opportunity to play somewhere, play more,” Bernadina said. “They have given me the chance to play. I think the teammates are great, coaches, everything is great.”

Friday’s lineups for Nats, Phillies

Phillies
Rollins–SS
Mayberry–CF
Utley–2B
Howard–1B
Pence–RF
Ibanez–LF
Ruiz–C
Valdez–3B
Oswalt–P

Nationals
Desmond–SS
Ankiel–CF
Zimmerman–3B
Nix–1B
Werth–RF
Espinosa–2B
Gomes–LF
Ramos–C
Hernandez–P

Friday’s lineup for Nats, Phillies

NATIONALS
Ankiel, cf
Espinosa, 2b
Zimmerman, 3b
Gomes, lf
Werth, rf
Ramos, c
Nix, 1b
Desmond, ss
Hernandez, rhp

PHILLIES
Rollins, ss
Victorino, cf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Pence, rf
Ibanez, lf
Ruiz, c
Valdez, 3b
Hamels, lhp

Wednesday’s lineup for Phillies, Nationals

Phillies
Polanco – 3B
Mayberry – CF
Utley – 2B
Howard – 1B
Francisco – RF
Ibanez – LF
Ruiz – C
Valdez – SS
Oswalt – P

Nationals
Bernadina – CF
Desmond – SS
Werth – RF
Nix – LF
Morse – 1B
Espinosa – 2B
Ramos – C
Cora – 3B
Lannan – P

Tuesday’s lineup for Phillies, Nationals

Phillies
Rollins-SS
Polanco-3B
Utley-2B
Howard-1B
Ibanez-LF
Ruiz-C
Brown-RF
Mayberry-CF
Lee-P

Nationals
Bernadina-CF
Desmond-SS
Werth-RF
Morse-1B
Espinosa-2B
Pudge-C
Hairston-3B
Bixler-LF
Marquis-P.

Monday’s lineups for Nats, Phillies

Phillies
Rollins – SS
Polanco – 3B
Utley – 2B
Howard – 1B
Ibanez – LF
Ruiz – C
Brown – RF
Mayberry – CF
Halladay – P

Nationals
Ankiel – CF
Espinosa – 2B
Werth – RF
Nix – LF
Morse – 1B
Ramos – C
Hairston – 3B
Cora – SS
Hernandez – P

Starting lineups for Opening Day — Nats, Phils

Phillies
1. SS Jimmy Rollins
2. 3B Placido Polanco
3. 2B Chase Utley
4. 1B Ryan Howard
5. RF Jayson Werth
6. LF Raul Ibanez
7. CF Shane Victorino
8. C Carlos Ruiz
9. P Roy Halladay

Nationals
1. CF Nyjer Morgan
2. RF Willie Harris
3. 3B Ryan Zimmerman
4. 1B Adam Dunn
5. LF Josh Willingham
6. 2B Adam Kennedy
7. C Ivan Rodriguez
8. SS Ian Desmond
9. P John Lannan 

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