The Braves certainly have a knack for winning games late. Last night was their tenth walk-off win of the season, which is a big reason the team is sitting at 71-49 and in first place in the NL East right now. The Braves put together another ninth inning win last night, as rookie Jason Heyward (who, as I’ve mentioned before, is really, really good) lined a single up the middle to drive home Rick Ankiel, which gave him three walk-off hits in his extremely young career. Making things more painful, Heyward’s hit came with two outs and the ball missed a diving Ian Desmond’s glove by about two inches. The game was not without some controversy, after Ryan Zimmerman was ejected in the eighth inning. Zimmerman did slam his helmet and bat, but only after he swung and missed strike three. It may be the first time I have seen a player ejected for being mad at himself. In the end, Zimmerman’s spot in the order never came up again (thanks to Heyward), so it was a non-issue. The Nats hope to not leave this series as non-winners, and have one last chance early this afternoon.
Game #121: Nationals (51-69) at Braves (71-49)
Turner Field, 1:05 PM
One more tool on the shelf: The Nats have revealed that Josh Willingham will be forced to hit the disabled list due to the meniscus injury in his left knee. Even though he has not played this week, his 15 days will not start until today as the team was waiting for the activation of Nyjer Morgan. It was also revealed that Hammer has been dealing with this injury since April, but it has now gotten to the point where the pain is unbearable. Surgery will happen, it is just a matter of when. Considering the team’s record, and how much the Hammer has been effected by his balky knee (only one homer since July 2), I would be surprised to see him back on the field in 2010.
Welcome to NatsTown, Wilson: Wilson Ramos said he was “excited for the opportunity the Nationals have given me” when he was acquired in late July. That opportunity has come to fruition as he will get his first start in Nationals’ red, white, and blue (and gray) today. Ramos’ contract was purchased from AAA Syracuse yesterday as Wil Nieves has been placed on the temporary leave list (his wife gave birth to a baby girl last night, who’s conception we know way too much about). When today’s lineup was revealed, Ramos’ name popped up in the seven-hole.
Ramos had a sensational start to his career, going 4-5 and 3-4 in his first two games for the Twins, replacing the injured Joe Mauer. Ramos cooled somewhat from there on, and his Major League batting average ended up at .296. He has struggled somewhat back in AAA (.241, 5 HRs), but he was considered the Twins top offensive prospect at the time of the trade.
Window of opportunity opening for John Lannan: With one left-hander struggling (Scott Olsen) and another back on the DL (Ross Detwiler), John Lannan has a great opportunity to re-establish himself with the Nationals. After two decent-but-not-great starts back from the minors, he was very strong last time out, picking up a win after tossing seven superb innings. Overall, he is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA since being recalled by the Nats. A couple more starts like the last one could see Lannan’s position in the 2011 rotation solidified.
On the hill:
- Nationals – John Lannan; 4-5, 5.23
- Braves – Derek Lowe; 11-10, 4.29
Chomping at the bit:
Nats vs. Lowe –
- Adam Kennedy; 13-35 (.371), 2 2B, 1 3B
- Ian Desmond; 4-6 (.667), 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR (that’s an other-worldy 2.167 SLG%)
Braves vs. Lannan –
- Matt Diaz; 7-16 (.438), 1 2B
- Derrek Lee (yeah, he’s on the Braves today); 4-11 (.364), 1 2B, 2 HR
Hoping to draw a walk:
Nats vs. Lowe –
- Adam Dunn; 6-31 (.194), 3 2B
- Roger Bernadina; 0-3
Braves vs. Lannan –
- David Ross; 0-6
- Melky Cabrera; 0-3
News and notes from Nationals Park:
– Apparently, Scott Olsen was none too pleased to get yanked in the sixth inning on Tuesday
– Bryce Harper will be welcomed at Nationals Park sometime during the next homestand.
– Here is the box score from last night.
Small notes from around the Bigs: It is hard to truly feel “bad” for the Red Sox, seeing as they have won two of the last six World Series (and have done so with some roided-up sluggers). But, yesterday was a pretty brutal day. In a season that has been marred by injuries (Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, and Mike Lowell have all missed significant time and Kevin Youkilis is done for the year), two starting outfielders were lost for the season yesterday. Both Jacoby Ellsbury (fractured ribs) and Mike Cameron (torn abdominal muscles) announced yesterday that they would be out for the remainder of the season (to be fair, there is a slight chance Ellsbury could return). Now, the Sox are forced to battle back from six games back with Daniel Nava and late-90s Orioles’ cast-off Darnell McDonald playing major roles in the outfield (and yes, that is a “Small Notes” record for most parentheses used).
As always, check out my homepage for all of my thoughts on the Nationals. Please share your thoughts, complaints and comments below. For daily updates, you can subscribe to these articles (top of the page, at no charge) or follow me on Twitter (@Neuman85). Enjoy today’s entertainment below!
Song of the Day: The Hold Steady – “Stay Positive”
Nats Video of the Day: Everyone has an opinion on the Bryce Harper deal, even this 11-year-old kid