June 8, 2012

G58: Nationals 7, Red Sox 4

Nationals - 003 301 000 - 7 12  0
Red Sox   - 020 000 011 - 4  8  0
Strasburg (6-4-2-2-13, 119) dominated the Red Sox and Bryce Harper (age 19) became only the third visiting teenager since 1940 to collect three hits in a game at Fenway Park.

The other two teenagers with three hits were Al Kaline (18, September 16, 1953) and Ken Griffey Jr. (19, May 25, 1989). However, both Kaline and Griffey hit three singles; Harper doubled in the third, homered in the fourth, and singled in the sixth.

Strasburg struck out 13 of the 24 batters he faced, getting Daniel Nava and Kevin Youkilis three times each, and Dustin Pedroia and Jarrod Saltalamacchia twice each. From the start of the third inning, Strasburg struck out seven of eight consecutive batters (and eight of 10). He is the youngest visiting pitcher since at least 1918 to record 13 strikeouts in a Fenway game.

Boston broke on top first as Mike Aviles smacked a two-run double, scoring David Ortiz (walk) and Ryan Sweeney (single), but Washington quickly scored six times off Doubront (4-8-6-2-6, 82).

With one out in the third, Danny Espinosa walked, Harper doubled, and Ryan Zimmerman hit a run-scoring single. After another walk and a strikeout, Ian Desmond doubled in two runs to give the Nats a 3-2 lead. Tyler Moore doubled to start the fourth and scored on Espinosa's double. Then Harper went deep, making the score 6-2. He added an RBI single in the sixth.

The Red Sox had a golden scoring opportunity in the sixth. With one out, Pedroia singled, Adrian Gonzalez doubled and Ortiz walked, loading the bases. Strasburg bore down and struck out both Saltalamacchia and Youkilis to get out of trouble (and end his night at a career-high 119 pitches). Yook thought the full-count pitch was low and was ejected by home plate umpire Doug Eddings. The pitch - a fastball - was far too close to take in that situation and Brooks has it clearly in the strike zone.

In the ninth, Nava singled home Nick Punto who had pinch-hit and walked.

Gonzalez had a solid night at the plate, doubling in the sixth and homering to dead center in the eighth. It was the 200th home run of his career. Gonzalez was robbed of a home run earlier in the game, as Xavier Nady reached over into the visitors bullpen to make the catch in the third inning.
Stephen Strasburg / Felix Doubront
Nava, LF
Pedroia, 2B
Gonzalez, 1B
Ortiz, DH
Saltalamacchia, C
Youkilis, 3B
Sweeney, RF
Aviles, SS
Podsednik, CF
The Red Sox will have their hands full with Strasburg, who has a 2.35 ERA (5th best in MLB) in 11 starts. In eight of those 11 starts, he has allowed three or fewer earned runs. He is striking out an average of 11 batters per 9 innings (2nd best in NL).

The Nationals are 32-23 and lead the NL East by one game over Atlanta. They have a team ERA of 2.99, which is the best in baseball and almost one full run below the MLB average of 3.95. By comparison, Boston is 27th in team ERA at 4.42.


Jere said...

That John Rider guy always does the late-night, post-post-game show on the radio, which I often listen to on the car on the way home from games. Tonight he noted that Youk DID indeed have a beef. I thought, well that's good to know since they all went so crazy. Then I come here and see Brooks said strike. I went to the game thread, and I see Amica also said strike. So what the hell was Rider watching?? (On the same show he told a caller he was wrong when he said Beckett didn't talk to the media after his last start: "I've been pretty ensconced with the Celtics, but I know the media always talks to the starting pitcher so I'm sure he talked to them." He later said "a texter has confirmed he didn't talk to the media." He is also regularly baffled by simple baseball rules-related questions. I don't know how this man ever got a job.)

mattymatty said...

The "ameeker" pitch zone on NESN had the pitch a bit lower, right on the line at the bottom of the strike zone. To my eyes, and I've watched it a bunch now, it looked a touch below Youk's knees. The thing about both Pitch f/x and NESN's pitch-zone thing is that they both assume the strike zone remains static throughout the game when in fact it doesn't. It fluctuates based on the height of the hitter. That's why I feel relatively comfortable saying that the ball was low despite multiple computer systems disagreeing. Of course my opinion is based on watching it from the center field camera which is off center and so it's hard to tell exactly blah blah blah.

Ultimately however it doesn't matter where it was. The HP ump called it, and thems the breaks.

Jim said...

I'll bet everyone watching on NESN screamed "what does ameeker say" when Youk took that pitch--even the 'human element' people. Ya think anybody at the ball park would be interested? Disgusting that MLB won't use available technology. And for the 100th time, it ain't the umpires' union. They can be crushed like bugs by the owners and Bud. The whole thing is baffling.

9casey said...

Yeah, but Jim the ump was right..

Jim said...

"but the ump was right"

That's news??? And you believed it when he called it? Didn't even want a peek at what ameeker showed?

Anyway, it's a futile discussion.

As a practical matter, Youk of all people should know better than to leave a crucial call in the ump's hands. On 3-2, 2-out, bases loaded he should be hacking at anything that close.

mattymatty said...

"On 3-2, 2-out, bases loaded he should be hacking at anything that close."

Except that's not Youk's game. He doesn't swing at pitches he thinks are out of the zone unless he thinks they're going to be in the zone (like gets fooled on a slider, for example). That's not to say it was or wasn't a strike, just that Youk thought it wasn't so he didn't swing. The result sucked, but that's the chance you take with that approach. On the whole I think it's a good thing by a lot. Sucked in that instance though.