NL Division Series Game 4: Nationals vs. Cardinals

October 11, 2012
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We’ll see you tomorrow night for Game 5


(Alex Brandon / AP)

The Nats will not go quietly into the night. And judging by the collective roar after Jayson Werth’s walk-off homer tonight, neither will their fans.

Read: Kilgore’s game story

Your reward? We get to do it all over again tomorrow night. 8:30 p.m. TBS.

Thanks for joining us this evening. Now go get a good night’s sleep. Rest your pipes and drink some tea.

If you thought tonight was nerve-wracking, just wait for Game 5.

Jayson Werth’s last at-bat, pitch by pitch

Jayson Werth battled through a 13-pitch at-bat before crushing his game-winning home run into the bullpen and keeping the Nationals’ season alive.

He fouled off seven pitches from Lance Lynn, including six straight while facing a 2-2 count.

Here’s what the at-bat looked like on MLB.com’s Gameday.

(MLB.com)

Tips for heading home from Nats Park on Metro

If you’re still celebrating the win in Southeast and plan on taking Metro home, here are a few tips from The Post’s Mark Berman over at Dr. Gridlock.

  • The Half Street entrance at the Navy Yard station is closer to the stadium, and as a result it gets very crowded very quickly. Head to the New Jersey Avenue entrance instead; it’s a bit of a walk, but it tends not to be as jammed right after games.
  • Using a paper farecard (and paying a $1 surcharge for each trip)? Make sure you have $2.70 on the card, otherwise you can’t enter the system.
  • The most congested transfer stations will be L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place. Try to avoid those if at all possible. If you’re going to the Yellow Line en route to Springfield or Alexandria, transfer at Archives. If you need to access the Orange or Blue lines, consider walking to Capitol South or Eastern Market. If you have to access the Green Line, walk to the Waterfront station, hop on a train bound for Anacostia and wait for it to turn around. 

Eckersley, Wells pick Nats to win Game 5

After watching Jayson Werth send the Nationals and Cardinals to a Game 5 Friday night, TBS studio host Matt Winer asked Dennis Eckersley and David Wells who they liked in a winner-take-all scenario.

“As bad as (Gio) Gonzalez was last time out, I think this is his day,” the mulletted Eckersley said. “You talk about Natitude or whatever — but that home run saved them.”

Wells, sporting a mullet wig to show solidarity with his co-commentator initially declined to pick a winner. But when Winer gave him another nudge, he relented.

“All right! Nats, Nats, Nats, Nats, Nats.”

Werth’s trip around the bases


(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)


(Robb Carr / Getty Images)

 


(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

 


(Nick Wass / AP)

 


(Robb Carr / Getty Images)

 


(Robb Carr / Getty Images)


(Shawn Thew / EPA)

 


(Nick Wass / AP)

Scenes from the celebration

Scenes from the celebration of Jayson Werth’s walk-off lead-off home-run to win Game 4 of the NLDS at Nationals Park and bring up a deciding Game 5 on Friday.

This was, without doubt, the best moment in the history of that stadium.

Jayson Werth: “All bets are off tomorrow.”


(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Jayson Werth said after Wednesday’s Game 3 loss that he still liked the Nationals’ position.

He made good on that feeling by powering the Nats into a decisive Game 5 with a blast into the bullpen.

He spoke with TBS reporter David Aldridge after the game.

On that 13-pitch at-bat: “I felt pretty good going into the at-bat. I had a little something last night. I was sitting at home watching my boy Raul Ibanez do it. He gave me a little something today.”

On believing the Nats could win Game 4: “I don’t know if you weren’t sure, but I was sure. We’ve been doing it all year long. We’ve got a great club.”

On Game 5: “I expect Gio to come out and pitch his game…. We won this game. All bets are off tomorrow.”

Nationals walkoff, 2-1, force Game 5


(Robb Carr / Getty Images)

Jayson Werth put on the most incredible at-bat in Nationals history. He fouled off seven pitches and then homered on the 13th one off Lance Lynn. Nationals win, 2-1.

Ian Desmond saves a run with a diving play

Drew Storen threw a scoreless ninth inning, but threw a lot of pitches in the process. After striking out David Freese and Daniel Descalso, he walked Pete Kozma. Pinch hitter Matt Carpenter lifted a ball into shallow left field and Ian Desmond raced to it, diving back to get it. A tremendous play by him because Kozma was near third when he caught it and would have score if it fell in.

On to the bottom of the ninth, tied 1-1.

Chad Tracy’s strikeout

The Nats only had three base runners through the first eight innings on Thursday. So Kurt Suzuki’s walk in the bottom of the eighth seemed promising. Of course, the next batter was pinch hitter Chad Tracy, and the leader of the Goon Squad struck out on this pitch, which landed between his feet.

Weird pitch to swing at.

 

Jim Joyce has “had a rough day behind the plate”

Jim Joyce is one of the most well-respected umpires in the majors. He’s also forever responsible for blowing a call that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

This has not been one of his better performances.

“He’s had a rough day behind the plate,” Bob Brenly said on the TBS broadcast, echoing what every Nats fan has been saying all game. “He’s missed a lot of border-line pitches.”

Then again, who needs a standard strike zone when you’re getting everyone swinging?

Chad Tracy strikes out in the eighth

With Kurt Suzuki on first after being drawing a walk against reliever Mitchell Boggs with two outs, Chad Tracy struck out. He fouled off two pitches before missing an inside 90 mph slider. The Nationals offense has put no one in scoring position. And if it weren’t for the home run by Adam LaRoche, the Nationals would be in serious trouble.

Onto the ninth we go, tied at 1-1, and Drew Storen in to pitch.

Frank Howard’s first pitch


By Patrick McDermott – Getty.

By popular demand, here are a couple images of Frank Howard throwing out the first pitch to Ryan Zimmerman before Thursday’s game. These are by Patrick McDermott of Getty.

Kyle Lohse out after seven innings


(Nick Wass / AP)

Mitchell Boggs came on in the eighth inning to relieve Lohse. The right-hander was brilliant, needing only 87 pitches to throw seven innings of one-run ball. He gave up only two hits, walked one and struck out five. The Nationals helped him by swinging at many first pitches, but he was still sharp.

Tyler Clippard strikes out three in the eighth


(Alex Brandon / AP)

Nationals Manager Davey Johnson turned to Clippard in the eighth. He struck out three batters, with a walk by Allen Craig sandwiched in there. Clippard sat down Yadier Molina with a 94 mph fastball and walked off the mound pumping his arms furiously and yelling. The crowd ate it all up, cheering and standing. 

The Nationals bullpen struck out 12 batters in the first three games. Today, they’ve struck out six. Still tied at 1-1.

Should the Nats have pulled Zimmermann?


The real Jordan Zimmermann stood up… and then sat back down. (Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

Jordan Zimmermann was brilliant in the 7th, striking out the side and looking like a completely different pitcher than the one the Cardinals battered in St. Louis.

But Davey Johnson gave him the hook after only one inning and brought in Tyler Clippard.

If further proof was necessary, it’s clear that Johnson still trusts his former closer, despite his second-half struggles.

“Davey Johnson says he has to keep putting (Clippard) back out there,” TBS reporter David Aldridge said. “He says we wouldn’t be where we are without him.”

Michael Morse grounds into double play in seventh, tied 1-1

With Adam LaRoche on first base following a one-out walk, Michael Morse grounded into a double play to David Freese. Lohse again was efficient: 10 pitches, three outs. Nationals hitters are doing little to make him work more. Score tied 1-1.

The controversial double-play call at second

There was yet another bit of mild umpiring controversy in the top of the sixth on Thursday, when Ryan Zimmerman’s double-play turning throw to second pulled Danny Espinosa slightly off the bag. Espinosa still turned the double-play, and the runner was out at first, but the second-base umpire did not give Espinosa the traditional “neighborhood” call and ruled the runner safe at second.

As seen above, Espinosa’s foot was indeed off the bag when he caught the ball, although that is often ruled an out during the regular season.

Davey Johnson and the Nats Park crowd all protested loudly, to no avail. But the Nats got out of the inning without any further damage.


(Shawn Thew / EPA)

Is the rest of baseball rooting against the Nats?

It’s easy to dislike the new kid on the block, especially when the pip-squeak grows up to be a bully and wins an MLB-best 98 wins.


(Alex Brandon / AP)

But that kid goes from annoying to utterly insufferable when he thumbs his nose at convention and shuts down one of the best pitchers in the game before the playoffs. At least  that’s how some (unnamed) MLB GMs feel.

As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale wrote last night:

The Nationals might have been the most compelling story this summer, but suddenly they’ve become the most hated team in the game.

After being embarrassed 8-0 by the St. Louis Cardinals and falling behind 2-1 in their National League Division Series, there was no compassion or a scintilla of empathy for them.

Instead, we kept hearing the same refrain:

They got what they deserve.

“If we don’t win the World Series, I don’t care who does,” one general manager told USA TODAY Sports, “as long as it’s not those guys.

“They don’t deserve to win it. Not after what they did.”

Said a National League GM: “I hope they go down in flames. I hope it takes another 79 years before they get back to the playoffs. That’s how strongly I feel about it.”

When Nats GM and proud Chicagoan Mike Rizzo caught wind of the story, he called the unnamed aspect of the remarks “chicken (bleep)” and told CBS Sports baseball writer Jon Heyman, “That’s not how we do things in my neighborhood.”

What’s your take?

Read the full story here.

Jordan Zimmermann throwing heat in the seventh

In his first career major league relief appearance, Zimmermann came and used jet fuel. He struck out Pete Kozma with a 97 mph fastball. He followed up with a 91 mph slider, an unhittable pitch, to Kyle Lohse. Jon Jay stared at a 97 mph fastball on the outside corner of the plate. The crowd cheered louder with each strikeout. The score is still tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh.

Teddy wins again

If you care about these things — and someone somewhere out there does, based on Web traffic — Teddy won yet again on Thursday. That makes it three straight for the 26th President. See more images here.

Whatever happens, Detwiler did his job


Now he can only sit and watch. (Alex Brandon / AP)

Ross Detwiler was removed for a pinch hitter to lead off the bottom of the sixth. But there is no Nats fan who, if you gave him/her the chance to take six-innings of one-run ball from Detwiler this morning, wouldn’t have taken it and run.

Detwiler threw a season-high 104 pitches. He had only touched 100 once — a 4-1/3-inning effort at Atlanta in May that essentially cost him his spot in the rotation. He was replaced by Chien Ming-Wang.

But the biggest part of this wasn’t the number of pitches. One question about Detwiler has been how he deals with adversity. In the third, when Ian Desmond was charged with an error on a tough roller off the bat of Jon Jay, Detwiler could have sulked and come unraveled.

He did not. He allowed Carlos Beltran’s sacrifice fly, but then struck out Matt Holliday — even after Holliday took a 2-2 pitch that looked very much like a strike.

In the sixth, Detwiler could have come apart after Ryan Zimmerman’s throw to second for what would have been an inning-ending double play drew Danny Espinosa off the bag. Instead, after an inentional walk — and after not getting the call on an 0-2 pitch that looked to be a strike — he got Daniel Descalso to ground out.

The line: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB (1 1BB), 2 K, 104 pitches, 59 strikes.

Now, Jordan Zimmermann’s first relief appearance.

Jordan Zimmermann makes first relief appearance

For the first time in his major league career, Zimmermann jogged out of the bullpen and to the mound for a relief appearance. Ross Detwiler did a stellar job in the most pressure-filled situation of his life, allowing only one run, unearned though. 

Zimmermann’s last relief appearance was in college. Today was his scheduled throw day. He started Monday, throwing only 63 pitches.

Ross Detwiler again escapes, tied 1-1 in sixth


(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

Detwiler allowed a one-out single to Allen Craig. He got Yadier Molina to hit a double play ball to Ryan Zimmerman. His throw to second baseman Danny Espinosa pulled him off the bag, but he had time to collect the throw and set his feet with Craig and Molina both slow runners. 

He intentionally walked David Freese to face Daniel Descalso. Detwiler got him to ground out to second and worked out of a jam again. Steve Lombardozzi pinch hit for him in the bottom of the sixth, ending his outing.

It was a gutsy performance by the lefty in his first-ever postseason start, the biggest game of his life. He threw 104 pitches, only 59 for strikes, allowing only one run, unearned, on three hits. 

Nationals hitters letting Kyle Lohse off easy

It took Lohse only four pitches to sit down Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Kurt Suzuki in order. If the Nationals lose this one, it’ll likely be on the offense which has mustered little against Lohse and not even working him deep into counts. Score still tied at 1-1 in the sixth.

Rick Eckstein says Nats have had good at-bats

The Nats bats remained silent through five innings, but hitting coach Rick Eckstein said he was ok with his club’s approach.

“Our at-bats have been fine,” Eckstein said during a fifth-inning interview with TBS’s broadcast crew. “We’ve lined out a couple times hard. Kyle Lohse is doing a great job mixing and changing speeds, using both sides of the plate. But we have a challenge in front of us, and we’re up for it.”

Then  Bob Brenly asked how Eckstein could get his players to trust themselves in this pressure.

“You just said it, it’s what we’ve done all year,” Eckstein said. “You’ve got to rely on what you’ve done all year and trust it. And when you get in the box in this type of environment, you’ve got to learn to control the moment. All the hype and everything that’s going on needs to be pushed away, and you need to really concentrate on winning that moment.”

Ross Detwiler escapes again


(Shawn Thew / EPA)

Detwiler allows another leadoff runner, walking Pete Kozma, but yet again escapes unscathed. Adam LaRoche scooped up the sacrifice bunt from pticher Kyle Lohse and nabbed the lead runner at second base. Then, Detwiler struck out Jon Jay with a 92 mph sinker and got Carlos Beltran to roll over a sinker to Ryan Zimmerman for a force out at second base.

The score remains tied, 1-1, in the fifth.

Even the Lerners had to buy their playoff tickets

Where is Bryce Harper?


(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Before this series, an easy bet might have been that Bryce Harper would use the playoffs as a stage to introduce himself to the nation. From Aug. 29 — as Thomas Boswell has pointed out — through the day they clinched the N.L. East title, the 19-year-old led all N.L. hitters in OPS. He had put a slump behind him and was pulverizing pitchers.

But after fouling out to third in the bottom of the fourth, Harper is 0 for 2 today and an astonishing 1 for 17 in the postseason. Davey Johnson thought many of the problems in the first two games were because of the bad light in St. Louis, light with which Harper didn’t know how to deal.

But he has looked the same — overanxious, less disciplined — in his at-bats at Nationals Park. And he is taking his struggles — or at least showing his inexperience — to the field. In the top of the third, with one out and runners on first and third for the Cardinals, Carlos Beltran lofted a ball that Harper tracked down in right-center. He had no shot to throw out Pete Kozma, tagging at third and ready to score.

Yet Harper unleashed a throw that sailed over the cut-off man. It allowed Jon Jay to move from first to second — unnecessarily. Ross Detwiler got out of the inning and got Harper off the hook by striking out Matt Holliday. But the disgust/disappointment with Harper was apparent in the body language of a couple teammates.

He’s probably got three more at-bats to produce.

Nationals giving Kyle Lohse easy outs

He needed only 15 pitches against four Nationals in the fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman singled, but Bryce Harper fouled out on four pitches and Adam LaRoche on two. Michael Morse was fed five pitches away and he missed on all of them, striking out.

Ross Detwiler fights through the fourth, still tied 1-1


(Nick Wass / AP)

Ross Detwiler allowed a leadoff single to Allen Craig but, again, worked out of the potentially tough situation by getting a lineout from Yadier Molina, who the Nationals have limited, a popup from David Freese and a groundout by Daniel Descalso. 

It has been a gutsy performance from the lefty so far, allowing only two hits and one run, unearned. He needs his offense tp help now.

Kyle Lohse gets better as the game goes on

One reason it’s important for the Nats to get to Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse soon is because where other pitchers tire, Lohse seems to excel.

Through three innings, Lohse has retired nine of the 10 Nationals he’s faced. The only hit was Adam LaRoche’s second-inning homer.

But consider the following, courtesy of baseball-reference.com:

Lohse’s opposing OPS on pitches 1-25: .727.

Lohse’s opposing OPS on pitches 26-50: .658.

Lohse’s opposing OPS on pitches 51-75: .509.

Lohse’s opposing OPS on pitches 76-100: .685.

Lohse’s opposing OPS on pitches over 100: .397.

Through three innings, he’s thrown 48 pitches. Might be an indication he has his good stuff today.

Carlos Beltran: Mr. October II?


Carlos Beltran trotted around the bases twice on Monday. (Jeff Roberson / AP)

Carlos Beltran killed the Nats with a pair of clutch home runs in Game 2 in St. Louis. His career playoff numbers coming into today are staggering: .367 average, .483 OBP, .1.300 OPS, 13 home runs, 22 RBIs in 120 plate appearances.

Just how good is Beltran in October?

Kyle Lohse with another 1-2-3 inning

The right-hander’s slider and sinker are sharp today, and he got Kurt Suzuki to roll over a sinker for a groundout, struck out Ross Detwiler and Jayson Werth lined a slider to short to end the inning. Lohse has thrown 48 pitches through three innings.

Kurt Suzuki shaken up by broken bat

The Nats’ bad luck with strange catcher injuries continued on Thursday, when Jon Jay’s bat shattered and a shard collided with Kurt Suzuki’s leg and then his arm. Trainers came out to check on Suzuki, who was briefly writhing in pain behind the plate.

But Suzuki stayed in the game, and led off the next half-inning, grounding out to second.

Ross Detwiler escapes a jam, score tied 1-1

Ross Detwiler overcame a walk, an error by Ian Desmond and a bad throw by Bryce Harper, allowing only one run in the third inning.

Desmond’s bobble of a grounder allowed Jon Jay to reach with one out. Carlos Beltran then drove in Kozma from third with a flyout to center. Harper threw home instead of hitting the cutoff man, allowing Jay to get to second base. He battled Matt Holliday for six pitches, getting him looking on a high fastball. Tied 1-1.

Nats fans react to LaRoche homer

It took 11 innings, but the Nationals have finally scored their first NLDS run at Nats Park courtesy of Adam LaRoche’s blast to center field. It was the first postseason run scored in D.C. since Oct. 7, 1933.

That’s a long wait. People are excited.

Adam LaRoche homers, Nats lead 1-0


(Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

For the first time, Nationals fans erupt at home because of a play on the field. Adam LaRoche battled Kyle Lohse for nine pitches, fouling off three straight pitches, before Lohse threw him a low sinker. LaRoche got under it and smashed it to deep center field. His second home run of the series gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

The stadium came to life, fireworks shot off and fans shouted “Let’s go Nats!” after he rounded the bases. 

Ross Detwiler looks sharp

For the first time all series, a Nationals starter didn’t allow a run in the first two innings and they aren’t staring down an early deficit. Ross Detwiler gave up a single to David Freese with two outs but battled Daniel Descalso for an inning-ending groundout to second base. Descalso worked him for 10 pitches, fouling off four pitches, but Detwiler tied him up with a sinker.

Why have the Nationals pitchers been struggling in this series? Here are a few thoughts.

Metro now reports more than 9,200 people exiting at Navy Yard station


(John McDonnell / The Washington Post)

Update: Metro has released updated ridership numbers. The transit agency now says that 3,610 riders exited at Navy Yard between 2 and 3 p.m. (Earlier, theyreported 3,224 riders exiting during that hour.) 

This means that 9,237 people exited that station in the two hours before the Nationals game began.

(Original post)

Metro reports that preliminary numbers show that 5,627 riders exited the Navy Yard station between 3 and 4 p.m. The transit agency also reported 3,224 riders exiting the station between 2 and 3 p.m.

So the early numbers show that 8,851 riders used the stop during the two hours before the game.

- Mark Berman

(Check in with Dr. Gridlock for updates during and after the game.)

Michael Morse lobbied for Ian Desmond

During the bottom of the first, TBS analyst Bob Brenly reported that Michael Morse had lobbied Davey Johnson to move Ian Desmond up in the order for Game 4.

“It was funny, talking to Davey Johnson before the game today, he said that Michael Morse came into his office and asked have you thought about moving Desmond up in the lineup?” Brenly reported. “And Davey, kind of joking with Michael Morse, said you just want to hit in that six spot, because that’s the hot spot in the lineup right now.”

Johnson did not change his typical lineup.

Kyle Lohse also with a 1-2-3 inning


(Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

The Cardinals top starter, who pitched the one-game wild card game for them, sat down the Nationals in order. He got Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper both to pop up to infielders and then got Ryan Zimmerman looking with a tailing fastball. 

Why that zero from Detwiler could be important


(Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

Remember the last time the Nationals had a lead in this series? That was at the end of Game 1, one they had for all of about 40 minutes, after Tyler Moore’s two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth. Kurt Suzuki provided them a 1-0 lead earlier in that game, but they gave that back.

The point: The Nationals have trailed, and in some cases trailed badly, almost all series.

“How ’bout we hang a couple zeroes up to start?” one Nationals official said before the game.

The sense before the game: The Nats feel great if Ross Detwiler pitches well. They think they’ll score some runs. They feel terrific about having Gio Gonzalez in a Game 5. But without a solid outing from Detwiler, there’s little chance.

In getting Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday in order and easily — and on 11 pitches — he’s made the first step.

Ross Detwiler with an encouraging 1-2-3 start

The left-hander is pitching in his first-ever playoff game. And, in addition, is doing so in the most dire of situations. The Nationals will need him to pitch the game of his life to stave off elimination.

Detilwer’s lively and sharp fastball was apparent early. He got Jon Jay to groundout to shortstop Ian Desmond and then jammed Carlos Beltran, getting him to pop up to Desmond. He then got Matt Hollida to groundout to end the inning.

He snagged the ground ball and tossed it first base for the third out. He walked off the mound and into the dugout, shoulders up and staring straight ahead.

Today’s pitching matchup


This is your time. (Bill Boyce / AP)

Here’s your side-by-side look at today’s starters, courtesy of Fangraphs.com and Baseball-reference.com.

——————————— Detwiler ——– Lohse

Team W-L ——————- 16-11 ———– 21-12

ERA ————————— 3.40 ————- 2.86

Innings ———————- 164 1/3 ———– 211

Hits ————————— 149 ————— 192

HR —————————- 15 —————– 19

Walks ———————— 52 —————– 38

K —————————– 105 —————- 143

OPP Avg. —————— .241 ————— .239

vs. RH ———————- .263 ————— .239

vs. LH ———————- .170 —————- .253

1st pitch strike pct. —— 60% —————- 69%

Swing & miss pct. ——- 13% ————— 12%

Last 3 games

W-L ————————- 1-2 —————— 2-0

Innings ——————— 13 1/3 ————– 19

ERA ———————– 6.08 —————- 3.32

Opp avg. —————- .231 —————– .230

Davey says it’s too early to go home; Gio hopes for hopes for Game 5 start

As the Nationals play for the season, Manager Davey Johnson is not changing his approach. “I talked to a few of the boys,” Johnson said before today’s game. “Told them that it’s too early in October to be thinking about going home and starting your winter.”

Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez is preparing for a possible Game 5 as he normally would. “I don’t know if I’m going to have one [more start] or not, but that’s exactly what I was talking about, we have to try to get to that Game 5,” he said, the day before his potential start. “We have to try to give every single one of these guys a chance to go out there and pitch.”

 

The Nats’ pre-game tweets

MASN’s pre-game show highlighted a few tweets from various Nationals. If you missed ‘em, here you go.

As for Harper’s choice of pre-game music, Johnny Holliday approved.

“A little Flo Rida for me, a little Pitbull,” Holliday said. “Ray, you get a little Justin Bieber going?”

Nope. Ray Knight said he goes with Ella Fitzgerald.

 

Who needs a pep talk?

Davey Johnson does not believe in pep rallies.

“I talked to a few boys,” Johnson said before today’s game. “Told them that it’s too early in October to be thinking about going home and starting your winter.”

But after watching Wednesday’s dismal display, Nats fans could use an inspirational speech right about now. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

In the (sort of) words of the great Neville Flynn: “We’ve had it with these (monkey-fighting) Cardinals in these (Monday-to-Friday) playoffs!!!!”

Ryan Zimmerman says the floodgates could open

During a pre-game appearance on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, Ryan Zimmerman was asked how the team can break out of its offensive doldrums. (Audio here.)

“Just get some early runs,” Zimmerman said. “I think we’ve had chances all series to kind of get some runs and just haven’t got that big hit. I think once we get that big hit, it’ll kind of open the floodgates, I guess you could say, and let everyone maybe relax. We’ve had a bunch of people on base, we’ve had our chances, we just haven’t been able to push them across the plate.”

More Zimmerman:

On the Sun Monster: “It’s not the best, but both teams have to deal with it. This round of playoffs, there’s so many games that a lot of teams have to deal with it. So you’ve just got to kind of put it in your head that both teams have to deal with it, it’s not just us.”

On the crowds: “It’s great….I think the fans have been waiting for this kind of baseball team. They love baseball here, and it’s hard to root for a team that loses 100 games every year. They kind of stuck with us through those bad times, and now they’re getting rewarded for sticking with us. And it looks like we’re going to be good for a long time.”

Where Ian Desmond likes pitches

Where does Ian Desmond like his pitches? According to this TBS graphic that MASN showed during its pre-game show, he likes them everywhere.

“He’s hitting the ball hard everywhere, every location on the field,” Ray Knight said on the program.

Ken Rosenthal calls out The Post

Fox Sports’s Ken Rosenthal appeared on 106.7 The Fan’s pre-game show with Danny Rouhier and Holden Kushner on Thursday, and he had some more strong words about the Strasburg Shutdown.

Rosenthal said some people in baseball sense arrogance from a Nats team that hasn’t won anything, and think that “[Mike] Rizzo shouldn’t be talking the way he does.” He said the quote he got from a Nats player saying the team would have won both games in St. Louis with Strasburg was unsolicited. And he specifically called out The Washington Post for not pushing back against the decision to shut down the team’s ace.

“I think people (locally) have…run from this issue,” Rosenthal said.

Davey Johnson in elimination games

Courtesy of this morning’s Washington Post sports section (print edition).

Johnson is 4-4 all-time in playoff elimination games. His teams’ results:

W, Mets 6, Red Sox 5 (10): 1986 World Series, Game 6

W, Mets 8, Red Sox 5: 1986 World Series, Game 7

W, Mets 5, Dodgers 1: 1988 NLCS, Game 6

L, Dodgers 6, Mets 0: 1988 NLCS, Game 7

L, Braves 6, Reds 0: 1995 NLCS, Game 4

L, Yankees 6, Orioles 4: 1996 ALCS, Game 5

W, Orioles 4, Indians 2: 1997 ALCS Game 5

L, Indians 1, Orioles 0: 1997 ALCS, Game 6

Why does Danny Espinosa keep bunting?

Danny Espinosa, in 1,270 major league at-bats, has produced 44 home runs. With his speed, however, he has resorted to another skill during the National League Division Series: his ability to drop a bunt down the line and reach base.


(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

In three straight playoff games, and in a mini-slump attributed to over-aggressiveness, the Nationals power-hitting second baseman has attempted a bunt. It’s not anything called for from the bench, but with only one hit in nine at-bats, Espinoa is trying to spark something.

“He’s trying to get on base, trying to make something happen,” Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said. “That always has been a weapon in his arsenal. He’s always, coming up the minor leagues, been a good bunter, bunting for a base hit. He had one the other day if the umpire got it right.”

Read the full post on Nationals Journal here.

Tips for getting to the game

The Post’s Mark Berman has scouted the streets, the railways and the sidewalks to provide you with the best – and fastest – ways to get to the ballpark.

METRO

For Metro riders, expect pre-game crowding at L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place. The Green Line will be typically packed heading to Navy Yard. Metro will once again put extra Green Line trains into service between the Mount Vernon Square and Anacostia stations. These trains will have eight cars as well as operators at both ends so they can quickly reverse direction. 

Still, even with extra trains, riders will encounter crowding. Remember to spread out and not just bunch around the car doors near an escalator. And if a train appears to be overflowing when it arrives, let it leave and wait for the next one. 

To avoid the big crowds on the Green Line, the transfer stations and the Navy Yard stop, consider riding to Capitol South or Eastern Market and walking.

DRIVING

Drivers heading to Wednesday’s game reported heavy delays on the usual suspects. Watch for congestion on M and South Capitol streets as will the 11th Street, 14th Street and Frederick Douglass bridges.

BIKING

Capital Bikeshare members can once again drop bikes off at a corral at First and N streets SE. There were 102 bikes in the corral when Wednesday’s game began. 

Nationals Park also has a free bike valet in Garage C (also at First and N streets SE; enter on N Street) that can hold 100 bikes, and there are other bike racks surrounding the ballpark, which can hold up to 250 bikes.

BUSES

Metrobus routes 74, P1, P2, V7, V8 and V9 serve Nationals Park. Circulator buses travel between the Navy Yard station, Eastern Market station and Union Station. The stop nearest the stadium is on the New Jersey Avenue side of the Navy Yard station.

Stay tuned to Dr. Gridlock for updates before, during and after the game.

Game 4 lineups

We’re exactly one hour from Ross Detwiler’s first pitch. Here are your lineups.

Nationals

1. Jayson Werth, RF

2. Bryce Harper, CF

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Michael Morse, LF

6. Ian Desmond, SS

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Kurt Suzuki, C

9. Ross Detwiler, SP

Cardinals 

1. Jon Jay, CF

2. Carlos Beltran, RF

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Allen Craig, 1B

5. Yadier Molina, C

6. David Freese, 3B

7. Daniel Descalso, 2B

8. Pete Kozma, SS

9. Kyle Lohse, SP

Jordan Zimmermann will be available out of the bullpen

 


(Jeff Roberson / AP)

Jordan Zimmermann will be the first pitcher out of the bullpen if starter Ross Detwiler struggles against the Cardinals, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said. Zimmermann started Game 2 on Monday in St. Louis and Thursday would be like he regularly scheduled in-between-starts throw day.

The Nationals will need a strong performance from Detwiler, who is making his first-ever postseason start with his team facing elimination. 

Should he falter, Zimmermann is the first reliever out of the bullpen. He threw only 63 pitches on Monday, allowing five runs on seven hits over three innings. St. Louis has been a thorn in his side throughout his career. He has a career-worst 9.12 ERA over 25 2/3 regular season innings. Including the postseason, it is a 10.87 ERA.

Read the full post on Nats Journal here.

Welcome to the Game 4 discussion

The Post’s staff will update you here on everything from traffic issues to pitching changes. The comment thread is right below this for you to discuss anything about today that you’d like. And you can also follow Game 4 through the eyes of our reporters (Dan Steinberg, Barry Svrluga, James Wagner, Matt Brooks and Sarah Kogod along with transportation updates from Dr. Gridlock.) For complete traffic and transportation updates, visit the Dr. Gridlock live blog. Once the game starts, you’ll also be able to stay on top of each play through the stats above. Selecting the box score tab on the left will get you the live box, and by selecting the summary tab on the left you can see the games’ full play-by-play and scoring summary.

Each time a reporter files an update, the list just below the “NL Division Series Game 4: Nationals at Cardinals” headline will flash yellow and the latest headline will appear at the top of the list. Also, a small update box will appear in the right corner of your screen. You can read that new entry by selecting the headline for the new entry in either place. 
(Note: In some older browsers you might not get the yellow flash, so you might want to refresh here and there to see if anything new has been posted.)

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James Wagner · October 11, 2012

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