Nationals Today: Recap of Last Night, Ankiel’s Return and What It Means And More Nats Town News

The Nats suffered an ugly loss 7-6 loss last night after holding an early five run lead against the Milwaukee Brewers. Essentially is how the breakdown happened:

  • Jon Lucroy home run in the fourth off Livan Hernadnez.
  • Rickie Weeks two run home run in the seventh off of Tyler Clippard.
  • After Henry Rodriguez gave up a single and a walk in the eighth, he gave up a bloop hit down the line to Lucroy. The throw by Jayson Werth beat Brandon Boggs to the plate, but Wilson Ramos dropped the ball before taking a huge hit from the Brewers’ pinch hitter. Milwaukee takes the 8-7 lead.

Nats outfielder Rick Ankiel returned to the lineup yesterday after missing time due to a wrist injury. He didn’t start but he did get two at bats after pinch-hitting for Brian Bixler, he went 0-2 on the night.

With Ankiel hitting just .217 it will be interesting to see how things pan out in terms of roster moves. The Nationals can’t afford to carry five outfielders and a pinch hitter, but at the same time Roger Bernadina has proved he can produce as well as the other Washington outfielders. People in the know assure Matt Stairs isn’t going anywhere either. 

The bittersweet saving grace may be that with Adam LaRoche potentially on the DL for a long while, Mike Morse can take over at first base everyday, which would mean the outfield rotation would only be between Bernadina, Laynce Nix, Jayson Werth, and Ankiel.

Morse went 3-5 yesterday with a grand slam.

According to Beyond the Box Score, Tyler Clippard (as of yesterday) is third in the major league in “whiff rate” with a rating of .338. No other Nationals made the top lists. Whiff rate is important because when a batter swings and misses it is the easiest true outcome for a pitcher to achieve.

That is to say, a called strike relies on the umpires judgment. A weakly hit ball relies on your fielders. A whiff leaves nothing to chance.

There will be a lot of closers available this offseason. While the Nats aren’t in the market, they could sure up their bullpen with one of these guys. Matt Capps may be a smart choice, if he doesn’t mind serving as a set up man.

Adam Kilgore looks at why Tom Gorzelanny is giving up so many home runs. He had started out as one of the Nationals best starters, but has slipped as of late. The K/9 rate is still solid, but balls are flying off the bat when it connects.

Interesting news in the Brian Stow case. First, the family is suing the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s a strange situation here where it feels like the organization has done a great deal for the family since the incident, which makes you feel like this is uncalled for. At the same time, this whole mess is their fault in many ways, and a brutally beaten father will have trouble earning a living for his family.

Second, Barry Bonds said he would pay for the college of Stow’s children. Wow, classy move by a guy that is perhaps the most hated in baseball over the past 30 years.