After dropping three straight to the Philadelphia Phillies to start their nine-game, three-city road trip, the Washington Nationals took two of three from the Seattle Mariners. Now they play the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game set in Dodger Stadium.
Tanner Roark gave up six home runs in 62 ⅓ IP over his first ten starts of the 2014 campaign between April 3rd and May 26th, then allowed just three over 11 starts and 72 ⅓ IP between June 1st and July 30th.
In six starts and 38 ⅓ IP in August, after he allowed a big three-run home run by Mariners' left fielder Dustin Ackley in Sunday's loss to Seattle, the 27-year-old right-hander gave up five home runs.
"'Just one bad pitch. That’s all I can say.'" -QOTD: Tanner Roark on HR pitch to Dustin Ackley to the WaPost's Adam Kilgore
The blast by Ackley really hurt. It followed back-to-back one-out singles by Brad Miller and Austin Jackson and lifted the Mariners from a 3-1 deficit to a 4-3 lead with one swing in what ended up a 5-3 series-salvaging win in Safeco Field.
It was Ackley's second home run in two games after he took Stephen Strasburg deep on Saturday.
"He just missed location on Ackley," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said in discussing Roark's start after the loss.
"Supposed to go down and away, it was middle in and he hit a homer. That's the only really bad pitch he made."
Roark ended up giving up 11 hits and four earned runs, throwing 92 pitches over 6 ⅓ IP in his 27th start.
"Today I think he was sharper than last time out," Williams said, "but again, it's a question of one pitch sometimes. He just missed location."
The Nationals hit home runs all over Safeco Field this weekend, connecting for ten total in the three-game set, three of them in the series finale, and two of the three by Bryce Harper, but they couldn't produce the runs they needed to get back in the game after Seattle took the lead on Ackley's blast.
The win was the Mariners' first in 12 games between the two teams since 2005.
Now the Nats head to LA to start a three-game set with the NL West-leading Dodgers. 8:10PM EDT start tonight. Until then, links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:
• THE BIG STORY!!!:
• "You can munch probabilities for breakfast, digest stats for lunch and hug that postseason probability graph at MLB.com that says Washington has a 97.4 percent chance to win its division..." - "The Nationals and Orioles lead by a lot on Labor Day. We’re in for a scare and a treat" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post
• NATS BEAT:
• "If there is any good news that comes out of this game, it's that Harper's left hand is getting stronger." - "Washington Nationals at Seattle Mariners - August 31, 2014" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap
• "'It’s no secret: I want to win another championship. I want another ring. Those were my intentions when I came here.'" - "Jayson Werth: ‘I want another ring’" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post
• "Werth went so far as to say the final month is the most important of his career." - "Werth: Sept. most important month of career" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News
• "In his 13 games played since the shot, Werth is hitting .372 with three RBIs and an OPS north of 1.000, which can be attributed both to him feeling healthy and an adjustment he's made at the plate." - "Nationals Pastime: Jayson Werth: 'I want to win another championship. I want another ring'" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Roark hasn’t been his usual sharp self on several occasions recently, but he has been able to battle his way through those starts and still emerge with quality results." - "Instant analysis: Mariners 5, Nats 3" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Right-hander Stephen Strasburg put together a start Friday night that reminded the Nationals why they made him their No. 1 overall selection in 2009." - "Strasburg looks the part in win over Seattle" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "Strasburg increased his league-leading strikeout total to 210, which eclipsed Gio Gonzalez’s 207 in 2012 as the most by a Nationals pitcher since baseball returned to Washington." - "Stephen Strasburg delivers seven-plus sharp innings as Nationals hold off Mariners, 3-1" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post
• "Young is having a productive season for Seattle, going 12-6 with a 3.17 ERA. He is scheduled to pitch on Monday against the Athletics." - "After leaving Nats, Young hits stride in Seattle" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News
• "Manager Matt Williams isn't surprised. With hand injuries, it usually takes some time for a hitter to regain his timing and strength." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams and Harper on slugger's resurgence, plus more clubhouse chatter" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
• "The Nationals could not overcome the go-ahead, three-run homer Dustin Ackley drilled off right-hander Tanner Roark in the fifth inning." - "Nationals vs. Mariners: Washington hits three more homers but falls in series finale, 5-3" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post
• "It was a no-doubter off the bat; the only question was how far it was going to carry. It glanced off a Plexiglass window of the cafe, bouncing back to the lower deck." - "Nationals Pastime: Harper goes yard for second time (Nats fall 5-3)" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
• Your Daily Message from The Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):
• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:
• "Veteran right-hander Dan Haren will not make his scheduled start on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals." - "Mattingly adjusts Dodgers rotation for stretch run" - Bill Plunkett, LosAngelesRegister.com
• "International League MVP Steven Souza Jr. said his unofficial goodbye to Syracuse on Sunday night." - "Steven Souza Jr. already on his way out of Syracuse; who else is about to leave the Chiefs?" - Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com
• "The veteran right-hander has beaten the Nationals twice without allowing an earned run and will face them again Monday night at Dodger Stadium." - "MLB Preview - Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers" - CBSSports.com
• "The Dustin Ackley hit parade continued on Sunday, as the Mariners avoided a three-game sweep with a 5-3 win over the Washington Nationals at Safeco Field." - "Washington Nationals at Seattle Mariners - August 31, 2014" - Adam Lewis, MLB.com SEA Recap
• "Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will begin the series for the Nats in Los Angeles. He has not notched a win since July 5, going 0-5 with a 4.38 ERA in his last nine starts." - "Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers - September 1, 2014" - Aaron Leibowitz, MLB.com Preview
• NATS MINORS:
• Class-A Auburn: "The Nationals prospect had just slugged his second homer of the game and his season of hard work was paying off." - "Washington Nationals prospect Diomedes Eusebio homers twice, drives in six runs for Auburn Doubledays" - Kelsie Heneghan, MiLB.com News
• Class-A Auburn: "[Diomedes] Eusebio rocketed two home runs and finished with 6 RBI, Jeff Gardner and Bryan Mejia added bombs of their own, and the Doubledays outslugged the Mahoning Valley Scrappers..." - "Eusebio, Doubledays have the power in Ohio" - Evan Weston, Auburn Doubledays News
• Low-A Hagerstown: "The Hagerstown Suns (43-26, 87-52) broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on Sunday evening to pull away from the Lakewood BlueClaws (25-42, 52-84) for a 5-2 win." - "Suns clinch 2nd half division title with 5-2 win" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News
• High-A Potomac: P-Nats 5 - Keys 4 - Dakota Bacus (W, 7-6), 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K - Potomac Nationals Scoreboard
• Double-A Harrisburg: "The Harrisburg Senators' offense struggled against Portland once again on Sunday as the Sea Dogs pocketed a 6-2 victory at Hadlock Field." - "Offense Struggles for Senators on Sunday" - Perry Mattern, Harrisburg Senators News
• Triple-A Syracuse: "Destin Hood led the bottom of the ninth inning off with a walk-off home run over the left-field fence to give the Chiefs the win." - "Destin Hood hits a walk-off homer as the Syracuse Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bisons, 4-3, on Sunday" - Syracuse Chiefs News
• "General Manager Mike Rizzo said the Class AAA playoffs would not take precedence over helping the Nationals’ roster in a playoff race." - "Class AAA Syracuse wins International League North Division" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post
• "The Chiefs hovered at or near the top of the standings for most of the summer. Three players -- catcher Jhonatan Solano, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and starting pitcher Taylor Hill -- were elected to the IL All-Star Team." - "After a 16-year drought, the Syracuse Chiefs reward fans with a trip to the playoffs (Editorial)" - syracuse.com
• "Chiefs' General Manager on the Playoffs and more" - CNYcentral.com
• "The Washington Nationals on Sunday ended the season of A.J. Cole because they decided he'd thrown enough this season." - "Washington Nationals shut down top Syracuse Chiefs pitching prospect A.J. Cole for season" - Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com
• "Harper’s Rerun" - The Nationals Review
• "On Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field, the Washington Nationals’ attempt to sweep the Seattle Mariners fell just short, as the Nats fell 5-3 despite a big day from young outfielder Bryce Harper." - "Washington Nationals Game 135 Review: Hapers Homers Twice, Nats Still Lose" - Brian Skinnell, Distric Sports Page
• "The Nationals came up short in Seattle on Sunday, but despite the 5-3 loss to the Mariners, Washington takes the series two games to one." - "Nats Fall In Seattle, Still Win Series" - Tom Blaz, DC Pro Sports Report
• NL EAST UPDATES:
• Mets: "With the rosters expanding Monday, the Mets were able to add lefty reliever Dario Alvarez from Double-A Binghamton after Sunday’s game." - "NY Mets pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Edgin face elbow issues" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News
• Marlins: "[Henderson] Alvarez, who is enjoying a career-best season thus far, has walked only 1.7 batters per nine innings in 2014, ranking fifth in the National League." - "New York Mets at Miami Marlins - September 1, 2014" - Joe Morgan, MLB.com Preview
• Phillies: "The Phillies made one more trade before Sunday's midnight waiver Trade Deadline, shipping outfielder John Mayberry Jr. to the Blue Jays in exchange for Double-A third baseman Gustavo Pierre." - "Phillies trade John Mayberry Jr. to Blue Jays" - Todd Zolecki, phillies.com: News
• Braves: "Highly regarded catching prospect Christian Bethancourt will headline the list of Minor League players that will attempt to help the Braves gain a postseason berth in September." - "Braves' No. 3 prospect Chrstian Bethancourt among September callups" - braves.com: News
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