Found May 02, 2012 on
Fox Sports Arizona:
While the Washington Nationals boast baseball's best team ERA, the pitcher that leads the majors in that category hails from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Joe Saunders looks to continue his impressive start and help the Diamondbacks win a fourth straight game Wednesday night against the slumping Nationals.
After recording a 5.93 April ERA a year ago, Saunders (2-1, 0.90 ERA) has been lights out through the first month of this season for Arizona (13-11). The left-hander is limiting opponents to a .186 batting average, has 0.87 WHIP and has gone at least seven innings in each of his four starts.
He is coming off one of the best outings of his career, tossing a three-hitter in Friday's 5-0 win in Miami.
"He's been great, very consistent," Kirk Gibson said. "He's taken the ball every fifth day and is really dominant with his stuff."
Saunders has been at his best in his two outings away from Arizona, having yet to allow a run while yielding seven hits and four walks over 16 innings. He is 9-3 with a 2.30 ERA over his last 14 road starts, but one of his worst outings in this stretch came at Nationals Park.
In the nation's capital on Aug. 22, Saunders gave up four runs in six innings of a 4-1 loss. He has a 6.00 ERA in losing his two career starts at Washington.
The Nationals (14-9) were hoping a return home would help them get back on track after ending their road trip with a thud, but they dropped Tuesday's opener 5-1 extending their losing streak to five. They had only lost four times in their first 18 games.
A punchless offense has been the biggest reason for this slump, as Washington has plated seven runs while batting .155 in its last five.
"I feel like we've got the hitters that can hit," manager Davey Johnson said. "Not as aggressive as I'd like to see. We're not getting a good strike and driving it. I know that talent is there. ... It's going to put a strain on the pitching staff if we don't start scoring some runs."
The Nationals recalled Bryce Harper from the minors over the weekend to provide a spark, but he went 0 for 3 with a strikeout in his home debut Tuesday. Batting in the No. 7 spot in the order in his first three games, the No. 1 pick of the 2010 draft is 2 for 9.
It's not going to get any easier for Harper against Saunders, whom left-handed hitters are 4 for 24 (.167) against with no extra-base hits and no walks.
Arizona's offense could also have trouble against the Nationals, who have a major league-best 2.40 ERA and are tied with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers for the most strikeouts with 202.
Scheduled starter Edwin Jackson (1-1, 3.16) might be the weakest link in a superb rotation, but he enters May having thrown 10 2-3 scoreless innings over his final two April outings.
Against San Diego on Thursday, Jackson allowed six hits and three walks in 6 2-3 shutout innings, but the Padres rallied to hand the Nationals a 2-1 loss. Washington has lost three of his four starts.
The right-hander, who threw a no-hitter with Arizona in 2010, is 1-2 with a 3.33 ERA in four career starts against his former team, and he'll have to be careful pitching to Jason Kubel and Justin Upton.
Kubel is batting .467 with two home runs, four doubles and seven RBIs in his last seven games, and is 2 for 8 with a homer and double against Jackson since 2009.
Upton, who had two hits and two RBIs Tuesday, has singled in all three of his at-bats against Jackson.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
“He’s got a cannon.” (Ian Desmond, via Washington Post, 5/2/2012)
Correction: laser cannon!
So what if Bryce Harper's home debut for the Nationals didn't nearly live up to Stephen Strasburg's home debut? Harper may have gone 0-3 with a K, but he still provided a momentary thrill to the (half-full/half-empty) Nationals Park crowd with an absurd throw...
Ho-hum. And so, on his first off day as a Big Leaguer, and first day as a resident of Washington DC, Bryce Harper played softball at the Washington Monument.
Took some big cuts, too. And with that aluminum bat, he could've broken a window at Obama's house...
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Arizona was within one out of its fourth straight win before J.J. Putz blew his second save of the season.
Leading 4-3 in the ninth inning Wednesday night, Putz got two outs after Bryce Harper's leadoff double. The Diamondbacks closer then gave up a game-ending homer to Ian Desmond that gave the Nationals a 5-4 win.
"It won't be the last time it happens to us this...
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Trevor Cahill took a four-hit shutout into the eighth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat Washington 5-1 Tuesday night to stretch the Nationals' losing streak to five games.
Teenager Bryce Harper went 0 for 3 in his home debut for the Nationals. Harper, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, is 2 for 9 since being recalled from the minors on Saturday.
Arizona Diamondbacks rookie pitcher Wade Miley has been voted National League Rookie of the Month for the month of April.
Nationals third base coach Bo Porter walked off the mound, dripping with sweat, beaming.
He had just thrown batting practice to Bryce Harper.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson stood in foul territory as Porter approached, nodding and smiling. He, too, experiences joy watching Harper take BP.
"The beauty of him is that he hits the ball hard to all fields," Johnson says...
Left-hander Patrick Corbin pitched 5 2-3 innings to win his major league debut Monday, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the slumping Miami Marlins 9-5.
The 22-year-old Corbin, who was called up from Double-A Mobile, struck out six and allowed three runs.
One day after jumping ahead 8-0, the Diamondbacks were up 7-0 by the fifth inning. Cody Ransom and Justin Upton hit two-run...
"It's nice not hearing boos and whatnot." (Bryce Harper, via CSN Washington.com video, 5/1/2012)
D-backs 5, Nationals 1: Well, at least they scored a run. But Bryce might want to head back down to the Mall and recruit some of his softball buddies for offensive help?
(Screengrab via CSN Washington video)
Befriend the Nats...
In this week's episode of Nats Talk On The Go, Joe and Craig talk about the Washington Nationals' April and all of the positives and negatives that came along with it. We talk in detail about Bryce Harper and Tyler Moore's debuts, Danny Espinosa's ridiculously awful season at the dish so far, and then end by talking about the awesome pitching rotation once again....
After his interesting debut in Los Angeles, Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper had a day off and decided to play some softball with some random folks in D.C.
The game broke out near the Washington Monument and here is one of Bryce's at-bats:
(Courtesy of Deadspin)
The Washington Nationals needed every single out they had to end their five-game losing streak last night. It wasn’t pretty to watch, but they finally scraped one out to get back in the win column. The Nats will look to make it two in a row tonight in the rubber match against Arizona, but they will be going up against a right-hander that was one of the best pitchers in the National...
Not wanting to jinx anything, but for once it's a great time to be a DC Sports fan. The Skins had a good, albeit baffling draft. DC United is doing their thing. The Caps are showing the grit and no quit attitude fans have clamored about for years. And the Washington Nationals are tearing it up on the field, despite a rough weekend series against the Dodgers.
Capping off the...
The Washington Nationals' starting rotation is among the best in baseball, but not even the addition of phenom Bryce Harper has been able to spark their sputtering offense.
Harper will make his home debut as the Nationals look to avoid a fifth consecutive loss Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Washington's starters lead the majors...
The baseball world was completely captivated this past weekend by the long anticipated debut of someone whom everyone believes is a Hall of Fame player in the making—Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. Ever since his high school days—and perhaps even … Continue reading →