Wednesday, March 18, 2015

John bracket: Nationals (09) defeat Expos (69) in six games

Game One: Expos 1, Nationals 0
WP: Stoneman (1-0)
LP: L Hernandez (0-1)

Game Two: Nationals 4, Expos 0
WP: Lannan (1-0)
LP: Robertson (0-1)
HR: Zimmerman (1)

Game Three: Nationals 14, Expos 4
WP: Stammen (1-0)
LP: Renko (0-1)
HR: Willingham (1), Staub (1), Zimmerman (2)

Game Four: Expos 6, Nationals 5 (13 innings)
WP: Waslewski (1-0)
LP: Bergman (0-1)
HR: Bateman (1), Jones (1)

Game Five: Nationals 10, Expos 4
WP: L Hernandez (1-1)
LP: Stoneman (1-1)
HR: Willingham (2), Zimmerman (3)

Game Six: Nationals 7, Expos 1
WP: Lannan (2-0)
LP: Robertson (0-2)
HR: Zimmerman (4)

The Expos won the one-run games, the Nationals won the blow outs, and there were more blowouts than competitive contests in this series.

Bill Stoneman got Montreal off with a win in the opener, holding the Nats to just three hits. The Expos got the game's only run in the first inning, with Ron Fairly smacking a double and scoring on Rusty Staub's single. Stoneman walked six and struck out six in his complete game.

John Lannan returned the shutout favor in Game Two. The lefty held Montreal to just three hits himself. The Nationals scored all four of their runs in the first inning off Jerry Robertson, with Ryan Zimmerman bopping a three-run homer and Adam Dunn getting a triple.

Game Three, the first in Montreal's Parc Jarry, was the first of the routs. Staub gave the Expos a 2-0 lead with a first inning homer, but a pair of errors by Montreal shortstop Bobby Wine opened the doors to a four-run third. Zimmerman and Josh Willingham homered in the fifth. The Nats picked up runs in the sixth and eighth innings and then blasted Claude Raymond for five more in the ninth

Game Four was a beauty. The Expos pieced together three runs in the first two innings against Jordan Zimmermann, only to see the Nats tie it in the seventh in an inning based on an Alberto Gonzalez pinch-hit triple. Willingham's pinch-hit double in the eighth put the Nats up 4-3, but John Bateman promptly tied it again with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning. The Nats took the lead again in the 11th -- Austin Kearns tripled and scored on Gary Waslewski's error -- but Mack Jones greeted Mike MacDougal with a homer in the bottom of the inning, Aldolfo Phillps threw out Elijah Dukes at the plate in the 12th inning, and the Expos finally won it in the 13th on Staub's single and Jones' triple. Nyjer Morgan was seven-for-seven with four steals but never scored a run.

From there the Nationals took control. The blasted Stoneman for five runs in the first inning of Game Five -- Willingham with a bases-loaded triple -- and were never threatened the rest of the way. Willingham wound up with five RBIs. Morgan ran his on-base streak to nine before finally being retired.

Back in Nationals Park, Lannan spotted the Expos a run in the first, then blacked them for seven innings. The Nats hit for the cycle in the first inning -- homer from Zimmerman, triple by Dunn, double for Willingham, single by Dukes -- for three run of Robertson, who then left with an injury. The Nats scored three more off Howie Reed in the fourth and clinched the series easily.

Player of the series: Morgan had 10 hits and seven walks. Zimmerman hit four homer and 10 RBIs. Willingham also had 10 RBIs. But Lannan allowed just one run in 17 innings over two starts. He's my pick.

Pitcher availability: Hernandez can pitch Game 1. Lannan can start game Two with penalty, Game Three without.

Projected rotation: Hernandez-Stammen (or replacement)-Lannan-Zimmermann-(Hernandez)-(Stammen or replacement)-(Lannan).

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