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Nationals picked the wrong time for an 11-3 loss

The Nationals have a very thin line of opportunity to grab the final wild card spot in the National League. A loss this time of year can be devastating, but two losses in a row to the Mets with the second loss an 11-3 setback? It is one of those losses. The Mets put the game away early against starter Dan Haren, scoring two runs

Johnson believes minor league system one year away from complete depth

Four of the Nationals’ minor league affiliates are headed to the postseason thanks to very competitive seasons with some talented prospects. The rookie level Gulf Coast League Nationals are already in the postseason. Low Single-A Hagerstown, high Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg also are headed to the playoffs. Minor leagues are all about development of prospects, team personnel will always tell you. But manager Davey

Zimmerman doesn’t regret throw that led to Mets’ winning run

The Mets beat the Nationals 3-2 Friday night, thanks, in part, to a critical base hit by Andrew Brown in the eighth inning. With two outs and a man on second, Brown’s liner down to third base was fielded in foul territory by Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who whirled and fired to Adam LaRoche at first base. LaRoche had to come off first base

Krol and Walters likely to lead list of September call-ups

Manager Davey Johnson gave out some information on who might be called up from Triple- A Syracuse when rosters are expanded on Sept. 1. “We will probably (call up) three pitchers and probably call up four or five position players,” Johnson said. “Pitchers we may bring earlier than position players. I think their season is over on (Sept.) 2nd. We can have them here expanded

Gonzalez says Soriano’s advice keyed adjustment that finished sweep of Marlins

Gio Gonzalez finally got another win at home, a place where he has been consistently solid. Prior to Thursday, however, a victory had evaded him since July 5 at Nationals Park. He had gone 0-1 with a 1.99 ERA in his last four home starts and was 0-3 since July 10. On Thursday, Gonzalez went seven innings and did not allow a run to earn

Decision to pull Strasburg after long rain delay may shake up starting rotation

Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg only tossed 22 pitches Wednesday thanks to a 72-minute rain delay. Strasburg pitched only two innings in the Nationals’ eventual 4-3 win over the Marlins. Manager Davey Johnson said the one hour, 12 minute rain delay played a big part in why he decided to shut down Strasburg for the night and move on to Craig Stammen. But he also

Potomac clinches second-half division crown, begins playoffs Sept. 4

The high Single-A Potomac Nationals dropped Winston-Salem 8-7 in 11 innings Wednesday, completing a game delayed from July. The P-Nats’ win clinched the second-half division crown. It is the first time the P-Nats have clinched both the first- and second-half crowns in the Carolina League’s Northern Division since 2008. The 2008 team - with future major leaguers Jordan Zimmermann, Craig Stammen, Ross Detwiler, Jhonatan Solano

Johnson closer to giving Roark chance to start and sending Ohlendorf back to bullpen

Manager Davey Johnson is not yet ready to hand over the fifth starter role to Tanner Roark, following hints that he might send Ross Ohlendorf back to the bullpen following Tuesday’s win over the Marlins. However, he is leaning that way because he would like to give Roark a shot. “It is still premature because I need to see if there (are) any problems coming

Johnson not taking a fancy to Ohlendorf’s strategy, but he will take the win

Not too many times does a starting pitcher allow only three hits and one run and is pulled with the lead. That is what happened to right-hander Ross Ohlendorf on Tuesday night. Ohlendorf allowed a leadoff solo homer to the Marlins’ Christian Yelich in the sixth inning. It was the only run he surrendered. It held up, thanks to the two runs the Nationals scored

Johnson admits Nats need left-handed specialist going forward

The Nationals were hoping that left-hander Zach Duke and right-handed relievers that could get left-handed hitters out would be the answer to the southpaw specialist role in the 2013 bullpen. Things did not turn out the way the team had hoped, at least with 32 games remaining. It is an issue that manager Davey Johnson believes will need to be addressed. He said it is

Nats to send eight players to Arizona Fall League, rosters announced

The Nationals will send eight players to the Arizona Fall League in 2013 to suit up for the Mesa Solar Sox. Brian Goodwin, Matt Skole, Adrian Nieto and Steven Souza (taxi squad) are the position players invited. Pitchers include starters Sammy Solis and Matt Purke, plus relievers Robert Benincasa and Richie Mirowski. Solis, Purke and Benincasa are from high Single-A Potomac, exemplifying the extensive depth

Potomac reaches 80 win plateau

High Single-A Potomac beat Wilmington 6-2 Sunday at Pfitzner Stadium for victory No. 80 of the season. The P-Nats are now 80-51 overall, a sterling winning percentage of .611. They have already clinched a postseason berth after winning the first-half of the season. The P-Nats are 36-24 (.600) with the second-half of the season winding down. Michael Taylor, Caleb Ramsey, Adrian Sanchez, Cutter Dykstra, Kevin

Royal heartbreak for Nats on two critical plays in eighth inning

It is difficult to have a mental mistake keep an inning alive with two outs in a tie ballgame. It hurts more when your team has scored four unanswered runs to tie a game at 4-4 against a team that was reeling in a seven-game losing streak. But to see another mental mistake later in the inning that scored the go-ahead run and opened the

Mooneyham and Johansen fall in debuts at higher levels

Left-hander Brett Mooneyham had some control issues in his initial start for high Single-A Potomac. Mooneyham walked six batters in three innings, allowing five hits, six runs and one strikeout in taking a 6-2 loss against Winston-Salem on Thursday. He allowed a two-run shot in the first inning by Kevan Smith. It was only his fourth setback in 14 decisions this season. He had come

Cathcart on outfielder Ballou: “Most pleasant surprise in the draft by far”

Outfielder Isaac Ballou is having an outstanding season for the Auburn Doubledays of the New York-Penn League. The former Marshall star has excelled in 56 games, batting .284 through August 21. The 23-year-old Ballou has 11 doubles, one triple, two homers, seven stolen bases, 32 runs and 17 RBIs in 197 at-bats. Auburn manager Gary Cathcart said the 6-foot-2, 205-lb. Ballou has really gotten his

Cathcart on Voth’s opponents: “Looked like they were swinging underwater”

Right-hander Austin Voth has put together a very solid first year with short-season Single-A Auburn. This week he was rewarded with an invitation to join the low Single-A Hagerstown. He was called up the same day as teammate Jake Johansen. Voth has gone 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in seven starts for the Doubledays. He has an impressive 42 strikeouts to only four walks in

Giolito takes first game at new level

If there was any concern that a step up in league play would be too much for the Nats’ first-round pick of the 2012 First Year Player Draft, Lucas Giolito, those concerns were unfounded Wednesday. The right-hander cruised through five innings in his short-season Single-A Auburn debut. Giolito notched the win, allowing just two hits, giving up no walks and striking out five as Auburn

Cathcart on Johansen: “He has got everything he needs”

Right-hander Jake Johansen made exceptional progress this summer at short-season Single-A Auburn. Johansen was an astounding 1-1 with a 1.06 ERA in 10 starts for the Doubledays. He allowed no hits in five innings on Aug. 17, striking out six batters and walking just two. The Nationals’ top selection from the 2013 draft performed so well, in fact, that he was promoted Tuesday to low

Source: Nationals promote three more prospects

One day after promoting top prospect Lucas Giolito to short season Single-A Auburn, according to a source the Nationals have announced plans to promote three more prospects. Left-hander Brett Mooneyham will start for Single-A Potomac on Thursday, weather permitting. Mooneyham was 10-3 with a 1.94 ERA in 17 starts with Single-A Hagerstown. Austin Voth and Jake Johansen will also be promoted to Hagerstown. Both started

Giolito on “No panic” GCL Nats, Mooneyham could move soon (updated)

The Gulf Coast Nationals have already clinched a postseason berth with their incredible record and domination of their division and league this season. Clinched! 37-6 #poppinbottles #of #applecider http://t.co/n7a6cpw2Ca— Lucas Giolito (@LGio27) August 9, 2013 The camaraderie displayed has been a key component of their success, to go with a very talented corps of prospects that will help fortify the Nationals organization for years to

Solis puts together solid outing in Potomac win

High Single-A Potomac Nationals left-hander Sammy Solis was a little wild, but allowed only two hits in 4 2/3 innings Saturday. The P-Nats rolled at Wilmington, 7-1. The P-Nats are 75-47 overall and 33-20 in the second half. Solis, another one of the Nationals’ top pitching prospects coming off Tommy John surgery, walked four and struck out four in the no-decision. David Fischer (4-0) came

Ohlendorf goes four innings in rehab start, allows three runs

Nationals right-hander Ross Ohlendorf completed his second rehab start by going four innings for the high Single-A Potomac Nationals Friday night. Ohlendorf allowed three runs in four innings, with one walk and two strikeouts. He recorded five ground outs and three fly outs. He tossed 79 pitches, 52 for strikes. He allowed eight hits, allowing runs in the second, third and fourth frames. A source

Soriano on 2-2 pitch to Sanchez: “I think that is when I lost that game”

Closer Rafael Soriano allowed the go-ahead, three-run, pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning with two outs to the Giants’ Hector Sanchez, and the Nationals lost 4-3. Soriano said the key call might have been to the previous pitch, when he thought he had a strikeout on a 2-2 call. “I tried to throw it quarter-in,” Soriano said on the home run pitch to Sanchez. “I

Johnson on Storen: “I think Drew is ready”

Manager Davey Johnson said he thinks that right-hander Drew Storen didn’t need much time at Triple-A Syracuse to get everything straightened out and that his standard leg kick and rejuvenated mental approach will help the ballclub in a critical moment of the season. The Nationals announced today that Storen had been returned to the team and that reliever Ryan Mattheus was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.

Rehabbing Giolito on target in GCL: “I am really pleased with the progress”

Right-hander Lucas Giolito is making good progress in his first full season of pro baseball with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals. The Nationals’ top pitching prospect is 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA in eight games for the GCL Nats. The 19-year-old has thrown back-to-back five inning starts. He said that first start back from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on July 3 worked on

Nationals focused as win streak builds, feeling different than before Braves series

With the Nationals’ 6-5 victory over the Giants, the win streak reached five games. It is the Nationals’ second five-game win streak of the season, matching an identical streak from May 4-9 against Pittsburgh and Detroit. It was Nationals outfielder Denard Span who made a spectacular catch in center field off the bat of Hunter Pence with two men on to end the game and

Johnson believes Gonzalez/Werth spat is “done, over, history”

Nationals manager Davey Johnson had more thoughts on the Gio Gonzalez versus Jayson Werth verbal spat in the first inning of Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Giants. Johnson said he has seen disagreements occur with other clubs and believes it demonstrates the passion that Gonzalez and Werth come to the field with every day. “That was a little strange,” Johnson said. “But it has happened.

Espinosa building up average; Walters enjoying career power surge

Second baseman Danny Espinosa has been able to build up his average over his last 10 games for Triple-A Syracuse. Espinosa is hitting .308 (12-for-39) the last 10 games, with two doubles and two RBIs. He still is striking out, 14 in the last 10 games, and drew three walks during this recent clip, but has had four multi-hit games in the run. * High

Giolito throws five scoreless innings in latest GCL start

Lucas Giolito is starting to pile up consistent starts. The Gulf Coast Nationals right-hander pitched five more scoreless innings today, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out five, with one wild pitch. He faced 18 batters, inducing four groundouts and four flyouts. The GCL Nats won the game 2-1, but Giolito did not factor into the decision. The GCL Nats are now 40-6 (.870),

Skole tweets he is close to being cleared to resume baseball-related activities

Third baseman/first baseman Matt Skole has been out the entire season because of an injury early he suffered in April. Skole had to undergo Tommy John surgery and recently I was told Nationals officials are hoping the former Georgia Tech star will be able to play fall or winter ball. He had been going through one arm swings in light practice, and had continued to

Werth on his knee, Desmond and Strasburg

Right fielder Jayson Werth got his knee caught up under him during the play at the plate Sunday. He was removed from the game as a precaution. Werth said the knee stiffened up a bit, but feels it will be OK. He said it depends on how he feels today. “I don’t think it is a big deal”, Werth said. On the play at home,

Ramos and McCatty on Strasburg’s first complete game, shutout

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg said earlier in the season that going just six innings wasn’t cool anymore. On Sunday, it must have felt really cool as Strasburg tossed 99 pitches in his first complete game shutout of his career, beating the Phillies 6-0. Catcher Wilson Ramos said he was impressed because Strasburg battled through a tweak of his groin on his second pitch to Dominic

Jordan and Roark proving worthwhile pitching commodities as season rolls on

Right-hander Tanner Roark achieved another milestone Saturday by earning his first major league victory. And it took only 12 pitches. Roark retired six consecutive Phillies in the sixth and seventh innings. The Nationals’ offense scored six runs in those two innings to come back and win 8-5. “It felt great, the come-from-behind win,” Roark said. “Great team effort, bats came alive and it was awesome

Johnson believes Span leading off and LaRoche down in the order will lead to offensive success

Manager Davey Johnson went back to Denard Span as his leadoff hitter on Aug. 6 against the Braves. With Span starting to hit again and get on base, Johnson felt it was the best time to go back to the way the lineup should have been aligned. Span has led off and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has batted second for three straight games. They will

LaRoche and Zimmerman on getting to old teammate Lannan in 9-2 win

The Nationals were finally able to solve their old teammate, John Lannan, in a 9-2 win at Nationals Park. The Nationals pounded out 12 hits, nine of them off of Lannan, including a two-run homer by Anthony Rendon, a solo shot by Ryan Zimmerman and two hits and an RBI courtesy Adam LaRoche. Lannan had gone 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts in

Giolito and Johansen garner first pro victories as they gain experience

Right-hander Lucas Giolito recorded a couple of important “firsts” on Wednesday. In the 6-1 with over the GCL Marlins, Giolito won his first professional game, in his longest outing (five innings) with a career-high strikeouts (five). He allowed five hits, one run and one walk in the win. Giolito is now 1-1 and 3.57 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with 20 strikeouts and eight walks.

Report: Matt Williams could be managerial candidate for Nats in 2014

With Davey Johnson’s tenure at manager coming to an end once the 2013 season is completed, speculation has begun as to whom his replacement will be. One name that has jumped out early is former major league player and current Diamondbacks coach Matt Williams, according to a tweet by baseball writer Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com: Matt Williams is said to be among candidates to replace

Werth opens up on state of Nationals: “We are still in a building phase”

Right fielder Jayson Werth did all he could to keep the Nationals in their 6-3 loss to the Braves on Wednesday. He hit a game tying two-run shot, which was the first hit for the Nationals against Kris Medlen. He singled and scored the tying run three innings later. He walked in the rally attempt down three in the bottom of the ninth. But it

Davey on Ohlendorf’s possible rehab start and Rendon’s defense at second base

Manager Davey Johnson has been pleasantly surprised how well Anthony Rendon has come along defensively at second base. It was a position Rendon had only played at a handful of times before arriving in D.C. Johnson noticed Rendon had quick mechanics back in March in Viera, Fla. “I thought his footwork in the spring when we went through a lot of drills was a lot

A.J. Cole strikes out 10 in third Double-A start

Right-hander A.J. Cole has made good progress in his return to the organization. Cole was sent to the Oakland A’s two seasons ago. He struggled at high Single-A for the A’s, but then flourished with their low Single-A team. Before this season, Cole was traded back to the Nationals in the Michael Morse three-team triangle trade with Seattle and Oakland. 2013 has been a big

LaRoche and Gonzalez lament another set of missed opportunities in loss

The Nationals dropped another one-run squeaker to the Braves, 2-1, failing to take advantage of opportunities presented to them with runners in scoring position. On Monday, the Nationals were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. On Tuesday, 0-for-5. First baseman Adam LaRoche reviewed his chance in the seventh. Facing reliever Luis Avilan, LaRoche worked the count to 2-0 on a pair of two-seam fastballs. On

Roark on call to Nationals: “This is so surreal”

Tanner Roark had a secret. It was a pretty big one. He knew Sunday night. He told his parents and his fiancé. He got the call to pitch in the majors for the Nationals. The right-hander expressed his feelings from when his Triple-A manager relayed the news that he was going to be called up to the bigs. “This is so surreal,” Roark said. “At

Strasburg pitches well enough to win again, but Nats lose 3-2 to Braves

With sweat showing through his San Diego State baseball T-shirt after the game, right-hander Stephen Strasburg spoke softly and appeared frustrated with another no-decision that turned into a loss, this one a critical opening series setback to the first place Braves. Strasburg went seven innings, tossed 112 pitches and allowed just two runs, yet his team lost 3-2 at Nationals Park. “I want to go

Teammates, manager glad Gonzalez can officially put Biogenesis queries behind him

Nationals teammates and manager Davey Johnson all are glad that left-hander Gio Gonzalez finally gets the recognition from Major League Baseball that he was not a part of the Biogenesis scandal. Today’s announcement by Commissioner Bud Selig suspended thirteen more players, including Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, for their admitted use of performance enhancing drugs. The last paragraph of the statement released by Major League

This and that

It has come to this in the season for the Nationals where they have to sweep the Braves in the first series of the homestand starting Monday at Nationals Park. Ideally, a 3-2 road trip with a split in Detroit and at least two out of three in Milwaukee would have been good. That didn’t happen with the two game sweep at the hands of

Ohlendorf to DL, Xavier Cedeno returns to Nats; will Karns soon get another shot?

Right-hander Taylor Jordan has tossed a combined 125 2/3 innings in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. 35 1/3 of those innings have come at the major league level, where it appears he is there to stay. With starter Ross Detwiler likely done for the season with a herniated disc and a Jordan shutdown six starts away, who will the Nationals choose to

LaRoche uses Werth’s bat to break slump with win in Milwaukee

Maybe Jayson Werth needs to order more of his bats from his manufacturer to hand out to his teammates. Adam LaRoche would certainly request one. Werth had two hits and LaRoche cranked a solo homer as the Nationals guaranteed a series win over the Brewers with a 3-0 win on Saturday. Werth left the game in the sixth inning. Manager Davey Johnson said on MASN’s

Harper walks the talk with home run and two RBIs in Nationals’ 4-1 win at Milwaukee

It did not take long for Bryce Harper to back up his comments from Wednesday’s postgame. Friday night in Milwaukee, Harper crushed his 16th homer of the season, a solo shot off of Brewers reliever Burke Bradenhop in the sixth inning, in the Nationals’ 4-1 victory at Miller Park. The Nationals left fielder described what he saw from Badenhop for the game-changing homer. “I was

Zimmermann pitching in his home state against Brewers (Nats win 4-1)

The Nationals are looking to get off to a quick start against the Brewers on Friday night at Miller Park. The Nationals have lost the first game in six straight series dating back to July 8. Washington won the first game of the series against Milwaukee and San Diego at Nationals Park to begin the month of July. Tom Gorzelanny made quick work of the

Nats and Brewers lineups for opener of series in Milwaukee

The Nationals open another big series on the road at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers. Wisconsin native right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will oppose former Nationals left-hander Tom Gorzelanny. The Nationals need to play well in this series and gain some momentum before returning home to begin a home stand against the first-place Atlanta Braves. For the Nats LF Bryce Harper 2B Anthony Rendon 3B Ryan

Top prospect Giolito tosses four shutout innings in sixth start for GCL Nats

Right-hander Lucas Giolito had a very good outing for the rookie-level Gulf Coast Nationals, tossing four shutout innings and striking out four, walking none and allowing only two hits. This outing came after a couple of starts were he allowed five runs in a total of 3 1/3 innings. Giolito is now 0-1, with a 4.26 ERA. The GCL Nats won the game 10-3 over

A.J. Cole making progress after two wins to begin Double-A career

Right-hander A.J. Cole has now had two positive starts in a row for Double-A Harrisburg. Cole went six innings in a 5-3 Senators win at Trenton. Cole allowed four hits, one unearned run, three walks struck out six for his second straight win. Nationals director of player development Doug Harris is happy with Cole and his progress at Double-A. “Absolutely, he has gone up there

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