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Nationals continue to crush rivals’ hopes

In mid-June, the Nationals traveled to New York to face off against the Mets for a four-game series. The Nats were 39-26 and the Mets were 30-34. Sports talk radio in New York was buzzing for a possible four-game Mets sweep. If New York could pull it off, the Nats’ lead would be only 4 1/2 games. The Nats went into New York and promptly

Strasburg homers and fires complete-game shutout in 4-0 win

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg fired a complete-game shutout for the Nationals against the Marlins in their 4-0 series-sweeping clincher Wednesday at Nats Park. It was the Nats’ first series sweep of the Marlins since 2014. Strasburg connected for the first run of the game with a solo homer, finishing 2-for-4 at the plate. Strasburg was efficient: 110 pitches over nine innings works out to 12.2 per

Strasburg homers, tosses complete game (Nats win 4-0)

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg has kept the Marlins off the board through three frames. Dee Gordon led off the game with an infield single but was caught stealing at second a few pitches later. J.T. Realmuto doubled in the second, but Strasburg recorded two more outs to get out of inning. Strasburg has one strikeout. Wilmer Difo and Anthony Rendon singled in the first. Marlins

Scherzer moved to start Sunday, six-man rotation possible

Manager Dusty Baker announced that the Nationals will push back right-hander Max Scherzer to Sunday’s game in Milwaukee. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will start Thursday’s opener against the Brewers, while right-hander Tanner Roark gets the nod for Friday night. Baker said there is nothing physically wrong with Scherzer, but he wants to spread out his start, and for that matter other starters, for the rest of

Jackson uses veteran savvy to wiggle out of early jam

Right-hander Edwin Jackson allowed a Giancarlo Stanton home run and three walks in the first inning but managed to get out of the jam. The veteran ended up lasting six innings and giving up three runs as the Nationals came back to win 8-3. Walking the bases loaded could have ruined the game, but Jackson held on. With two outs, Tomás Telis lined out to

Pérez and Albers keep Marlins at bay on way to 8-3 win

The big moment defensively for the Nationals in Tuesday’s divisional matchup with the Marlinscame in the top of the seventh. The Nats were clinging to a 5-2 lead, but the Marlins started the inning with two singles off starter Edwin Jackson. Dee Gordon sacrificed back to Jackson, whose throw to Ryan Zimmerman at first base was off line, allowing a run to score. Suddenly, the

Stanton hits No. 51 (Nats win 8-3)

Manager Dusty Baker was concerned coming into the series about facing Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. After all, Stanton had hit 50 homers already this season. Baker said he would not give away the strategy to pitching against Stanton prior to the opener on Monday, for fear there were “double agents” in the room. Edwin Jackson was unable to sneak a fastball by Stanton in the

Rodríguez and Raines proud of Nats Ring of Honor induction

The Nationals honored two of baseball’s newest Hall of Famers, former Nationals catcher Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez and longtime Expos left fielder Tim Raines, by inducting them into the Nationals Park Ring of Honor on Monday night. Rodríguez was also honored by the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation earlier Monday when they named the renovated Mason District Little League Park in Annandale, Va., as Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez

Annandale Little League field named for Rodríguez

The Nationals Dream Foundation dedicated its second Legacy Field on Monday, introducing Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez Field at the newly renovated Little League diamond at Mason District Park in Annandale, Va. The first Legacy Field, in Washington, D.C, was named Ryan Zimmerman Field. Zimmerman brought his wife Heather and their daughter to Monday’s ribbon-cutting event to honor Rodríguez. “You see the kids. My wife actually grew

Two of Nats’ biggest stars guide team to 11-2 win over Marlins

Two of the Nationals’ biggest stars returned to the lineup Monday night and sent another signal to the rest of the division that they are still the team to beat in the National League East. Max Scherzer pitched seven innings and allowed one run, while Jayson Werth crushed a two-run shot in his second at-bat in nearly three months as the Nats rolled past second-place

Scherzer vs. Stanton takes center stage (Nats win 11-2)

The Nationals’ Max Scherzer returns tonight just in time for an epic matchup against Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who has become the first batter to reach 50 homers in a season since 2013. Manager Dusty Baker smiled when asked during pregame about his strategy in facing Stanton: “Can’t tell you that. Cuz somebody in here may be a double agent.” “You can’t stop him

Rendon and Albers concerned for victims of hometown Houston flooding

The hurricane, rain and subsequent flooding of tropical storm Harvey in and around Houston has been devastating for so many in Texas and the surrounding areas. The tragedy has hit home for Nationals’ Houston natives Anthony Rendon and Matt Albers. Rendon said his family has to move to his home in the Houston area because of the flooding at their own homes. “I have been

Werth and Scherzer return; Bautista and Stevenson sent down

The Nationals have reinstated right-hander Max Scherzer and outfielder Jayson Werth prior to tonight’s series opener against the Miami Marlins. Scherzer has been on the 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation and will make the start tonight. Werth has been out since June 4 with a broken left foot. He will bat seventh and play right field. The club optioned outfielders Rafael Bautista and Andrew

Game 130 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins (Werth and Scherzer return)

The Nationals welcome back two of their regulars tonight in the series opener against the Marlins. Jayson Werth has been activated from the 60-day disabled list to start tonight, batting seventh and playing right field, after missing 75 games with a left foot contusion. And right-handed ace Max Scherzer will make his first start since Aug. 13. He was on the 10-day DL with a

Gonzalez and Taylor appreciate addition of Wieters

One clear strength of the Nationals this season has been the play of catcher Matt Wieters. His guidance and work with starter Gio Gonzalez has been a major reason why the left-hander is off to his best start with the Nats since 2012. Gonzalez is 13-5 with a 2.40 ERA - the 13 wins the most he has earned since the 21-8 campaign in 2012.

Velocity down, but Fedde feels more comfortable

Right-hander Erick Fedde made his third big league start in Sunday’s first game of a doubleheader with the Mets. The Nats came up a bit short in the 6-5 setback. Fedde lasted six innings for the no-decision, but gave up a three-run shot to Asdrúbal Cabrera in the first inning and a two-run homer to Wilmer Flores in the third. Down 5-0, the Nats climbed

Fedde allows big homer in first (Mets win 6-5)

Right-hander Erick Fedde was looking to get off to a good start in his matchup Sunday in Game 1 against the Mets. That didn’t happen in his first major league start. On July 30, Fedde allowed two runs in the first inning and seven runs on 10 hits in a 10-6 loss to the Rockies. But a week later he fared better. Against the Cubs

Taylor’s arm helps prevent big Mets inning twice in Nats’ win

The Nationals provided an aggressive start with four quick runs Saturday and Gio Gonzalez did the rest, going 6 2/3 innings for his 13th win of the season in a 9-4 defeat of the Mets. It all started with defense in the first inning. With a man in scoring position and two outs, Wilmer Flores singled to center field. Michael A. Taylor scooped up the

Sanchez gets hit by pitch in scary moment, bounces back in 9-4 win

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez continued to pitch well and the Nationals held on after a quick start for a 9-4 victory over the Mets. But the story of the game was second baseman Adrián Sanchez, who came up big on offense and also took a fastball to the chest in a scary moment late in the game. Sanchez had a two-run single to highlight the Nats’

Big first inning rough on Gsellman (Nats win 9-4)

The Nationals took control of today’s game against the Mets in the first inning. In the top of the first with two outs, Gio Gonzalez walked Asdrúbal Cabrera. He went to second on a wild pitch. Travis Taijeron singled up the middle and Michael A. Taylor threw home to Matt Wieters. Wieters tagged out a sliding Cabrera to end the inning. In the bottom of

The art of hitting by Daniel Murphy

Second baseman Daniel Murphy has been able to improve his batting average and power numbers each season since signing a free agent deal with the Nationals in January 2016. The escalating hitting numbers are very impressive. His slugging percentage with the Nationals was .595 in 2016 and is .549 in 115 games this season. His best slugging percentage as a regular starter for the Mets

Scherzer, Zimmerman are close; Werth, Turner take positive steps

First baseman Ryan Zimmerman confirmed it was not his left shoulder that he felt discomfort in Thursday in Houston. The biggest update today was that Zimmerman said it was his left triceps instead. “It wasn’t really inside the shoulder, so that was good,” Zimmerman said. “I was swung yesterday. It was just a little sore.” Zimmerman even had discussions during Friday’s game against the Mets

Game 127 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Manager Dusty Baker opted to give left-hander Gio Gonzalez an extra day of rest following a 121-pitch effort in his last start. Today, Gonzalez faces off against the division rival Mets. The 4-1 win over the Padres last Sunday was another prime example of the 2017 Gonzalez: one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Baker is

Strasburg “not worried” about calf cramp after six scoreless innings

HOUSTON - Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg managed to throw six scoreless innings against the top-scoring club in the major leagues Thursday night, despite having to deal with a cramp in his left calf as the game wore on. Strasburg began the sixth inning by striking out Derek Fisher and George Springer. He allowed a double to Alex Bregman, but then got Jose Altuve on a

Nats find way to win in extras after blowing late lead

HOUSTON - The Nationals were teetering on losing the series against the Astros after Stephen Strasburg had put together six scoreless frames. Houston scored three runs on five hits in the final two innings to erase a 3-0 Nats lead. But the Nats then managed to come up with two huge runs to down the Astros 5-4 in 11. An Anthony Rendon sacrifice fly and

Texas-sized pitchers’ duel (Nats win 5-4 in 11th)

HOUSTON - As one might expect, two of the best pitchers in all of baseball are locked in a pitchers’ duel through three innings. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg has not allowed a hit through three innings. He has struck out four Astros. But Carlos Beltrán used up 12 Strasburg pitches when he grounded out to shortstop to begin the bottom of the third. Brian McCann was

Baker to monitor starters’ schedules as final month approaches

HOUSTON - Manager Dusty Baker is monitoring how many games his starters will play in the next four weeks as the club closes in on its second straight division title. Nationals starting pitchers have thrown 115 or more pitches in a game 11 times this season. That mark is the most among major league teams, with Boston having reached that plateau 10 times this season.

Scherzer improving, Cole will start Friday

HOUSTON - Manager Dusty Baker said right-hander A.J. Cole will start Friday for the Nationals in their series opener against the Mets. The Mets series is four games in three days. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will start Saturday’s game. Right-hander Tanner Roark is slated to start one of the two games Sunday. Right-hander Max Scherzer could be the starter for Sunday night if he throws a

Game 125 lineups: Nats at Astros

HOUSTON - A pair of evenly matched first-place clubs attempting to get healthy before the end of the regular season clash in the rubber match of a three-game set tonight at Minute Maid Park. The pitching matchup is outstanding with Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (10-4, 3.24 ERA) facing off against Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel (11-2, 2.58 ERA). Keuchel is very good at home: 35-19 with

Edwin Jackson proving he deserves postseason consideration

HOUSTON - The experience that Edwin Jackson brings to the mound for the Nationals in his second tenure with the club is paying dividends. Despite a 6-1 loss to the Houston Astros on Wednesday, Jackson continues to demonstrate his ability as a starter by going deep into games without getting flustered. Jackson allowed a solo homer to Jake Marisnick, and that very likely would have

Jackson pitches well, but Kelley’s troubles continue in 6-1 loss

HOUSTON - Edwin Jackson did his job, and the Nationals still had a shot. They were down 2-1 heading to the bottom of the eighth Wednesday night. But the Astros went after the Nats bullpen and tallied four runs in the frame, highlighted by a three-run homer off the bat of Alex Bregman as Houston evened the series with a 6-1 win. Right-hander Shawn Kelley

Difo’s defense and bat early highlights (Astros win 6-1)

HOUSTON - The Nationals got on the board first in the third inning against Astros starter Mike Fiers. With one out, Andrew Stevenson doubled to right-center field. The hit came a half inning after he was unable to come up with a hot shot to right field that turned into a Marwin Gonzalez double. But starter Edwin Jackson didn’t allow the Astros to score thanks

Scherzer not ready for Friday return; notes on Madson and Jackson

HOUSTON - Right-hander Max Scherzer will not make his next start Friday, according to Nationals pitching coach Mike Maddux. Scherzer’s neck is still sore and not responding as well as he had hoped. On Tuesday, there was some optimism that Scherzer would be able to come of the disabled list for Friday’s series opener against the Mets. But Scherzer told reporters it would be “days,

Game 124 lineups: Nats at Astros (game moved to MASN2)

HOUSTON - The Nationals again got off to a nice start in the opening game of a road series, dropping the American League West-leading Astros 4-3. The Nats are 27-14 (.659) this season in series openers. On the road, they are 15-6 (.714) in series openers, including four straight wins at Miami, Chicago against the Cubs, San Diego and Houston. With a win tonight, the

Roark uses breaking pitch to get himself back in the game

HOUSTON - Tanner Roark battled with a first place American League lineup Tuesday, taking each punch in the first three innings, but never allowing a knockout blow. The Astros scored three runs in three innings to begin, but then nothing else as the Nationals mounted a comeback 4-3 victory. Matt Wieters’ two-run shot erased their final deficit and Roark did not allow a run in

Henley says he’s unaware of “Send-ley” moniker

HOUSTON - Third base coach Bobby Henley joined the Nationals as third base coach in 2014. He has 23 years experience with the organization, 15 seasons as a coach. He has developed a reputation in some circles as being an aggressive third base coach, catching the moniker of “Send-ley” for his propensity to windmill runners home on balls hit to the outfield. I asked Henley

Bullpen builds confidence with another gem in 4-3 road win

HOUSTON - The Nationals began their series with another first-place team in the Astros on their home field and came away with a hard-fought 4-3 win. The Nats took the lead 4-3 on a Matt Wieters fourth-inning two-run homer. Thanks to a resurgent Tanner Roark, the bullpen and some timely defense, the Nats held Houston to no runs on three hits over the final six

Roark taxed early with two-out hits (Nats win 4-3)

HOUSTON - Tanner Roark has been taxed a bit in the first two innings. The Astros started the game with a George Springer single and then a steal of second. With two outs, he came home on a two-out RBI single by Josh Reddick. In the second inning, veteran Carlos Beltrán sent a double into left field that Howie Kendrick attempted to catch up against

Updates on Scherzer, Madson, Harper, Werth and Turner

HOUSTON - It has been a couple of days since the last update on right-handers Max Scherzer and Ryan Madson, so they were a hot topic with Nationals manager Dusty Baker prior to Tuesday night’s opener against the Astros. Scherzer was getting treatment with the club at Minute Maid Park and made his way out to the field for batting practice, stretch and warm-ups looking

Game 123 lineups: Nats at Astros

HOUSTON - Welcome to Minute Maid Park, where a pair of first-place teams will do battle in interleague play. The Astros have played two more games than the Nationals, but have recently lost 11 of 14 games. This is a three-game set, with all contests beginning at 8:10 p.m. EDT. The Nationals began their road trip by winning three of four in San Diego and

The Nats again tested as disabled list grows

The first day of the road trip, it was Ryan Madson. The second day of the road trip, it is Max Scherzer. The disabled list has been the not-so-silent partner in the Nationals first place 2017 season. The 25-man roster has seen itself varied and the 40-man roster tested. The minor league system has shown it has quality depth. President of baseball operations and general

Eaton running and swinging a bat as knee rehab continues

Center fielder Adam Eaton updated his progress from ACL knee surgery. He has been out since late April. Eaton said he has started running and swinging a bat the last two weeks. “I’ve been hitting, been throwing,” Eaton reported. “Literally all baseball activities in kind of slow motion. So it’s been rather productive. Ahead of schedule still. Just continue to try to get better (with)

Even with banged-up eye, Taylor makes one of top catches of season

Michael A. Taylor got hit in face on a foul tip and then made one of the more amazing diving catches in the Nationals’ 3-2 setback Wednesday to the Angels. All in a day’s work for the center fielder, who is just returning from an oblique injury. In the sixth, Taylor got hit with a foul tip that bounced close to home plate and then

Zimmerman homers, but Roark and Nats come up short

The Angels had one more big hit than the Nationals did on Wednesday, and that was enough to take away a 3-2 getaway day win. Ryan Zimmerman smacked a two-run shot to set the tone for the Nats early, but that was all the offense they could muster as Ricky Nolasco pitched 5 2/3 innings and three relievers held the Nats to four hits and

Zimmerman hits 28th homer (Angels win 3-2)

The Nationals jumped on Angels starter Ricky Nolasco in the first inning. With one out, Wilmer Difo singled. He now has a career-high 11-game hitting streak. Difo then stole second. After a groundout by Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman slammed his 28th homer of the season. The two-run shot over the left-center field wall put the Nats up 2-0. The Nats are 50-16 (.758) this season

Nats welcome De Aza, Goodwin to DL

The Nationals this morning selected the contract of outfielder Alejandro De Aza from Triple-A Syracuse and placed outfielder Brian Goodwin on the 10-day disabled list with a left groin strain. Further, the Nationals transferred shortstop Trea Turner (right wrist fracture) on the 60-day disabled list to open a 40-man roster spot for De Aza. Goodwin’s DL stint is retroactive to Aug. 14. The 33-year-old De

Game 118 lineups: Angels at Nats (with roster moves)

One reason the Nationals defeated the Angels in the series opener was their ability to prevent Mike Trout from launching a game-changing hit. He did have a scorching single up the middle in the Angels’ best chance to score in the sixth, but Gio Gonzalez did a nice job of working out of the difficult situation and keep them off the board. The Nationals ended

Kendrick hits two against his old team, Nats prevail 3-1

Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo loved the value he received in acquiring a veteran hitter like Howie Kendrick. He is a player who can also defend multiple positions and has extensive playoff experience. Rizzo knew Kendrick was an important insurance policy for his injured starting left fielder Jayson Werth (left foot contusion) when he went after Kendrick. He also knew

Kendrick homers twice against former team (Nats win 3-1)

Howie Kendrick got a measure of revenge against his former team with a solo homer over the left-center field wall, just out of reach of left fielder Cameron Maybin, helping the Nationals to a 1-0 lead over the Angels in the third. It was his fifth homer of the season and in the same area as his dramatic walk-off grand slam on Sunday night. It

Dusty Baker remembers Paul Casanova: “Cassie meant a lot to me”

Paul Casanova, who was a catcher with the Washington Senators from 1965 to 1971, passed away Saturday at 75 in Miami. The Cuban-born backstop also played three seasons with the Atlanta Braves and was an All-Star with Washington in 1967. As a member of the Braves, Casanova caught Phil Niekro’s no-hitter in 1973. Nationals manager Dusty Baker knew Casanova very well and spent a lot

Strasburg solid in rehab start for high Single-A Potomac

WOODBRIDGE, Va. - Right-hander Stephen Strasburg was solid and on target in his rehab start Monday night for high Single-A Potomac, paving his way to return to the Nationals. “Felt good,” Strasburg said of the outing. “No issues. Felt strong throughout.” He has been on the disabled list with a right elbow nerve impingement since July 24. His last start was July 23. Strasburg went

Taylor displays defense and skill in return to lineup

Michael A. Taylor’s timing was right on target on defense in his return to the lineup. His strike from the outfield to get Joe Panik attempting to score kept the Nationals within striking distance of the Giants on Sunday night. The Nats eventually won the game 6-2 on a walk-off grand slam by Howie Kendrick in the 11th inning. Taylor fired a strike from center

This is Howie do it: first career grand slam lifts Nats in extras

Howie Kendrick has had some big moments in his career, but never a grand slam. And never a walk-off extra-inning grand slam with his brand-new team. That all happened with one swing to finish off a laborious day of baseball for the Nationals. Kendrick’s grand slam in the bottom of the 11th Sunday night lifted the Nats to a 6-2 series-clinching win over the Giants.

Scherzer off to hot start (Nats win 6-2 in 11)

Right-hander Max Scherzer is rolling against the Giants in the nightcap of the day/night doubleheader. Scherzer dispatched nine straight hitters to get through three innings. He has struck out four, two of them looking. The Giants have managed only one ground ball out: Denard Span’s grounder to second base that led off the game. Daniel Murphy slammed a solo homer in the bottom of the

Game 116 lineups: Giants at Nats

The Nationals seek a series victory tonight in Game 2 of a day-night doubleheader with their ace, Max Scherzer, on the hill. Manager Dusty Baker said Saturday that Scherzer had the right to choose which game he would start on Sunday because he is the ace. When you get to be an ace of a staff, you can make that choice too. Scherzer is 12-5

Bryce Harper hyperextends knee, MRI Sunday (Nats win 3-1)

Following a three-hour rain delay, the Nationals lost right fielder Bryce Harper to a left knee injury when he slipped on first base as he tried to beat out a grounder in the first inning. Harper could not put weight on his left leg and was helped off the field by trainer Paul Lessard and Nationals hitting coach Rick Schu. The Nationals defeated the Giants

Bryce Harper injures left knee, leaves game (Nats win 3-1)

Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper slipped on the first base bag attempting to beat out a grounder, injuring his left knee in the bottom of the first inning of the game Saturday night against the Giants at Nationals Park. The game had been delayed for three hours because of heavy rains. Harper’s left cleat appeared to slip on the wet first base bag as he

Newcomers and veterans mixing well makes for strong Nats clubhouse

In a team sport like baseball, chemistry on and off the field, specifically how each teammate treats the other, how they motivate and help each other, regardless of age or experience, goes a long way in how good the overall club can be in a highly competitive professional atmosphere. The Nationals enjoy a double-digit lead in their division due in large part to the talent

Strasburg likely Monday in Potomac for rehab start; plus injury updates

Nationals manager Dusty Baker had the latest on how close Stephen Strasburg is to returning to the rotation. “It’s not written in stone but he had a good session the other day,” Baker said. “He’s supposed to go out here pretty soon for a rehab assignment.” Pitching coach Mike Maddux said Strasburg’s most recent bullpen session went well and that he is building stamina. His

Game 114 lineups: Giants at Nats (First pitch 10:05 p.m.)

The Nationals and the Giants will get their series underway tonight after Friday’s rainout. Right-hander Edwin Jackson was moved up from his Friday start to start tonight at home in San Francisco’s only visit to Nats Park this season. The Giants counter with veteran right-hander Jeff Samardzija (7-11, 4.75) and move Chris Stratton to Sunday. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s next hit (No. 1,623) will surpass

Roark fought without best stuff to keep Nats in game

Right-hander Tanner Roark’s velocity was down and he was walking too many guys. But you look up at the final line score and the most important stat of the night? He allowed the Marlins only two runs. Down 2-0, the Nats came back to beat the Marlins 3-2 on a Brian Goodwin solo shot and Andrew Stevenson’s spectacular, game-ending, diving catch. Roark kept his club

Kintzler, Madson and Doolittle provide unique 1-2-3 punch

The Nationals were able to put out their newly minted 1-2-3 punch for the final three innings Thursday in a series-clinching 3-2 victory over the Marlins. Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle held the Marlins scoreless in those three frames, surrendering only two hits with no walks and striking out three. The trio arrived after the Nats had comeback from a 2-0 deficit to

Stanton homer starts off game (Nats win 3-2)

Tanner Roark got through the first two innings unscathed. But in the third, Dee Gordon singled. Giancarlo Stanton followed with a two-homer on a 1-1 pitch from Roark. His 39th homer of the year went over the left field wall. The Marlins lead 2-0. The Nationals earned a base hit off the bat of Matt Wieters in in the third but not much else yet

Updates on Strasburg, Murphy, Kendrick and Taylor

Nationals manager Dusty Baker says Daniel Murphy is fine and his quad is doing better, so he has placed the second baseman back in the lineup tonight. They kept him out of the lineup yesterday to be careful. “That’s why we took precaution on yesterday’s game,” Baker said. “It worked out well. You don’t want Murph missing too many games but you certainly also don’t

Sanchez delivers as Nats organizational depth shines

One reason why the Nationals have been able to sustain their big lead in the division with all their injuries is the play of all of their call-ups. The depth of the organization has been tested and these call-ups have been able to play close to the level of the starter they replaced. Another case in point Wednesday was the play of second baseman Adrián

Zimmerman hits two homers, sets RBI record in 10-1 win

First baseman Ryan Zimmerman started off the season well at the plate, hitting .330 with 19 homers in the first half of the season. But his average has declined each month since the beginning of April: .420, .319, .283 to .234 in July. August continued that trend as he went 2-for-23 (.087) prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. But then Wednesday, Zimmerman reminded

Zimmerman sets franchise RBI record (Nats win 10-1)

Ryan Zimmerman crushed a solo homer off of Marlins starter Adam Conley to lead off the second inning. His 25th homer of the season was also his 906th career RBI, which sets the all-time Nats/Expos franchise record. The previous record was held by former Expos third baseman Tim Wallach, who is currently the Marlins bench coach. Howie Kendrick and Wilmer Difo added back-to-back singles with

Werth upbeat his return is close, begins running tomorrow

Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth has been engaging in batting practice to start this homestand against the Marlins. He was seen taking swings last week during batting practice at Marlins Park, and that continued here at Nats Park. Werth has been on the disabled list since June 4 with a contusion that turned out to be a broken bone in his left foot. He has

Matt Grace says new relievers help bullpen “feed off one another”

The additions of three newcomers in the bullpen in Brandon Kintzler, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson has helped the Nats bullpen get back on track and establish a new identity. Left-hander Matt Grace said the mindset the newly shaped bullpen exudes rubs off on the other guys that are still here. “I think so. I think if everyone is pitching well in a bullpen it

Baker’s knee locks up during game, will get checked out: “I’m fine”

Injuries to the offense continue to mount up for the first place Nationals. Manager Dusty Baker confirmed that second baseman Daniel Murphy did not start Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to the Marlins because of a sore hip. Left fielder Howie Kendrick already missed the game because of a tender back. The club has also been playing without starters Trea Turner, Jayson Werth and Michael A. Taylor.

Cole steady early on (Marlins win 7-3)

Nationals Right-hander A.J. Cole got off to an outstanding start with strikeouts of Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton. He finished off a 1-2-3 first inning with a groundout off the bat of Christian Yelich. He hit a batter in the second and endured a fielding error by second baseman Adrián Sanchez in the third, but managed to complete three innings without allowing a run or

Baker now has several arms to choose from in his bullpen

With the arrival of three new relievers - Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle and Brandon Kintzler - general manager Mike Rizzo has done a nice job of retooling the Nationals bullpen. It has already made life easier for manager Dusty Baker. On Monday night, Baker employed Kintzler and Doolittle to get the final six outs in a 3-2 Nats win over the Marlins. But did Baker

Eighth inning? Tie game? Adam Lind time

With the game tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth and a man in scoring position, it was a pretty obvious choice which pinch-hitter Nationals manager Dusty Baker would go to. He went with pinch-hitter Adam Lind. All Lind has done this season is hit .314 with three homers and 14 RBIs in the eighth inning. In the last three innings of a

Scherzer’s neck strong enough, returns to form in Nats’ 3-2 win

Six days ago in Miami, Max Scherzer threw one warm-up pitch to begin the second inning way outside and quickly walked off the mound towards the dugout. Seeing their ace pitcher in discomfort, manager Dusty Baker, Nationals players and fans were concerned about a worst-case scenario. When a pitcher as strong and resilient as Scherzer leaves before the second inning begins, in a game where

Scherzer off to good start, O’Grady leaves injured (Nats win 3-2)

Already this start is going better for Max Scherzer than his last outing. Minus his very own three-run homer, of course. Scherzer has allowed only a Derek Dietrich double in the second inning so far. After three innings, he has struck out four hitters. No sign that his neck is bothering him at all. Scherzer had to leave his last start against the Marlins in

Dusty Baker remembers Don Baylor, spoke with him recently

Legendary power hitter Don Baylor died Monday of cancer at the age of 68. He played 19 seasons of in the major leagues, earning the 1979 American League Most Valuable Player award and playing on the Twins’ 1987 World Series championship club. Baylor played in one All-Star Game and earned three Silver Slugger Awards. He later managed the Rockies and Cubs, winning National League Manager

Strasburg bullpen “went real well,” plus other injury updates

Manager Dusty Baker confirmed that right-hander Stephen Strasburg made it through his bullpen session Sunday very well. Strasburg has been on the disabled list with a right elbow nerve impingement retroactive to July 24. He has missed a couple of starts and this week will miss his third turn in a row. Pitching coach Mike Maddux on the Strasburg bullpen session work Sunday: “Good, went

Game 110 lineups: Marlins at Nats

The Nationals return home for an extended stay at Nats Park, with the next nine games scheduled for home and four straight against the Marlins starting tonight. It has rained all day in the D.C. area, but they are hoping it will dissipate enough to get tonight’s game in. Right-hander Max Scherzer (12-5, 2.21 ERA) takes on George Mason product left-hander Chris O’Grady (2-1, 5.40

P-Nats offense spotlight: Sagdal, Wiseman, Gushue, Davidson, Johnson

I sat down with high Single-A Potomac Nationals manager Tripp Keister as the club embarked on a road trip this weekend into Winston-Salem. Keister likes what he has seen in the work ethic of his ballclub and went over a few of the offensive players on the P-Nats and their season’s work to date: First baseman Ian Sagdal: .251/.303/.397, .324 in last 10 games “He’s

Taylor “looks good, he feels good” as he rehabs with P-Nats (updated)

Nationals center fielder Michael A. Taylor (oblique) continues his rehab tonight with the high Single-A Potomac Nationals at Winston-Salem. He is expected to start in center field. He took Thursday off. Taylor has hit in three games for the P-Nats, going 2-for-7 (.286) with two intentional walks, two strikeouts, two runs and a stolen base. Potomac manager Tripp Keister says there is a back story

Postseason bench will be strong, but who’s odd man out?

With the addition of veteran infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick, the Nationals have the makings of an extremely lethal offense starting eight and bench. The club will be especially potent when it gets back starters Jayson Werth, Michael A. Taylor and Trea Turner. Taylor appears the closest of those three to getting back. He began his rehab assignment Monday night for the high Single-A Potomac Nationals, going

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