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Offense reminds what it can do with Werth and Zimmerman homering

The Nationals lineup was back to where it was supposed to be from opening day in a 6-1 win over Pittsburgh on Friday, minus center fielder Adam Eaton, who is out for the season with a major knee injury. The lineup delivered with a pair of electrifying innings where it contributed multiple hits -- the sixth and the eighth. The offense even put together four

Strasburg strong run to the finish line, now prepares for Chicago

If there was a start Stephen Strasburg wanted to have to get him tuned up right before the postseason begins next week, this was the one. Strasburg fired 7 2/3 shutout innings and Ryan Zimmerman had a pair of homers with four RBIs as the Nationals rolled the Pirates 6-1. Strasburg did not allow a hit until there was two outs in the fifth. He

Strasburg rolling against Pirates again (Nats win 6-1)

Stephen Strasburg likes recording strikeouts against the Pirates. He struck out a then career-high 14 against Pittsburgh in his major league debut on June 8, 2010. On May 27, 2017, he struck out 15 against San Diego in a 3-0 win. After a 1-2-3 first inning, Strasburg struck out five of his next six batters faced. He struck out the side in the third. The

With all hands on deck, Baker can finally put out his lineup of choice

For the first time in a long time, the Nationals finally have their projected starting lineup back. And it comes with three games left in the season. The question is will Dusty Baker use this same lineup for the postseason. Probably not. Baker has placed Bryce Harper in the No. 2 hole to maximize the number of at-bats he can get during a game if

Game 160 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates

The Nationals are prepping their starters for the National League Division Series and if tonight’s starter Stephen Strasburg is the Game 2 starter, he will have eight days off. Game 2 of the NLDS is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7. Strasburg has had a tremendous year, going 14-4 with a 2.68 ERA. Tonight is a good test for the Nats hitters, facing a very good

With a heavy heart, Jackson proud to pitch well in his final start

Nationals right-hander Edwin Jackson arrived Thursday night for his start against the Pirates having allowed 22 earned runs in his last four starts, losing three of those games. So for Jackson to give the Nats six solid innings and allowing only two runs on four hits while striking out seven was a nice way to end the regular season. The Nats were able to win

De Aza walk-off single in bottom of ninth (Nats win 5-4)

The Nationals jumped out in the first thanks to a leadoff double by Wilmer Difo. Victor Robles sacrificed to the pitcher to get Difo to third. After Anthony Rendon walked, Daniel Murphy’s single scored Difo. After two innings, the Nats led 1-0. But the Pirates rallied in the third against Nats starter Edwin Jackson. With one out, Max Moroff walked. Moroff reached second after a

Baker credits success to leadership in clubhouse; plus Minor League awards

With four games remaining on the regular season schedule and the division decided weeks ago, manager Dusty Baker is hearing questions about the upcoming post season start to dominate his pregame news conferences. The Nationals know they will face the defending champion Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series beginning Friday, October 6 at Nats Park. Thursday against the Pirates, Baker was asked how

Gonzalez walks five in 4-1 loss, but “felt good”

PHILADELPHIA - For only the third time this season, left-hander Gio Gonzalez walked five batters in a game. Two walks to begin the third inning came around to score, igniting a three-run outburst that helped to lift the Phillies past the Nats, 4-1. Gonzalez had walked seven against the Diamondbacks May 3 and five against the Cubs June 26. It was a rare sight to

Harper with three at-bats in return: “It felt good to be back”

PHILADELPHIA - Bryce Harper returned from the disabled list with three at-bats Tuesday in the Nats’ 4-1 loss to the Phillies. On defense, he was tested early and made a good play retrieving a double down the right field line off the bat of Aaron Altherr in the first inning. Harper’s footwork and speed to the ball, plus the turn and throw, were a good

Kendrick haunts old team with homer (Phillies win 4-1)

PHILADELPHIA - The middle of the Nats lineup consists of a pair of former Phillies: Howie Kendrick and Jayson Werth. Werth has been with the Nats since 2011. Kendrick came over in a mid-season deal. Kendrick got the offense going for the Nats with a solo homer to deep center field. His ninth homer of the season came on an 0-2 pitch from Phillies starter

Bryce Harper on return: “Excited to be back out there with the guys”

PHILADELPHIA - Right fielder Bryce Harper is back. He was supposed to return Monday, but it was moved back a day due to flu-like symptoms. You can tell from listening to his voice he is still quite congested. But that’s not going to stop him from playing tonight. “Yeah, I just didn’t feel well,” Harper said of Monday. “Got up early and just didn’t feel

Game 157 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - The day has finally arrived. Bryce Harper has finally been reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and will start tonight for the Nationals. He has been out since Aug. 12 with knee and calf injuries. He missed Monday due to flu-like symptoms. He has six games to get ramped up before the team turns its attention to the National League Division Series. Harper

Bryce Harper reinstated

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals have officially reinstated right fielder Bryce Harper from the disabled list. He is expected to start tonight as the Nats and Phillies meet again in Philadelphia. Harper had missed 42 games after injuring his knee and calf running to first base on Aug. 12. He has worked extensively since to get back healthy. Recently, he has participated in simulated games and

Bullpen doing its job again, but what’s up with Romero usage?

PHILADELPHIA - The bullpen shined again Monday. Four relievers, three of them left-handers, shut out the Phillies for the final 10 outs of the game in a 3-1 Nationals win. A key battle occurred in the sixth. Starter A.J. Cole notched two outs to begin the frame. But the Phillies sandwiched a single in there by Odúbel Herrera, who had earlier crushed a solo shot.

Cole and Taylor key 3-1 win; Baker updates Harper’s status

PHILADELPHIA - Right-hander A.J. Cole and center fielder Michael A. Taylor, whose paths have crossed a few times in the organization over the years, combined to lift the Nationals past the Phillies 3-1 in the opening game of a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night. Cole spun 5 2/3 solid innings, allowing only an Odubel Herrera line drive homer in the fourth,

Taylor goes yard to help Cole (Nats win 3-1)

PHILADELPHIA - Right-hander A.J. Cole did a nice job of getting out of what could have turned into difficult situations in his first two innings tonight against the Phillies. In the first, Nick Williams singled with two outs. But Cole was able to get Rhys Hoskins to ground into a fielder’s choice to third to end the inning. In the second, Aaron Altherr singled and

Baker says Harper has flu-like symptoms, Rendon’s foot sore

PHILADELPHIA - With all the positive steps forward Bryce Harper had made these last few weeks as he recovered from knee and calf injuries, it appeared that the 2015 National League MVP would return to the lineup Monday night as the Nats took on the Phillies in their first game of a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park. But Harper was not in the lineup

Game 156 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Welcome to Bryce Harper Day! The Nationals are hoping this will be the night they get their star right fielder back into a game after missing close to a month and a half with a hyperextended knee and strained calf. To date, he hasn’t been activated, and he’s not in the starting lineup for tonight’s game at Citizens Bank Park. The Nats are

Grace in “rhythm,” feels “good right now” as postseason approaches

With the postseason now just two weeks away, the conversation continues as to how many left-handed relievers the Nationals will carry on the playoff roster. Sean Dollittle is a lock as the closer. But will the Nats also carry Enny Romero, Sammy Soliís, Oliver Pérez and Matt Grace? I spoke to Solís this week about the competition for the left-handed spots on the postseason roster.

Solís taking every outing “very seriously” as he vies for postseason spot

Left-hander Sammy Solís has been pitching well the last few games. He hopes this run to the finish line will be enough to prove he deserves a spot on the postseason roster. Solís has a 1.35 ERA in his last seven games. But he did not pitch in May or June, making only 11 appearances before Aug. 1. Solís was on the disabled list with

Lind proves his worth with big at-bats in key late-game moments

The Nationals have searched for a few seasons for a pinch-hit bat that could come through in the clutch on a consistent basis. Several players have done a nice job of filling that role but none better than the work of veteran Adam Lind in 2017. Lind was signed in the offseason and has been the best pinch-hit answer for the Nats in the short

Zimmerman’s homers meaningful in more ways than one for Nats

Ryan Zimmerman wanted to remind everyone that the Nationals offense is just fine. And he did it with back-to-back swings late Sunday night at Nationals Park. In the Nats’ 7-1 victory over the Dodgers, Zimmerman crushed a game-changing three-run shot in the sixth and then a solo homer in his next at-bat to lead off the eighth. Those homers, numbers 32 and 33 on the

Strasburg scoreless inning string ends at 35 (Nats win 7-1)

The Dodgers found a way to score a run off of Stephen Strasburg in the second inning. Yasiel Puig singled and stole second base. With two outs, Logan Forsythe’s drive went off the glove of Michael A. Taylor in deep center field for a double. Puig scored. The Dodgers lead 1-0. Strasburg’s franchise-record 34 scoreless innings ends at 35. The Nationals managed two base hits

Baker on facing Dodgers without Scherzer, Harper and others

Seeing the Nationals fall to the Dodgers 7-0 and 3-2, with Edwin Jackson and A.J. Cole starting, some wonder whether the Nats are holding back a bit, perhaps waiting to step on the gas until they can turn Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark or Gio Gonzalez loose on the Dodgers in October. Manager Dusty Baker offered that one might analyze the Dodgers in the

Nats keep it close, but fall again to Dodgers 3-2

The Dodgers beat the Nationals for the second game in a row in this series, but this one was much more competitive than Friday’s 7-0 setback. Rich Hill fired five innings of one-hit, one-run ball and five relievers combined to allow one more run as the Dodgers held on to beat the Nats 3-2. Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth to record his 38th

Hill in groove, Dodgers homer early (Nats fall 3-2)

The Dodgers jumped ahead of the Nationals early for the second game in a row. Facing A.J. Cole, Cody Bellinger launched a solo homer to lead off the second inning. Coming on an 0-1 pitch, it was his 38th homer of the season. In the third, Bellinger added an RBI single that scored Chase Utley, who had doubled. Rich Hill has not allowed the Nats

Koda Glover rehabbing pain in shoulder, shut down until November

Nationals right-hander Koda Glover returned to the clubhouse Friday after rehabbing in Florida since mid-June. Glover had been placed on the disabled list June 11 with lower back stiffness. It was his second trip to the DL. Back in late April, he worked through a left hip impingement. Despite all that time on the disabled list, there was optimism about a month ago that Glover

Game 148 lineups: Nats vs. Dodgers

The Nationals are looking to bounce back from an uncomfortable 7-0 loss to the Dodgers to open the three-game series between National League heavyweights. Three early home runs were too much to overcome and the Nats offense struggled to get a rally going all night. The Nats do have some players on upward trends. Shortstop Trea Turner is holding steady at 40 steals on the

Werth another step forward with solid at-bats in series finale

Big positive for left fielder Jayson Werth who has now played two games in a row after returning from a sore shoulder. On Thursday, Werth went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Nationals’ 5-2 win over the Braves. “He had four great at-bats tonight,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Flirted with the wall a couple times and he’s feeling better and you see Trea (Turner) is

Robles shows off lightning speed as Nats drop Braves

September call-ups can give baseball fans a glimpse into the future of their club, teasing them for what might be in the next season - or for years to come. But when your top prospect comes up and is only 20, it might be too much pressure to put on his shoulders to deliver in his first few games at the sport’s top level. That

Werth provides early offense, Roark dealing (Nats win 5-2)

Jayson Werth’s first at-bat in his return to the lineup on Wednesday was a double to left field. He continued to contribute offensively in his first trip to the plate tonight. In the bottom of the first, Trea Turner doubled to lead off the inning against Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz. Werth, moved to the two-hole, singled to bring home Turner and give the Nats an

Extra meaningful games can pay dividends for Nats prospects in future

Every season, college basketball teams dream of earning a bid in the NCAA tournament. For teams that make it to the big dance every year, it becomes an advantage the next season because the team has extra practices and extra games that 250 other teams don’t get to benefit from. A lot of young players get to play in those extra games - incredibly meaningful

2017 Nationals fall instructional league roster and schedule

Here is an exclusive look at the Nationals’ fall instructional league roster for 2017. The report date in Sunday in West Palm Beach, Fla., and their first workout is Monday, Sept. 18. The last day is Oct. 7. Schedule: Sept. 25 - at Astros Sept. 26 - Camp day Sept. 27 - Camp day Sept. 28 - Astros Sept. 29 - Camp day Sept. 30

Turner with 40th stolen base and three hits in loss, focuses on health

Nationals shortstop Trea Turner stole his 40th base of the season Wednesday night in an 8-2 loss to the Braves. That would be impressive for an everyday player who had logged 130 or so games by this time of the season. But Turner missed a combined 61 games due to a broken wrist and a hamstring strain. He has stolen 40 bases in just 379

Scherzer quick out of blocks, but fades (Braves win 8-2)

Right-hander Max Scherzer walked Ozzie Albies to start the game, but Matt Wieters was able to catch Albies stealing during the Dansby Swanson at-bat. Swanson fouled out to Trea Turner. Freddie Freeman struck out on a 95 mph fastball from Scherzer to end the inning. The Nationals got on the board thanks to a single from Turner in the first inning. He stole second base

Baker on how many left-handed relievers they will carry in playoffs

The Nationals make their way towards the National League Division Series with some decisions to make in the bullpen and specifically how many left-handers they will carry in the post season. Left-handed closer Sean Doolittle leads the list as the lock. He is 1-0 with 20 saves, a 2.78 ERA and nine holds in 47 games. He is 17-for-17 in save opportunities with the Nats.

Gonzalez allowed too many big hits in loss to Braves

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez got knocked around Tuesday night in an 8-0 loss to the Braves. The big hit arrived in the third inning when Freddie Freeman launched a three-run homer over the center field wall halfway up the grassy hill. That gave Atlanta a 4-0 lead. Despite a day off Monday, the Nationals couldn’t get back to their good vibes from Sunday, when they clinched

Freeman sets tone versus Gonzalez (Braves win 8-0)

The Braves came out quickly against left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Matt Kemp delivered a run-scoring single to put the Braves up 1-0 in the first inning. Then, in the third inning, Ender Inciarte walked. Ozzie Albies singled. Michael A. Taylor bobbled the ball in center field and threw high and late to third base. Inciarte moved to third and Albies to second. Taylor was tagged with

Baker updates progress of Harper and Werth, importance of Kendrick

Nationals manager Dusty Baker updated the recovery of right fielder Bryce Harper, who has been out with a hyperextended left knee and a strained calf since Aug. 13. He has missed 29 games. Harper has played catch once in Miami and once here last weekend prior to a game against the Phillies. He appeared to be throwing well and with no limitations from 90 feet.

With division title clinched, Nats focus on health

The Nationals clinched their fourth division title in the past six seasons on Sunday night and now have three and a half weeks before their first 2017 playoff game commences. The goal is to get everyone healthy, especially Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper. If that happens, this will be the strongest 25-man contingent that Nats have put on the field since their first splash into

Youth serves as Nats secure back-to-back division titles

The Nationals won their second consecutive division title Sunday with a 3-2 win over the Phillies and a 10-8 Braves win in 11 innings that eliminated the Marlins. And it wasn’t lost on the players during their celebration that the Sunday clinching lineup included recent prospects, youngsters and guys who have never played in the majors until this season. Sunday’s lineup included regular Trea Turner,

Strasburg on target again (Nats win 3-2)

The combination of Stephen Strasburg and a young lineup desperate to show they belong could be a recipe for difficulty for the Phillies. Strasburg has struck out five in three innings. He has also enjoyed fine catches by right fielder Rafael Bautista and a Sun Monster-conquering catch from rookie Victor Robles. Ben Lively has kept pace for the Phillies. Wilmer Difo doubled in the first

Game 143 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

Manager Dusty Baker said Saturday he was going to start the youngsters in Sunday’s series finale against the Phillies so his regulars can have two full days off before the Braves arrive Tuesday night. And with a win and a Marlins loss today, the Nationals will lock up their second consecutive National League East crown, and fourth in six seasons. Monday is a scheduled day

Phillies able to solve Jackson early in 5-4 win over Nats

Edwin Jackson did not receive a very kind birthday present from the Phillies on Saturday night. They were able to see his pitches very well in a 5-4 setback. The right-hander, now 34 years of age, allowed two early homers to Rhys Hoskins and Maikel Franco that set the tone. The Phillies added three more runs in the fourth. The Nationals battled back from a

Each team launches homers early (Phillies win 5-4)

The Nationals jumped on the board first against Phillies starter Mark Leiter Jr. Former Phillies outfielder Howie Kendrick launched a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall to give the Nats a 1-0 lead. The Phillies answered in the second inning with solo homers by Rhys Hoskins and Maikel Franco off Edwin Jackson for a 2-1 lead. After two innings, the Nats trail by one

Baker confirms youngsters will start Sunday to give veterans rest

Manager Dusty Baker confirmed that Stephen Strasburg will make the start Sunday not because the Nationals will necessarily have a chance to clinch the National League East division title but really because he has just been very good recently. “He’s got a pretty good thing going right now,” Baker said. Strasburg is 2-1 with a 0.67 ERA in his last four starts, striking out 31

One-run wins build character, show quality Nats bullpen

The Nationals are now 25-17 in one-run games after Thursday’s 4-3 victory over the Phillies. The victory was the Nats’ 34th comeback win of the season. Three of the Nats’ last five wins have come by a single run. They have gone 30-16 in series openers this season, as well. These are statistics that could be beneficial come playoff time. There will be opportunities against

Roark, Turner and bullpen lift Nats past Phillies 4-3

Nationals starter Tanner Roark kept his club in the game long enough for a comeback, and then the bullpen shut the door again for three innings in a 4-3 win over the Phillies on Thursday night. The Nats’ magic number to clinch the National League East has dropped to four, thanks to the Braves’ comeback 6-5 win over the Marlins in Atlanta. Roark went six

De Aza helps Roark’s cause (Nats win 4-3)

The Nationals got on the board first against the Phillies and Aaron Nola in the first of four games Thursday night at Nats Park. With one out in the second, Michael A. Taylor reached on a throwing error by first baseman Tommy Joseph and promptly stole second base. With two outs, Alejandro De Aza lined a single to left field to score Taylor for a

Baker says promoted Robles is “tremendous talent”

Manager Dusty Baker remembers top prospect Victor Robles from the outfielder’s play in spring training in February and March, and has seen the 20-year-old progress to the point where he joined the Nationals today. “He didn’t play a whole bunch, but he wasn’t intimidated at all,” Baker said. “He was happy to be there. He’s actually one of the leaders of the young Latin corps

Game 140 lineups: Nats. vs Phillies (Victor Robles selected)

The Nationals return home to begin a 10-game home stand with the magic number to clinch the National League East at six as they begin four games against the Phillies. The club made a major announcement prior to the game that their top prospect, center fielder Victor Robles has had his contract selected from Double-A Harrisburg. Also called up are outfielders Andrew Stevenson and Rafael

Soto with big day, AFL roster set for Nats prospects

Outfielder Juan Soto continued his rehab from hamate bone surgery with an outstanding performance with the Gulf Coast Nationals. Soto is a Top 100 prospect, and has put together his first professional five-hit performance by going 5-for-5 with a double, a triple, three RBIs and two runs scored in a game on September 2. Soto hit second and played right field in the GCL Nationals’

Trying to steal signs on the Nats? That is a difficult task

Manager Dusty Baker calls it the toughest coaching job on the field. It’s the job of the third base coach. That coach gets criticized every time a runner is thrown out at the plate and rarely gets the credit when another runner scores. Some fans have taken to calling Nationals third base coach Bobby Henley, “Send-ley,” due to his aggressive style. Henley has never worried

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