Patrick Reddington: Rizzo flourishing in role of building Nationals into contenders

Before Mike Rizzo was hired as Washington’s full-time general manager on Thursday, August 20, 2009, after serving on an interim basis for the Nationals throughout the ‘09 season, there was a bit of drama in the nation’s capital. For a time, at least according to published reports, it appeared as if someone else might get the job. Once he was officially announced the full-time GM, ... read more

David Huzzard: Jonathan Papelbon really isn’t a big problem for Nats

It isn’t difficult to find weakness with the 2016 Nationals, which is a bit odd, because at 19-8 they have the second- best record in baseball. Just ask Nats fans and they’ll tell you the team could be even better if it weren’t for that darn closer, Jonathan Papelbon. The thing about closers is they all blow saves and they all struggle at times, but ... read more

Opposite dugout: Dominant Cubs welcome red-hot Nationals for four-game set

Manager: Joe Maddon (2nd season) Record: 20-6 Last 10 games: 8-2 Who to watch: CF Dexter Fowler (.348/.470/.587 with 15 RBIs), 3B Kris Bryant (.303/.395/.495 with 4 HR, 17 RBIs), 1B Anthony Rizzo (9 HR, 27 RBIs), RHP Jake Arrieta (6-0, 0.84 ERA), RHP Jason Hammel (4-0, 1.24 ERA), RHP Hector Rondon (1.00 ERA with 4 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: First meeting (4-3 in ... read more

Charlie Fliegel: Slow starts nothing new for Zimmerman

Ryan Zimmerman had what you might call a poor April. Of course, he’s not the only one on the team that did, but after two disappointing and injury-prone seasons, there is some worry that maybe he isn’t a very good hitter anymore. However, it’s not time to worry about Zimmerman, at least not yet. Actually, March and April doldrums are not unfamiliar to the Nats’ ... read more

Steve Mears: A look at the Nats’ developing outfielders

The Nationals’ minor league affiliates are developing outfielders, and this started years ago with Billy Burns, who was used as trade bait to snag Jerry Blevins. In a subsequent trade of Blevins, Mike Rizzo traded him to snag Matt den Dekker. Let’s review the pipeline of prospects: * Hagerstown Low-A, Victor Robles* Potomac High-A, Andrew Stevenson* Harrisburg Double-A, Rafael Bautista* Syracuse Triple-A, Brian Goodwin All ... read more

Marty Niland: Nationals pitchers showing no need for DH role

When the Nationals visit the Kansas City Royals tonight, manager Dusty Baker will pencil a designated hitter into his lineup for the first time this season. But even playing in an American League park, Baker might actually think twice before he doing so. Most Nationals fans could sense that Joe Ross was done for the day as he walked off the field after tossing six ... read more

Opposite dugout: Royals enter interleague series after rough road trip

Manager: Ned Yost (7th year) Record: 13-11 Last 10 games: 4-6 Who to watch: 1B Eric Hosmer (.333/.374/.538 with 4 HR, 9 RBIs), 3B Mike Moustakas (7 HR,11 RBIs), C Salvador Perez (14 RBIs), RHP Edinson Volquez (3-1, 3.34 ERA), RHP Wade Davis (8 saves, 0.00 ERA), RHP Kelvin Herrera (0.00 ERA, 17 Ks in 12 1/3 IP) Season series vs. Nationals: First meeting (1-2 ... read more

Patrick Reddington: Walking a fine line with Bryce Harper

Twins closer Kevin Jepsen challenged Bryce Harper and lost. Harper hit a ninth-inning home run to straightaway center field in Nationals Park to tie Sunday’s game up and send it to extra innings. In an MLB Network Radio interview on Monday, Nationals manager Dusty Baker was asked about the Twins’ decision to pitch to the Nats’ 23-year-old slugger with a one-run lead. “The thing about ... read more