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Dave Nichols: Jordan Zimmermann is ace in the hole

Ho-hum. Jordan Zimmermann threw another outstanding game last night. It’s unfortunate that a defensive miscue set up the only run of the game allowed and his teammates couldn’t muster an attack against the Angels in a 1-0 defeat, to drop the Washington Nationals one game below .500 exactly half-way through the 2011 baseball season. Tell me, right now, that at the beginning of the season

Dave Nichols: Losses put winning streak in perspective

So the Washington Nationals lose two in a row and folks are ready to run Davey Johnson out on a rail? A quick look this morning at different social media indicates just how fickle this fan base is. Comments such as “the old man doesn’t know how to manage a pitching staff” and “I stayed up to watch that?” are prevalent. All of a sudden,

Dave Nichols: Is it time to be worried about Werth?

To say that Washington Nationals $126 million man Jayson Werth is struggling would be a dramatic understatement. After last night’s 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, Werth is hitting a robust .224/.329/.391, all career lows for seasons with more than 300 plate appearances. At the pace he’s on, there’s no way he’ll even come close to his 162-game average of 25 home runs or

Dave Nichols: New era for Nationals baseball?

The Washington Nationals have won 13 of their last 15 games. That’s pretty heady stuff. When play ended Sunday, the Nats owned a 40-38 record, a mere 3 1/2 games out of the Wild Card. This run that they’re on right now can only be described with one word: ridiculous. On this streak, the Nats have won close games and blowouts. They’ve pitched over their

Drew Kinback: Selfish Riggleman played chicken, lost in a walk-off

I really don’t want to write about Jim Riggleman. First, he doesn’t deserve it, considering his actions yesterday; resigning only moments after the Nationals organization hit a peak after sweeping the Seattle Mariners and moving over .500. Second, he ruined my Thursday night because as a Nationals blogger I tend to have to keep on top of these sorts of news stories and it kept

Drew Kinback: Reeling from Rizzo’s rope-a-dope

The greatest sporting event I never witnessed took place on Oct. 30, 1974 in the Mai 20 Stadium in Kinshasa, Zaire. It was a title bout for the boxing heavyweight championship of the world. It pitted champion George Foreman against challenger Muhammad Ali. Labeled “The Rumble In The Jungle,” the match went on to become one of the most legendary sporting events in history -

Free tickets!

Don’t worry, Nationals fans. I wouldn’t create such a tantalizing headline without actually meaning it. Thanks to Venga, the mobile application that gives subscribers the scoop on what’s happening at bars, restaurants and nightlife venues around you, fans will have a chance to win tickets to the Nationals’ doubleheader against Pittsburgh on July 2. Claiming the tickets couldn’t be easier. Simply follow Venga on Twitter

Drew Kinback: Cordero represented what’s right about baseball

I’ve actually sat at my computer for the past two hours looking at a blank screen trying to figure out how to exactly put into words at how absolutely heartbroken I am to hear that former Nationals closer Chad “The Chief” Cordero is retiring from baseball. I just can’t find the words. It is like being a child too shy to go up to your

Drew Kinback: Recipe for Nationals victory waffles

It has been a good week in NatsTown. The Nationals pulled off an eight-game win streak, have pulled themselves into third place in the National League East, put themselves within striking distance of .500 and somehow got their name in talks for the Wild Card. They also put the hurting on an NL Central powerhouse in the Cardinals and won Round 2 of the Battle

2011 Dream Gala

I’ve always found it a little strange to see baseball players out of uniform. We’re so accustomed to watching them take the field on a daily basis, recognizable only by their last name and corresponding number on the back of their jersey. In fact, if you’re fortunate enough to bump into a player on the street or outside of the ballpark, it can sometimes take

Father of the Year

First off, I would like to extend a very happy Father’s Day to all dads out there, particularly those currently away from their families serving in the military. For me, the word “dad” conjures up memories of grilling outside, weekend bike rides and, of course, trips to the ballpark. In fact, if not for my dad introducing me to the sport, I’m not sure I

Will Yoder: Nationals’ rotation still one of the best

Entering the 2011 season, many felt the Nationals dropped the ball over the winter in a rather public attempt to shore up their starting rotation. General manager Mike Rizzo made no secret that he was out to get another major league-level starter, and when he failed to sign even one of his targets, many were worried about the rotation the Nats had to offer. Quite

Look for the same broadcast team this weekend

Am I the only one who thinks a Battle of the Beltways logo would look pretty cool? I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, so I’m certainly not the one to design it, but I’m picturing the two highways tangled together, steel entrenched with gridlock traffic popping out all over. Hey, it’s just an idea, but for anyone who has to travel along

Will Yoder: Is Yunesky Maya running out of chances?

The Washington Nationals optioned starting pitcher Yunesky Maya to Triple-A Syracuse yesterday in order to add another bullpen option for Jim Riggleman until Tom Gorzelanny makes his next expected start Sunday. While the demotion was expected, Maya didn’t exactly do much to inspire the Nationals to make room on the roster to keep the 29-year-old Cuban. In four starts, Maya went 0-1 and posted a

Will Yoder: LaRoche’s shoulder surgery renews questions about first base

MASNsports.com’s Ben Goessling reported Tuesday night that Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche will, in fact, need season-ending surgery to repair a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. The left-handed slugger had hit just .172/.288/.258 for the Nationals in 177 plate appearances before the club made the move to shut down the first baseman late last month. After an attempt to rehab the shoulder

Thanks, NatsTown, for enriching my life in so many ways

Well, friends. It’s that time. I know there’s no crying in baseball, but it’s difficult to say goodbye. Over the past five years, I’ve been blessed with countless opportunities to immerse myself in a game I love with all my heart. I learned so much during that time, more than I ever could have imagined. One of the most rewarding parts of writing this blog

Will Yoder: Zimmerman likely to return today; what effect will he have?

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is scheduled to make his return to the Nationals lineup today after missing 58 games as a result of an abdominal injury. It’s been a day the club has been looking forward to practically all season, and it’s one that could desperately help the club out of its horrendous offensive slump. In his absence, the Nationals have gone 27-31 overall, but

Some new eats and tasty treats

We all know the real reason we go to the ballpark. It’s not so we can sit and watch a baseball game for nine innings, or spend the afternoon with our friends and family sharing in some quality time. Forget all of that. The real perk of going to a major league baseball game? It’s all about the food, baby. It’s hard to imagine going

Will Yoder: Should the Nationals consider trading Clippard?

Tyler Clippard is a wanted man. Nearly any time you hear about a playoff-bound team speaking with the Nationals about a potential trade, the availability of Clippard is almost always one of the first questions asked. And why wouldn’t they? Over the past three years, and especially this season, he has been a lights-out reliever who gets it done in high-pressure situations and has a

Ladies Night set for June 16

The first Ladies Night event for the 2011 season is scheduled for Thursday, June 16 when the Nationals host the St. Louis Cardinals. The pregame happy hour ticket includes player appearances, drink specials, an exclusive gift, games, prizes, demonstrations, samples, music and entertainment. The $40 price also includes an outfield reserved seat and a $10 concession credit. Fans can purchase tickets at nationals.com/ladiesnight. If you

Rachel Levitin: Hair-raising growth of hirsute Twitter accounts

If you’re a baseball fan on Twitter these days, it’s likely that you’ve encountered an account for a ball player’s facial hair. Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth’s beard has a Twitter handle, as does San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson’s jet-black growth. Nationals farmhands Bryce Harper (and his attempt at upper-lip fuzz) and Collin Balestar’s mustache have also gotten into the Twitter game. All this talk

Rachel Levitin: Electric Harper challenging short attention spans

It’s not the most reliable of sources, but Bleacher Report had an interesting take on the Bryce Harper kiss situation. While the unwritten rule of respecting one’s opposition by not showing them up was clearly broken, Bleacher Report is under the impression that this is a rule that should be broken. Why? Because people want to be entertained while watching a game. In today’s 24-hour

Draft picks on Twitter

Here’s a quick, but not necessarily verified list of athletes drafted by the Nationals during the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Make sure to welcome them to NatsTown. Alex Meyer: @AlexMeyer17 Meyer tweeted: “Just got drafted by the Washington Nationals!!!” on June 6. Greg Holt: @reggieholt14 Caleb Ramsey: @CRamsey28 Blake Monar: @BlakeMonar Hawtin Buchanan: @Hawtin_Buchanan Buchanan tweeted: “Just got drafted by the Washington Nationals. Thanks everyone

Rachel Levitin: Recalling poise, power and hype surpassing expectation

It isn’t often hype matches and then surpasses expectation, but last year on this very date, that’s what Washington watched live at Nationals Park. Pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg became a part of Nationals folklore when he made his major league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The start was by no means shaky, but there were a few moments where the victory almost slipped away. Thanks

Ticket sales to benefit disaster relief

During the next homestand, the Washington Nationals will raise funds for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to help victims of recent tornadoes across the country. From Alabama to Missouri, the Red Cross has launched 20 separate relief operations in the United States since March 31. More than 4,500 Red Cross workers from all 50 states have been deployed to help those in need.

Rachel Levitin: Uniform alteration could fashion change for Nats

If I were a Washington National, the ever-changing daily lineup would start to bother me after a while. It’s not because I don’t trust manager Jim Riggleman to do his job. I do. He’s had his eyes and ears inside Major League Baseball for longer than a decent chunk of the roster. The issue to be taken here isn’t with Riggleman but rather with a

Rachel Levitin: Zimmerman inches back toward D.C.

It’s been a weird summer for baseball in Washington, D.C., without Ryan Zimmerman in the lineup. Without his consistent bat and Gold Glove performances daily, the Nationals have had to do the best with what they’ve got. That’s all they can do under the circumstances. On Sunday, the Nationals got a little closer to getting Zimmerman back. Zimmerman played for the Single-A Hagerstown Suns -

Dave Nichols: History not kind to Nats on West Coast trips

The Washington Nationals’ 6-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks kicks off an 11-game West Coast road trip that will see them visit San Francisco and San Diego as well. It’s a brutal trip, not as much for the quality of competition - though that’s tough enough - but just for the nature of the trip. Imagine how you’d feel waking up in a different city

Nationals Park hosts Congressional Bank Baseball Classic

Though the Nationals are out of town, fans can still enjoy the national pastime at Nationals Park this Sunday. The annual Congressional Bank Baseball Classic begins at 9 a.m. and lasts throughout the entire day. The event showcases the Districts’ best high school teams and players as they compete at Nationals Park. Schools set to participate in the tournament include the Maret School, Sidwell Friends,

Dave Nichols: Who is Laynce Nix?

With all the injuries, losses and hitting woes for the Washington Nationals, one player has exceeded any type of projection or prediction, and his name is Laynce Nix. His home run and phenomenal catch in yesterday’s 2-1 win over Philadelphia has made him a pretty popular player right now. Nix is a 30-year old left-handed outfielder from Texas. He’s stocky and powerful, but runs pretty

Storen: Nationals are America’s team

National pastime in the nation’s capital, meet your leader. Reliever Drew Storen launched a campaign during his recent visit to the MLB Fan Cave asking fans to adopt the Nationals as America’s team. Here’s his campaign video: The spoof mentions realistic reasons (close proximity to the White House) and funny reasons too (like the team’s facial hair diversity). Can the Nationals be America’s team?

Dave Nichols: An early look at potential Nats All-Stars

With the calendar flipping to June, it’s not too early to start thinking about who might represent the Washington Nationals at the mid-summer classic, the 2011 All-Star Game on July 12 in Phoenix. It’s an honor for players to be voted in by the fans, but the first early results posted by Major League Baseball show no Nationals player in the top five in voting

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