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Patrick Reddington: New wave of arms looming in Nats’ minor leagues

On Wednesday morning at McCormick Field in Asheville, N.C., 22-year-old 2011 third-round pick Matt Purke made his first start of the season for the low Single-A Hagerstown Suns. It was just the fourth professional start for the 6-foot-4 left-hander and one-time Texas Rangers first-round pick who failed to sign with Texas, went to college instead and suffered a shoulder injury, which caused his stock to

Nats seeking to end Space Coast Stadium lease in 2014 (shared site in Kissimmee?)

Another sign that the Nationals will surely move out of Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla., in the near future comes today courtesy of Florida Toady, the daily newspaper serving Brevard County (with a tip of the ol’ ballcap to Federal Baseball). According to the paper, the Nationals have informed Brevard County commissioners of their intention to exit the facility as early as November 2014.

David Huzzard: The end of the 100-inning reliever

Baseball is always looking to innovate. Most baseball fans’ bookshelves include books like Moneyball and The Extra 2 Percent - books about how the A’s and Rays innovated in order to win at baseball despite not having the money to win the way everyone else did. This desire to find advantages is nothing new to baseball and wasn’t always about statistical analysis. Candy Cummings was

Nationals react to death of Dr. Lewis Yocum

News that noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum died Saturday of cancer was greeted by sadness in the Nationals clubhouse before Tuesday night’s game against the Orioles. Dr. Yocum had performed Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on Nats pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman, consulted last winter on second baseman Danny Espinosa’s shoulder injury and was a presence in the Los Angeles Angels clubhouse when

Espinosa hoping to return Wednesday from broken wrist (8:25 p.m. start expected)

Second baseman Danny Espinosa, who has not played since May 22 while rehabilitating what was discovered to be a broken right wrist, took batting practice and participated in fielding drills before Tuesday’s game against the Orioles. If all goes well, and he experiences no setbacks, Espinosa expects to be cleared to play Wednesday when the interleague series moves to Baltimore for two games. “It’s calmed

Orioles-Nationals lineups for Tuesday

Right-hander Nathan Karns takes the hill for his first major league start tonight. Here is the Nationals lineup for tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game against the Orioles, who send rookie right-hander Kevin Gausman to the mound for his second major league start. For the Orioles LF Nate McLouth 3B Manny Machado RF Nick Markakis CF Adam Jones 1B Chris Davis C Matt Wieters SS J.J. Hardy

Ted Leavengood: The malaise of near-.500 baseball

The pitching match-up favored Washington at Nationals Park yesterday. Gio Gonzalez had home field advantage and the better record in the majors going for him against the Orioles’ Jason Hammel. But he could not beat Hammel because he could not get Yamaico Navarro out. The scrub second-baseman, just up from Triple-A Norfolk, got a key hit for the Orioles in the fourth inning that proved

Marty Niland: Looks like Strasburg has learned his lesson

Two weeks ago, Stephen Strasburg was taken to task in this space for basically acting childish on the mound. He lost his composure after a throwing error in a scoreless game against the Chicago Cubs, allowing four unearned runs to score and letting the game get out of hand. It was a game he - and just about all Nationals fans - would like to

Patrick Reddington: Zimmermann right at home in nation’s capital

Nothing against Jordan Zimmermann’s stats away from Nationals Park, but the starter from Auburndale, Wis., has been even more impressive in his adopted home in the nation’s capital so far in 2013. The Nationals right-hander, who turned 27 yesterday, is 3-2 with a 1.91 ERA, four walks (0.96 BB/9) and 29 Ks (6.93 K/9) in five starts and 37 2/3 innings pitched away from the

Rachel Levitin: It’s tough to predict whether Nats will rebound from struggles

At the end of each month of play last season, I remember sitting down along side some of my fellow Nats bloggers and chatting up a storm about how we just couldn’t believe how well this team was doing week in and week out. No one wanted to get ahead of themselves by predicting a possible extraordinary outcome in fear of jinxing the team. Now

David Huzzard: Inside the Nats’ offensive struggles

There is no possible way to make it sound good that the Nationals’ offense has scored only 3.41 runs a game and OPS’d a measly .654. In most offensive categories, they are better than only the Marlins. The Nats have faced a lot of good pitchers and good teams early in the season, and that has something to do with the poor offense, but that

When Nationals’ opponents #whiff, you can help D.C. youth win

With a staff led by pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, who thrive on strikeouts, the Nats often force their opponents to whiff when they come to the plate. But did you know that when the Nationals record a strikeout, you have the power to support the D.C. chapter of the RBI League? Each time the Nats record a K, you can tweet with the

Ted Leavengood: Is it time to fish or cut bait?

The end of a tough road trip may not be the right moment, but the time is coming for the 2013 Nationals to fish or cut bait. The basic facts were laid out in a USA Today article Monday that cited the Nationals’ offense as 29th in batting average and OBP, and 27th in runs scored among major league teams. It did not get better

Zimmermann a hard-luck loser

Jordan Zimmermann and losses are two things that haven’t been paired together too often this year. But on a night when the Nationals right-hander lowered his already-stellar ERA from 1.69 to 1.62, he absorbed just his second loss of the season, snapping a personal four-game winning streak with a 2-1 defeat against the Padres. Zimmermann (7-2) pitched his major league-best third complete game of the

Zimmermann, Nats fall behind early (Nats lose 2-1)

Jordan Zimmermann has been doing an exceptional job keeping opponents in the ballpark of late, which made Yonder Alonso’s blast to start the second so striking. Alonso’s fifth homer gave the Padres a 1-0 lead over the Nationals, making him the first player to clear the fence against Zimmermann since April 21. The Nats right-hander pitched 36 2/3 innings and four full starts in between

Duke to start for Detwiler on Monday (Harper out with bruised knee)

With Ross Detwiler’s back a concern, the Nationals will turn to long reliever Zach Duke for Monday’s start, according to multiple reports from San Diego. Detwiler was forced to leave Wednesday’s start after three innings because of spasms in his lower back suffered when reaching for a throw covering first base. An MRI revealed some “irregularity,” so the left-hander will miss at least one start.

Lombardozzi in left, Gonzalez on hill at Padres

Gio Gonzalez takes the mound tonight at San Diego looking to build on one of his best starts of the season. Gonzalez held the Cubs to two hits over seven scoreless innings Sunday, and was removed after just 86 pitches while holding a 1-0 lead. The Nationals went on to lose 2-1, but the left-hander seems to be on an upswing, having pitched consecutive quality

Patrick Reddington: Can Strasburg become Nationals’ “Big Train”?

Walter Johnson was born in Humboldt, Kan., in November 1887. In 1905, the future Washington Senator and his family lived in southern California, where, as Los Angeles Times writer Chris Dufresne noted in a 2008 article, the Fullerton Union High Indians pitcher first made a name for himself. “Johnson attended Fullerton Union High long enough to have, in 1905, struck out 27 batters in a

Rachel Levitin: A little perspective, please

After this past weekend’s series loss to one of the worst teams in baseball and a pair of losses in Los Angeles this week, the Nationals continue to battle in their pursuit of meeting the expectations imposed upon them. But here’s the thing: For all the hiccups this team has encountered, they’re still just one game behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the National League

Some movement on the Nationals’ long quest for a new spring training home?

It’s been a while since we’ve gotten a whiff of news about the Nationals’ pursuit of a new spring training home. Depending on how you view the machinations, the saga has either plot twists befitting a taut mystery or all the kind of awkward exchange you felt when asking a date to the middle school dance. But there’s new news, courtesy of this story in

David Huzzard: Advanced metrics hint that Suzuki would flourish in two-hole

Danny Espinosa, Steve Lombardozzi and Roger Bernadina all have something in common - and they shouldn’t. Each and every one of them has an under-.300 on-base percentage and all of them have batted second. Overall, Nationals No. 2 hitters are hitting .176/.216/.275. That isn’t just bad production, that is horrid. The plan for the Nationals was to have career .267/.361/.460 hitter Jayson Werth in that

Ted Leavengood: A glass half-full

Losing two home games against the Chicago Cubs is disheartening and, after the excellent game Friday night, it was as if a switch just flipped and the progress of the prior week vanished in the flash of a Stephen Strasburg meltdown. There wasn’t much to like on Saturday and Sunday unless you are a ticket rep for the Nationals. They are selling ducats like snow

Marty Niland: Nats must learn to overcome their own failures - and success

A baseball team can’t win on talent alone. It also takes discipline, maturity and courage, qualities that key members of the Nationals seemed to be lacking against the Chicago Cubs this weekend. In dropping games Saturday and Sunday to the last-place team in the National Legaue Central, the Nats’ 24-year-old pitching phenom and 70-year-old manager both showed they have something to learn about handling both

Patrick Reddington: The Nationals’ next wave

In explaining the Nationals’ willingness in recent years to part with top pitching prospects like Tom Milone, Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole (who was eventually reacquired), Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters in early 2012 that there was enough pitching in the system for him to feel comfortable making the type of deal that brought then 26-year-old left-hander Gio Gonzalez back from the Oakland

Rachel Levitin: Scouting the perfect seating locations at Nationals Park

The Nats are looking good right now. They’re coming off a three-game win streak with Jordan Zimmermann holding his own as team anchor and the under-.500 Chicago Cubs coming into town for a three-game series for Mother’s Day weekend. With warmer temperatures on the way, school wrapping up for the kids and summer truly around the corner, now’s the time to get to the ballpark

David Huzzard: Stephen Strasburg and approach versus results

Stay within yourself, don’t try and do too much, and let the game come to you are all baseball clichés Nationals fans have become accustomed to over the early part of the 2013 season. They aren’t easy concepts to understand until you see players not doing it. Up until the recent 7-4 run, the Nats weren’t doing any of these things and were quite a

Ted Leavengood: Winning a championship, one series at a time

There was too much Sterling Marte and A.J. Burnett in Pittsburgh, too little Bryce Harper. Yet the Nationals still looked like the better team when all was said and done. The Pirates are capable of beating anyone. They won their series against the Nationals in 2012 and recently swept the Atlanta Braves. Pittsburgh has an obvious weakness in their bullpen, however. They lead the league

Marty Niland: Veterans, bench finally getting into the swing of things

It’s not conventional wisdom for a major league team to “get healthy” on the road, and even less conventional for it to happen against a hot team, but that’s just what seems to have happened to the Nationals as they wrapped up their 4-3 road trip. In Pittsburgh, where the Nats have not won a series since 2010, the Nats took two games from a

Patrick Reddington: In Rizzo we trust

Redundancy isn’t always a bad thing in spite of the negative connotations often associated with the word. In the case of the Washington Nationals’ roster, it’s actually a key to the way Nats GM Mike Rizzo, and general managers league-wide admittedly, construct their teams. The defending NL East champs have multiple closers for example. If 33-year-old veteran Rafael Soriano has had too much work, the

Rachel Levitin: Unassuming Zimmermann the stopper the Nats need

Jordan Zimmermann’s 2-0 win over Atlanta last night helped the Nationals snap the team’s nine-game losing streak against the Braves. It’s already apparent that the Nats have a few growing pains in their transition from the 2012 season to 2013, but that’s the thing about baseball - you never quite know exactly how a singular game is going to shake out, let alone an entire

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