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Patrick Reddington: Nats’ show of faith in Matt Purke paying off

The Texas Rangers thought enough of Matt Purke coming out of Klein High School near Houston, Texas, that they took the 6-foot-3 prep school lefty with the 14th overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Purke was 12-1 with 147 strikeouts (17.26 K/9) and a 0.37 ERA in 76 2/3 innings pitched as a junior and 4-2 with a 1.18 ERA and 91 strikeouts

Harper’s rehab moving to Double-A tonight, nine innings possible

If you believe what you read on Twitter, the high Single-A Potomac phase of Bryce Harper’s minor league injury rehabilitation assignment is done. The Double-A Bowie Baysox, an affiliate of the Orioles, have tweeted that Harper will continue his recovery from left knee bursitis by playing for the Harrisburg Senators tonight and Saturday at Prince George’s Stadium. Want to see Harper for yourself? Just follow

Dave Nichols: Fifth spot in rotation a headache for Nationals

In no uncertain terms, Dan Haren has been an unmitigated flop for the Nationals this season. The 32-year-old veteran right-hander, signed to a one-year, $13 million contract over the offseason, has shown moments of competency, as in his four-hit, one-run win over Atlanta on May 2. But more often than not, he’s been pounded by opposing batters, having lost his last six decisions. The Nats

David Huzzard: For Nationals, winning streak is inevitable

The Nationals are going to go on a run. Every team gets at least one. The Houston Astros this season have an eight-game winning streak. The 2009 Nationals twice had a winning streak of at least eight games. In baseball, every team gets hot at least once during the season. Every team gets to enjoy at least one long winning streak. The key for the

Nationals DL Haren, recall Moore from Triple-A Syracuse

Tyler Moore’s stay at Triple-A Syracuse didn’t last long. The Nationals placed right-hander Dan Haren on the 15-day disabled list this morning and filled his roster spot by recalling Moore, the first baseman/outfielder who was sent to Syracuse on June 10. The move on Haren, who is battling right shoulder inflammation, is retroactive to Sunday, the day after his most recent start in a disappointing

Ted Leavengood: The ugly downside of the nouveau riche

The Nationals front office wants to do something about the mess the team finds itself in. But where do they turn? Tom Boswell on Monday made the case that the Nationals have joined the club of elite teams with money enough to buy their way out of the jam. Washington has been a huge untapped media market for decades and one lonely winning season is

Inside the Park: Who is the Nationals’ “Man of Steel”?

Everyone has been talking about Superman since “Man of Steel” has been rocking the box offices the past week. It led us to consider: Who is the Nationals’ “Man of Steel”? Is it Ian Desmond, who has hit two home runs in the past two games? Is it Jordan Zimmermann, who is tied for the major league lead with 10 wins? Perhaps it’s one of

Patrick Reddington: Morse is missed, but Krol and Cole are impressing

Mike Rizzo reluctantly parted with 2010 fourth-round pick A.J. Cole in the December 2011 trade with the Oakland A’s that brought Gio Gonzalez to the nation’s capital in return for Cole, left-hander Tom Milone, right-hander Brad Peacock and catcher Derek Norris. Given a chance to reacquire Cole a year later when the Athletics got involved in three-team talks with the Nationals and Seattle Mariners, Rizzo

The Nationals’ “eat face” mentality

“You’ve got to show up tomorrow ready to eat somebody’s face.” Three straight losses and a frustrating start to the season led Jayson Werth to speak with this intensity, and everyone took notice. Immediately after the words left Werth’s mouth, the term “eat face” had taken on a life of its own within the Nationals. Well, apparently I'll be #EatingFace today.— Ian Desmond (@IanDesmond20) June

Rachel Levitin: Desmond solidifying his status as Nats’ leader

In the early days of his career with the Nationals, shortstop Ian Desmond racked up more errors than web gems. Presently, he’s solidifying himself as a leader in the Nats clubhouse. It’s a role that seems to suit him now that he’s growing into himself as a player and maturing as an adult. With the heart of the Washington batting order not doing its job

David Huzzard: No surprise contributions a problem for Nats

Of the Nationals’ current healthy lineup, only Ian Desmond is performing above his career average OPS of .744 at .791, and Ryan Zimmerman is the only Nat with an OPS over .800 at .808. Everyone else is either on the disabled list or underperforming their career averages, some to a comical degree. One of the largest problems with the Nationals is that their best player

Through the Vine

With the All-Star break just a little less than a month away, we’re encouraging fans to vote so that D.C. is well-represented at Citi Field on July 16. One way that we’re doing so is through one of our new favorite social media sites, Vine. Be sure to give @masnNationals a follow, as we being to upload behind-the-scenes looks of Nats Park, MASN contests and

Ted Leavengood: It’s going to be a long and bumpy ride

Chad Tracy could be a poster child for this season. He has been down so long, that any kind of up looks awfully good. One wonders if the high expectations for a team still lost in the desert, are weighing this whole enterprise down. Would that Tracy home run have been enough last season? Tracy took out Jonathan Papelbon, which is no mean feat. It

Marty Niland: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

As the Nationals struggled again to bring runners home in their 2-0 loss in Cleveland on Sunday, their fans must have been fuming. With apologies to Casey Stengel, or whoever initiated the quote that became the title of Jimmy Breslin’s book chronicling the 1962 Mets, the question, “Can’t anybody here play this game?” comes to mind. Eleven times, Washington hitters came to bat with at

Strasburg departs after five innings of one-hit ball (Nats lose 2-0)

That lat strain that sent Stephen Strasburg to the disabled list seems a distant memory. Through three innings at Progressive Field, the Nationals right-hander has yet to allow a hit, walked two and struck out two in a scoreless tie. Strasburg has thrown 47 pitches, but has only 25 strikes - an unusually high rate of balls for the power pitcher. He’s got five outs

Nats ride five solo homers, stout relief to wild win over Tribe

Five solo homers. A blown 5-0 lead. Late-inning heroics. Impressive relief. If you were looking for some excitement Saturday night, Progressive Field in Cleveland might’ve been the place to be. The Nationals were able to overcome a rare poor start from Jordan Zimmermann and a big Indians comeback to win 7-6 for their third victory in four games. The Nats looked like they’d cruise to

Zimmermann, Nats let Indians take first lead (Nats win 7-6)

This one’s starting to look a lot like Jordan Zimmermann’s rough May 29 start in Baltimore. Given a 5-0 lead in the third, Zimmermann has let the Indians come all the way back to take a 6-5 advantage in the fifth. Cleveland scored once in the third, twice in the second and three times with two outs in the fifth. Nick Swisher slimmed the Nationals’

Zimmerman, Werth get Nats out to fast start (Indians go back-to-back)

To set Jordan Zimmermann up with an early cushion, the middle of the Nationals’ order dialed up the longball with two outs in the first. Ryan Zimmerman took Scott Kazmir deep before Jayson Werth made it back-to-back homers for a 2-0 Nationals lead. It was Zimmerman’s eighth of the season and second in three games after an 11-game drought. Werth hit his sixth of the

Zimmermann facing Indians for first time, Marrero earns first start since ‘11 (update)

Jordan Zimmermann faces the Indians for the first time in his career, looking to help the Nationals even their weekend interleague series. Zimmermann has been exceptional since his first dud of the season, a May 29 loss at Baltimore where the right-hander allowed seven runs in six innings. Over the two starts heading into tonight, he has held opponents to just two unearned runs on

Gonzalez holding form against Tribe (Indians walk off with 2-1 win)

Gio Gonzalez is very familiar with the Indians after pitching the first four seasons of his career in the American League. In fact, the Tribe is a favorite opponent of the lefty. He really likes pitching at Progressive Field. His all-time mark of 5-0 with an 0.72 ERA against Cleveland includes a 4-0 record and 0.68 ERA on the shores of the Cuyahoga River. That’s

Patrick Reddington: All eyes again on Strasburg in Cleveland

Stephen Strasburg’s second major league start took place in Cleveland’s Progressive Field on June 13, 2010. After a dazzling 14-strikeout major league debut at Nationals Park, the Nats and Strasburg took the show on the road. The game between a 31-33 Nationals team and a 25-37 Indians team was picked up on a national broadcast solely because Strasburg was going to be on the mound.

Rachel Levitin: Time to focus on the 2013 Nationals’ positives over negatives

With a win against the Colorado Rockies last night, the Nationals are back at .500 with a 32-32 record and are six games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. There’s been a lot of talk about expectations for the 2013 Nationals and how they’re not living up to the alleged hype. Instead of getting bogged down in that, it may be best

Space Coast Stadium beer vendor - yes, that one - coming north

You might not know Vincent Rainey’s name, but you know him - well, you know him if you’ve ever watched a spring training game on MASN, caught a broadcast on the radio or taken in a Grapefruit League contest at Space Coast Stadium. He’s the beer guy with the phrase and unique delivery that pays dividends. In the middle of an inning, you’ll hear him

David Huzzard: Jordan Zimmermann’s great start makes waiting on long-term deal a smart move

Before the start of the 2013 baseball season, the Washington Nationals and Jordan Zimmermann were at a crossroads. The Nationals would have liked to have extended him in the same manner they did Gio Gonzalez before his 21-win season. If Zimmermann had been paying attention to that and to the money that right-handed aces such as Zack Greinke, Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez, and Justin Verlander

Ted Leavengood: The third No. 1 truly arrives

Anthony Rendon leapt high into the air to snare a line drive during Sunday’s game. It was not until the slow motion replay was available that the athletic nature of the play could be appreciated. Rendon was easily three feet or more off the ground when the ball settled into his outstretched mitt. His standing leap was one that most basketball players would covet. It

Go head-to-head with Ryan Zimmerman in the CareFirst Fan Challenge

So maybe you can’t knock 95 mph fastballs out of Nats Park. Can’t glove line drives at the hot corner like Ryan Zimmerman either? Well, that’s OK because MASN’s giving you the chance to challenge Zimmerman at your own game. With the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Ryan Zimmerman Fan Challenge, we’re giving you the chance to submit a video to our Facebook page challenging the third

Marty Niland: Werth the straw that stirs Nats’ drink

The Nationals have been hit hard in recent weeks by injuries to key players like Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos, Ross Detwiler and Stephen Strasburg. But perhaps the most important injury to hit the Nats this season was the hamstring injury that kept Jayson Werth out of the lineup from May 3 until last Tuesday’s game against the Mets. The Nats missed not only his talent

Nats grab second-generation hopeful, take shot on former first-rounder

The Nationals have completed the First-Year Player draft, making their final seven picks (click here and here to get a rundown of today’s previous draft action from MASNsports.com’s Byron Kerr). At this point, most clubs are doing some serious prospecting on guy who may or may not pan out, but the Nationals came up with a couple of interesting names in the draft’s later rounds.

About Sunday night’s game ... (updated)

Because of Friday night’s rainout - thanks, Tropical Storm Andrea - the Twins and Nationals will play a split doubleheader Sunday. You can check out the particulars here, including the times of the games and ticket exchange policies. Now if you’re not heading to the (hopefully) sunny shores of the Anacostia on Sunday evening, you’ll probably be watching the game on MASN. Because the network

Patrick Reddington: Looking at the Nats’ new double play combination

Before the decision was made to place him on the disabled list, the questions about Danny Espinosa’s injured wrist and shoulder and lack of production at the plate distracted from the fact that he wasn’t the only Nationals middle infielder struggling offensively. Over at short, Ian Desmond, who started the month of May at .299/.315/.542 saw his line drop to .261/.295/.448 as a result of

Nationals and Baseball Tomorrow Fund inspiring baseball’s next generation

Although my baseball-playing days began and ended at a young age, I’ll never forget the time my parents handed me my first glove and T-ball bat. While I never lit up the infield or threw a no-no, I’m certain that the beginning of my baseball enthusiasm began the first time I tried on my glove. Whether it’s someone like me or a major league player

Rachel Levitin: Lacking consistency, Nats must hope shakeup helps fix team

A common saying among the Nationals’ players and coaches this season is, “We’re better than this.” My question in retort is, “But, are you really?” Let’s be frank here - this conversation has been running in circles for weeks now. Despite the thrilling victory on opening day in which Stephen Strasburg pitched a gem and Bryce Harper came up big at the plate, wins have

David Huzzard: Getting them on and getting them in

After Sunday’s loss to the Braves, tragic news broke that the Nationals’ OBP had sunk lower than the Marlins. The Marlins offense has often been ridiculed and laughed at for how comically bad it is and while the Marlins are well on their way to losing 100 games, more was expected from the Nationals. The Nationals’ failure to score runs is the biggest reason for

Ted Leavengood: Winning is never a sure thing

The exuberant confidence that gripped Washington in March was a false dawn. It was not backed up by the play of the Nationals in Viera, Fla., and now two months later, the giddy talk about the postseason does not deserve ink. Happy talk does not win games. The precious commodities absolutely essential to winning - determination and focus -were not there in the spring and

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