It’s the most wonderful time of the year - at least that’s what that song tells me. Seriously, it seems like it’s on a continuous loop. From the car to the department store to the supermarket. It’s everywhere.
While we don’t have parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting or caroling in the snow, we do have some of the hap-hap-happiest results in this week’s holiday array of “Nationals Classics” on MASN.
Consider these our gift to you - and be of good cheer, as spring training is only a few weeks away!
Thursday, Dec. 20, 10:30 a.m. - The Nationals were wrapping up a nine-game road trip at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 3, 2014, and Adam LaRoche probably thought he was in for a restful getaway day before a cross-country flight. The veteran first baseman was called upon in the ninth inning, with the Nats trailing 2-0, and hit a pinch-hit solo homer as the visitors tied the score and forced extra innings. By the time the Nationals had claimed an 8-5 victory, LaRoche had piled up five RBIs. Not a bad day’s work for a supposed off-day.
Thursday, Dec. 20, 7 p.m. - If you like home runs, this is the game for you. On July 27, 2017, the Nationals slugged eight - count ‘em, eight! - longballs in a 15-2 rout of the Brewers. Five of the blasts came in the third inning, when the Nats connected for four consecutive home runs off Michael Blazek, with Brian Goodwin, Wilmer Difo, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman doing the honors, After a flyout by Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon joined the parade.
Saturday, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m. - Walk-offs don’t get more exciting than extra-inning grand slams, and that’s just how Howie Kendrick and the Nats dispatched the Giants in a 6-2, 11-inning victory on Aug. 13, 2017. The game was knotted at 2-2 in the 11th when reliever Albert Suarez unraveled. Murphy and Zimmerman singled to put runners at the corners before Rendon was intentionally walked to play for the force at any base. The strategy backfired when Kendrick rocketed a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left-center.
Sunday, Dec. 23, noon - Tanner Roark didn’t make his career as a strikeout pitcher, but the right-hander had the mojo going on April 23, 2016, when he fanned a career-high 15 over seven innings in a 2-0 victory over the Twins. Roark allowed only two hits, while Zimmerman drove in both runs for the Nationals.
Tuesday, Dec. 25, 9 a.m. - While you clean up the wrapping paper on Christmas morning, why not tune in to MASN to watch a rarity: a walk-off triple. Flu-stricken Stephen Drew’s pinch-hit three-bagger was the difference in a 3-2 triumph over the Padres on July 23, 2016.