Nationals left to decide what to do with Papelbon now

CLEVELAND - Jonathan Papelbon has blown more than a few saves in his career. Forty-nine of them, to be precise. So when it happens, he refuses to convey any sense of fear. “My confidence in this game has never fluctuated, and it never will,” the 35-year-old closer said tonight. “I think that’s something that’s never really happened to me.” Papelbon’s confidence may not fluctuate, but ... read more

Bullpen implodes again as Indians walk-off stunned Nats 7-6

CLEVELAND - The new-look lineup produced some early runs, knocking out a tough opposing starter. The erratic lefty bounced back from a shaky first inning to turn in a quality start. All the Nationals needed was for the back end of their bullpen to close out the opener of a tough road trip. Which that much maligned unit once again could not do. Jonathan Papelbon ... read more

Turner gets nod in center, but for how long? (Nats lose 7-6)

CLEVELAND - When the Nationals chose to demote Michael A. Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse as the corresponding move for Ryan Zimmerman’s activation off the disabled list, they dropped something of a hint in the process: Trea Turner was going to find his way into the lineup, perhaps in center field. Sure enough, when he filled out his lineup card for tonight’s interleague series opener against ... read more

Ross healthy again, but will need another rehab start

CLEVELAND - Joe Ross is back with the Nationals this week, part of their traveling contingent for their interleague series against the Indians. But he’s not back in their rotation just yet, still needing to make at least one more rehab start before he can be activated off the disabled list. Ross made the first of his rehab starts Sunday at Single-A Hagerstown, tossing three ... read more

Game 100 lineups: Nats at Indians

CLEVELAND - Hello from Progressive Field in the heart of downtown Cleveland, home of champio...sorry, that still just doesn’t sound right. This town is still awash in the glow of the Cavaliers’ NBA title, the first major pro sports championship by anyone here since 1964. And now the Indians are trying to make their own run, some 68 years removed from their last World Series ... read more

Chapman wouldn’t have been worth the price for Nationals

The Nationals like Aroldis Chapman. A lot. Mike Rizzo tried to sign the closer out of Cuba in 2010, and even thought he had outbid every other franchise in the majors for him (until it turned out the Reds had done it instead). Dusty Baker, of course, managed Chapman his first four seasons in the big leagues, continues to speak glowingly about the flame-throwing left-hander ... read more

After another underwhelming start, what’s next for Giolito?

Three starts into Lucas Giolito’s career, the only thing the Nationals know for sure about their 22-year-old pitching prospect is that they don’t really know yet what they’ve got. Giolito arrived in the big leagues late last month with a near-flawless pedigree. He had the stuff, the maturity and the presence to suggest he was ready for the big show. The results, though, haven’t matched ... read more

Bullpen maneuvers “didn’t work out at all” (Giolito, Taylor down)

The Nationals, believe it or not, entered the day with the majors’ lowest bullpen ERA (2.85), the fourth-lowest WHIP and sixth-lowest batting average against. Yet there is no unit on the roster that appears more in need of help as the trade deadline approaches than this team’s relief corps. It’s an odd dichotomy between stats and the eye test, but games like today’s 10-6 loss ... read more