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Johnson discusses 8-0 loss to Phillies

Three starts ago, Stephen Strasburg pitched six scoreless innings, striking out seven Marlins. Two outings ago, Strasburg got hit around a bit by the Braves, allowing four runs and 11 baserunners over 5 1/3. His last time out, the Nationals ace was dominant, striking out 11 over seven one-run innings in Flushing, NY. Tonight, the run of inconsistency continued, as Strasburg lasted just four innings,

This one has gotten ugly (Nats lose 8-0)

One of the teams playing at Nationals Park tonight has the best record in the major leagues. The other has essentially given up on the 2012 season. Hard to tell which is which, isn't it? The Nationals trail the Phillies 6-0 entering the fifth inning, and frankly, the Nats are lucky their deficit is only a half-dozen. They've been completely pushed around by their division

Lannan to rejoin Nats Friday, team sticking with eight-man 'pen

Chad Tracy has rejoined the Nationals after a lengthy injury absence. Jayson Werth isn't too far behind him. Manager Davey Johnson said today that Werth will likely get a few more games on a rehab assignment before getting activated, but that he's still hopeful that Werth will be ready to return to the Nationals' lineup before the end of this current homestand, which runs through

Rizzo: "We didn't see the need to make a big splash"

Why didn't the Nationals make a trade of some kind prior to today's 4 p.m. no-waiver deadline? The reasoning is simple. They didn't feel they needed to. General manager Mike Rizzo held discussions with a number of teams over the last couple weeks, and there were a couple times that negotiations ramped up a bit. But at no point did Rizzo feel a deal was

Nats stand pat at trade deadline (Zimmerman, LaRoche out of lineup)

Well, 4 p.m. has come and gone, and there's no word of any trade involving the Nationals that has been completed. The Nats appear to be standing pat at the non-waiver trade deadline, willing to stick with their current roster - for the time being, at least. Again, a trade can still be completed after today's deadline, as long as the players pass through waivers.

Tracy activated, Brown optioned to Triple-A

If you were looking for the Nationals to make a move before the trade deadline, you're in luck. OK, it's not a trade, but it is a roster move. The Nats announce that they have activated infielder Chad Tracy from the disabled list and optioned outfielder Corey Brown to Triple-A Syracuse. Tracy landed on the DL all the way back on May 28 with a

Phillies purge, National League contenders improve

The Phillies are throwing in the towel, dishing veterans off and, for the first time in years, looking to build toward the future. In the process, the Nationals' National League competitors are bolstering their rosters for a playoff push. Both the Giants and Dodgers have swung deals to acquire a Phillies outfielder, with San Francisco reportedly trading for Hunter Pence and Los Angeles bringing in

The clock keeps on ticking

Good morning, Nationals fans. Your team currently stands alone with the best record in the majors. With the Reds losing last night, the Nationals are atop Major League Baseball with a 61-40 record entering today's action. And that's a large part of the reason why the team is unlikely to look much different (if at all) after this afternoon's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. Why

The deadline approaches

The rumors continue to swirl throughout the day as the clock ticks down on tomorrow's trade deadline, which now sits a little less than 25 hours away. The new bit of news around the majors is that the Phillies are seriously entertaining trade offers for starter Cliff Lee, who has struggled this season and has just a single win and a 3.95 ERA. Lee hasn't

The road warriors do it again

Now that's the way you perform on a road trip. Over the last seven days, the Nationals played seven games away from home. They won six of the seven, including yesterday's dramatic comeback victory over the Brewers. The Braves played well over the weekend, sweeping the Phillies in a three-game set by a combined score of 14-4. But despite Atlanta's strong play of late, they

Nats notch a thrilling win

The Nationals have signed reliever Mike MacDougal to a minor league contract, according to the transactions page on the team's Web site. MacDougal, 35, has been assigned to Triple-A Syracuse. He started the season with the Dodgers, recording a 7.94 ERA in seven major league appearances. This is the righty's second go-round with the Nats; he appeared in 52 games with Washington in 2009, posting

Harper back in Nats lineup (Nats release Nady)

A day after being scratched from the Nationals lineup due to a stomach virus, Bryce Harper is back in there as the Nats try and take three of four from the Brewers. Harper has been battling the virus for the last few days and yesterday marked the first game that he has not appeared in since his promotion to the big leagues. Harper and the

Zimmermann just keeps on rollin'

Jordan Zimmermann will enter the month of August with a 2.28 ERA, fourth-best in the majors. He'll go into his next start having allowed either zero or one run in seven straight outings. He wraps up July having worked at least six innings in all 21 of his starts this season, a streak topped by only Justin Verlander. He's only lost one game in the

Brown notches first career hit in style (Nats win 4-1)

Since making his major debut on Sept. 6 of last year, Corey Brown has had to wait quite a while for his first big league hit. I have a feeling the wait was worth it. Brown got in both the hit column and the home run column with one fourth-inning swing tonight, taking a Randy Wolf curveball out over the center field wall. The 26-year-old,

Harper scratched with stomach virus

Bryce Harper has been scratched from tonight's game due to a stomach virus, forcing manager Davey Johnson to shuffle his starting lineup just a bit. Corey Brown will now play center field as the Nationals take on the Brewers in Milwaukee. Brown will also take over Harper's No. 2 spot in the batting order. According to the Nationals, Harper will be available to pinch hit

Zimmermann goes home (Espinosa back hitting leadoff)

Jordan Zimmermann will take the ball tonight for his 21st start of the season. He'll also take the ball in his home state of Wisconsin for the first time in his major league career. The Auburndale, Wisc., native and former star at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point will face the Brewers tonight as he looks for his eighth win of the season. Zimmermann

One area which must be improved

Sometimes, you just run into a hot pitcher. You face a guy that can't be touched. Last night was one of those times. Mike Fiers has come out of nowhere. He was selected in the 22nd round of the 2009 draft out of little-known Nova Southeastern University and didn't make his first appearance in the big leagues until he was 26. Apparently the guy is

Things escalate quickly on Detwiler, Nats (Nats lose 6-0)

Ross Detwiler was cruising along through 3 2/3 innings tonight. He'd allowed just two hits, had struck out three and was making quick work of a tough Brewers lineup. Then Detwiler got hit fairly hard, and it happened in a hurry. The lefty allowed three straight extra-base hits with two outs in the fourth, the middle of which was a two-run homer by Corey Hart.

Nationals release Rick Ankiel (with lineups)

The Nationals have announced the unconditional release of outfielder Rick Ankiel. The 33-year-old was designated for assignment last week. He cleared waivers, but was unclaimed, and now becomes a free agent. The center fielder was batting .228/.282/.411 on the season for the Nats, with five home runs and 15 RBIs. Meanwhile, the Nats are set to face the Brewers after taking the first game of

The view from the top

Nationals fans have a lot to smile about this morning. For the first time since baseball returned to D.C., the Nationals are 20 games over .500. Actually, this is the first time a D.C.-based baseball team has been 20 games above .500 since all the way back in 1945. The Nationals currently are tied with the Yankees for the best record in baseball. They have

Jackson getting it done in all three phases (Nats win 8-2)

The Nationals have scored a touchdown and split the uprights with the extra point. They're up 7-0 over the Brewers in the sixth inning thanks to a dominant offensive performance and some nice work on the mound from Edwin Jackson. But the mound isn't the only place Jackson has been effective tonight. After Adam LaRoche hit his third home run in as many days to

Lineups as Nats prepare to face Gallardo, Brewers

The Nationals open a four-game series in Milwaukee tonight by sending Edwin Jackson to the mound for the 19th time this season. Jackson will look to get his record back to the .500 mark. At 5-6, he's the only Nationals starter currently with a losing mark. The Brewers will give the ball to right-hander Yovani Gallardo tonight. The 26-year-old is 8-7 with a 3.73 ERA

A must-see video and more positive signs from Storen

Interested in watching Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, Craig Stammen and Ryan Mattheus read segments from "Fifty Shades of Grey"? Of course you are. During the Nationals' stop in New York this week, the four relievers went by the MLB Fan Cave, and took part in a few video shoots. One of them had the guys reading clips from the sultry book which has swept the

The Henry Rodriguez dilemma

So much has gone right recently. Since the Nationals' disastrous 11-10 extra-inning loss to the Braves (one that some seemed to feel would instantly end the Nats' season), Davey Johnson's bunch has won five of its last six games. In that six-game span, there aren't many flaws to pick at. But one negative jumps off the stat sheet at you. Over Henry Rodriguez's last two

Final thoughts after a convincing three-game sweep

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Before I pack up and leave the Citi Field press box, here are a few final thoughts: At the moment, the Nationals are tied with the Yankees for the best record in baseball. They're 19 games above .500, tying the franchise's high-water mark, set during the 2005 season. They've won five in a row, knocked the Mets 11 1/2 games back in

A masterful performance delivered by the Nats' ace

FLUSHING, N.Y. - After Stephen Strasburg's last start, in which he allowed four runs and needed 103 pitches to get through 5 1/3 innings, Davey Johnson frustratingly commented that his ace right-hander "really doesn't know who he is at times." The reactions to Strasburg's outing today were a little different. "That is the Strasburg I've known for a long time," Johnson said. "That's him. That's

Another rocky outing for Henry Rodriguez (Nats win 5-2, sweep Mets)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - What was a comfortable 5-1 ballgame in the eighth inning quickly turned intense. Henry Rodriguez found himself right in the middle of all the action. The righty walked two batters leading off the eighth, and was immediately pulled by Davey Johnson. Rodriguez threw 11 pitches, eight of which were balls. The struggling flame-thrower failed to record an out for the second straight

So far, another gem from a Nationals starter (updated)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Over their last five games entering today, Nationals starters pounded the zone with fastballs, allowing them to keep their pitch counts low and work deep into games. Stephen Strasburg's following suit today. The Nationals righty needed just 48 pitches through four innings of work and now sits at 68 pitches through five, largely because he's challenged Mets hitters today. He worked mainly

Pregame notes on Espinosa, Werth

FLUSHING, N.Y. - There's been some major movement going on in the National League East lately. First, it looked like the Braves were set to acquire Ryan Dempster from the Cubs, only to have that deal apparently fall through when Dempster seemed unwilling to go to Atlanta. Now, the Braves claim they've moved on from Dempster and are looking at other options. Then the Marlins

Today's Nats-Mets lineups

FLUSHING, N.Y. - It'll be the 10-win Stephen Strasburg against the one-win Jeremy Hefner at Citi Field today as the Nationals and Mets wrap up a three-game set. Twice this season, the Nats have taken the first two games of a series against the Mets only to drop the finale, failing to record the sweep. Today they'll rely on Strasburg as they try to notch

Why another early hook?

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Even though Gio Gonzalez finished the seventh inning last night having thrown just 87 pitches, Edwin Jackson remains the only Nationals starter this season to record an out in the eighth. Take a second to let that sink in. As good as the Nationals' rotation has been this season, there have only been three games where that day's starter has notched an

Nats pull out all the stops against Dickey

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Adam LaRoche used Roger Bernadina's bat in his first three trips to the plate tonight. The switch-hitting Danny Espinosa hit right-handed against a right-handed pitcher. Jesus Flores and Michael Morse attacked the ball early instead of waiting for it to get deep into the zone. The Nationals tried everything against Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. And after five innings of mostly ineffectiveness, all

Big sixth inning gives Gonzalez a cushion (Nats beat Mets 5-2)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - The Nationals had done very little against R.A. Dickey through five innings tonight, notching just three hits and going down on strikes seven times. The sixth was a different story. The Nats exploded with five straight two-out hits, scoring four runs and turning a 1-1 tie into a 5-1 lead. The outpouring of offense started with Adam LaRoche's two run homer off

Storen to eventually settle in as backup closer

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Once Drew Storen has a few more appearances under his belt and the Nationals feel that he's strong and can handle a bit of a heavier workload, manager Davey Johnson will slide Storen in as his backup closer behind Tyler Clippard. Johnson said today that Storen will keep working in the middle-to-late innings for now, as he works back from surgery which

Gonzalez looking to get back on track (with lineups)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - This is kind of remarkable given where his season numbers lie at this point, but over his last nine starts, Gio Gonzalez has pitched to a 4.93 ERA. Over that time, he's given up 27 runs and 49 hits over 49 1/3 innings. The last time he threw, Gonzalez delivered his worst start as a member of the Nationals, going just 3

Morse heating up, lifting off

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Over the Nationals' last four games, Michael Morse has nearly torn the cover off two baseballs. The first such incident came at Nationals Park on Friday, when Morse took a Tommy Hanson pitch and deposited it over the red seats in left-center and off a railing just short of the Red Porch, a spot 465 feet from home plate. That ball was

Zimmermann excelling, but being handled carefully

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Once the Nationals blew open last night's game in the 10th inning and took a four-run lead, Davey Johnson decided he didn't need to waste another bullpen arm for the bottom of the frame. Instead, he just left Tom Gorzelanny in the game, asking him to notch the final three outs. Before Gorzelanny could work the bottom of the 10th, however, he

Battling against Young, coming up large late

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Chris Young's fastball tops out at about 85 mph. He doesn't have a dazzling curveball or possess any dynamite secondary pitch. Still, he manages to keep the Nationals at bay. Including tonight's seven-inning performance in which he allowed just two runs, Young has pitched to a 3.00 ERA over 18 innings against the Nats this season. "Chris pitched against us the last

Johnson discusses Nats' hard-fought, extra-inning win

FLUSHING, N.Y. - For much of tonight's game, the Nationals couldn't touch whoever was standing on the mound for the Mets, Chris Young or otherwise. After the first inning, which featured a two-run homer from Bryce Harper, the Nats went seven straight innings without a hit and went eight innings without getting on the scoresheet. Then, they finally broke through in a big way in

We go to extras in New York (Nats put a thumping on Mets in 10th)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - As the rain continues to fall, the Nationals and Mets continue to play. We're heading to extra innings, tied 2-2. A combination of Michael Gonzalez, Ryan Mattheus and Tom Gorzelanny held the Mets scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings, and we go to the 10th at Citi Field. Gorzelanny allowed a two-out double to Daniel Murphy in the ninth, but was

Harper back in the homer column (bullpen maneuvers backfire)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - In his first trip to the Big Apple as a big leaguer, Bryce Harper didn't take long to make a statement. Harper smacked a two-run home run off Chris Young in the top of the first inning, giving the Nationals what's now a 2-1 lead. Welcome to New York, rook. It was Harper's first home run since all the way back on

Nats waiting on Flores, Brown searching for first big league hit

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Tonight marks the third straight game that Jesus Flores will watch from the bench, with rookie catcher Sandy Leon taking over behind the plate. Leon's major league tenure has gotten off to a nice start, as he's hitting .385 in 13 at-bats. But the Nationals are looking forward to getting Flores back in the starting lineup once his back tightness has subsided.

Flores out of lineup for third straight game

FLUSHING, N.Y. - The Nationals have posted their lineup for tonight's 7:10 p.m. game against the Mets at Citi Field, and Jesus Flores isn't in it - or behind the plate - for a third straight game. Sandy Leon will catch Jordan Zimmermann tonight. Here are tonight's lineups: For the Nationals: 2B - Steve Lombardozzi RF - Bryce Harper 3B - Ryan Zimmerman LF -

Brown officially recalled, Braves making things interesting (updated)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - The Nationals have made it official, placing Ian Desmond on the 15-day disabled list with what they're calling a left oblique strain and recalling outfielder Corey Brown from Triple-A Syracuse. Desmond's DL stint is retroactive to July 22, the day after his last game played. Chien-Ming Wang will make a rehab start for Double-A Harrisburg tonight, which will be his third outing

Another big loss, another chance to overcome

So far this season, the Nationals have seen their opening day catcher, shortstop, third baseman, left fielder, center fielder and right fielder land on the disabled list. Their closer missed over half the season. Their top pinch hitter is still on the DL. Multiple relievers have missed time. Their projected fifth starter has suffered two separate injuries. Three backup catchers have been placed on the

A satisfying split

In Davey Johnson's eyes, today was "bittersweet." The Nationals lost Ian Desmond for at least a couple of weeks with a torn left oblique. They also dominated the Braves, notching a 9-2 win over their NL East rivals. That gave them a big series split and allowed them to retake a 3 1/2-game lead in the division. If you're going to lose your All-Star shortstop,

Desmond heads to DL with torn left oblique (updated)

The Nationals had hoped that Ian Desmond would be able to battle through a lingering oblique injury and continue playing, providing pop in the middle of their order as well as his usual dazzling defense. That won't happen. An MRI this morning revealed a tear in Desmond's left oblique, and the All-Star shortstop will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, manager Davey Johnson said

An offensive explosion in the first (Nats roll to 9-2 win)

I had a feeling the Nationals might put up a big number today, given the momentum they gained last night and the fact they're facing Braves starter Jair Jurrjens this afternoon - a guy they have crushed in recent years. I just didn't know that big number would come in the first inning. The Nationals put up a four-spot in the first, with Ryan Zimmerman's

Despite nagging oblique, Desmond unlikely to land on disabled list

The Nationals will continue to take things day-to-day with Ian Desmond, who is out of the lineup today because of a strained oblique. Manager Davey Johnson said the disabled list is not currently an option for Desmond, despite the fact that the shortstop has been battling the oblique injury for over a month. "Don't really wanna go there," Johnson said. Desmond was out of the

Desmond, Flores out of Nats lineup, Harper in right field

Ian Desmond (oblique) and Jesus Flores (back) will get to rest what ails them, as both at least start today's series finale against the Braves on the bench. Bryce Harper (left ankle), on the other hand, is in the Nationals' lineup, starting in right field. Danny Espinosa starts at short in Desmond's place while Sandy Leon will catch for Ross Detwiler. For the Nationals: 2B

Looking back and looking ahead

If you were among the group which felt that the Nationals should trade for a starting pitcher to fill out their rotation once Stephen Strasburg is shut down, did last night's performance by John Lannan do anything to change your mind? Lannan delivered a statement outing against the Braves, reminding Nats fans, and possibly GM Mike Rizzo, that despite the lefty's somewhat inflated numbers at

Nats get back on track with 5-2 win (Lannan optioned)

In the big picture, this game means just as much as any of the other 17 that the Nationals and Braves will play this season. It's still July. There are still 70 games remaining in the regular season. The Nats will meet the Braves seven more times after today. But from a momentum standpoint, this 5-2 Nationals win was a nice one for Davey Johnson's

Lannan starts slow, then settles down (Werth update, game update)

You can't really blame John Lannan if he was a little emotionally charged up in the first inning of tonight's ballgame. This is his first major league start of the season after the Nationals optioned him to Triple-A the day before opening day in a surprise move. He's been stuck riding buses and pitching to sparse crowds since, and hasn't been on the mound in

Final quotes on the afternoon contest (Harper not in lineup for nightcap)

Given what happened last night and what's still to come tonight, Edwin Jackson knew what he needed to do in Game 1 of the Nationals' doubleheader with the Braves. "Days like we had last night, it's pretty important that as a starter the next day, you can go as deep as you can to save the bullpen," Jackson said. "Those guys worked hard last night

Tests reveal Harper's ankle bruised, not broken (plus Rodriguez note)

Despite the 4-0 loss to the Braves in Game 1 of today's doubleheader, the Nationals got some good news when they found out Bryce Harper's left ankle was merely bruised and not broken. Tests revealed that Harper has a contusion on the left ankle, which comes as a result of a fouled bunt in the rookie outfielder's first-inning plate appearance. The ball drilled Harper on

Just what the doctor ordered (Nats drop opener 4-0)

After yesterday's 11-inning slopfest in which the Nationals used five relievers, they needed Edwin Jackson to eat innings and give them a chance to win Game 1 of today's doubleheader. Eat innings - check. Give the Nats a chance to win - check. Jackson has worked six fantastic frames so far today, allowing just one run on four hits. The righty has struck out eight

Harper exits after fouling ball off left ankle (with update)

Bryce Harper has been taken out of the first game of today's doubleheader after bunting a ball off the inside of his left ankle in the bottom of the first inning. The Nationals rookie outfielder limped around in obvious pain and dropped to a knee before getting attended to by a trainer. Harper remained in the game at the time, finishing his at-bat despite the

Pregame thoughts from the skipper, plus lineups

Davey Johnson says he didn't sleep too well last night. He was left thinking about the game that got away. The Nationals' skipper came in to the park this morning and ran two miles on the treadmill. He says he took two minutes off his time. "I punished myself," Johnson said. "I tried to wipe out some memory banks and create some new brain cells

Trying to put it in the rear-view (Nady DFA)

Good thing the Nationals will play 18 innings today. Plenty of chances to get last night's stinker out of their minds. With Davey Johnson using five relievers yesterday, he'll likely have a bit of a tough time navigating his way through today's doubleheader. Surprisingly, Johnson said he could use Drew Storen again today for a third straight day, and he'll have a rested Craig Stammen,

Zimmerman, Strasburg discuss tough 11-inning loss

Catcher Jesus Flores left tonight's game in the seventh inning with a stiff back. He said after the game that he should be fine for tomorrow's doubleheader. Also, Xavier Nady's rehab stint ended today with a 1-for-3 performance at Single-A Potomac. There's no official word from the Nationals yet, but it sounds like the team is planning on designating Nady for assignment. Now back to

Johnson blames himself for blown nine-run lead

Tonight was the largest blown lead in Nationals/Expos history. And Davey Johnson is putting it squarely on his own shoulders. "It was probably, arguably the worst game I've ever managed in my life," said the Nationals' skipper, who has managed 16 seasons in the majors. "I've never lost a nine-run lead when it was my part of the game to handle the pitching. It'll be

A meltdown of epic proportions (Nats fall in 11 innings)

What was a 9-0 Nationals lead entering the sixth turned into a 10-9 deficit. How the heck did this happen? The Nats were cruising over the Braves through five, smacking Atlanta pitchers around and putting up crooked numbers. Then Stephen Strasburg got ambushed in the sixth, allowing hits to four of the five hitters he faced and getting charged with four runs. In the eighth,

Michael Morse demolishes a baseball, so does Ryan Zimmerman (updated)

If you're driving around the district tonight and happen to have a baseball land on your car, you can thank Michael Morse. Morse just destroyed a Tommy Hanson offering, and there's a decent chance it still hasn't landed. The Nationals have a 3-0 lead thanks to the Morse homer, which brought in Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche. Both guys reached with two outs. It's Morse's

Johnson: Pre-deadline deals aren't needed

There have been some national media members who have said or written that they expect the Nationals to be major players before the trade deadline. Some have talked about the Nats being in the mix for a big-name position player, like Justin Upton. Others have discussed the need for the Nationals to go get another starting pitcher to fill in for Stephen Strasburg once he's

Werth feeling "good" stiffness in wrist, roster move on Nady coming

The Nationals are optimistic they'll be able to play tonight's game despite the rainy forecast for the D.C. region tonight. Should tonight's game get rained out before it starts, though, the Nats will just push their starters back and give Stephen Strasburg the ball for the first game of tomorrow's doubleheader. That would mean John Lannan wouldn't be needed tomorrow, which would be a tough

Desmond returns, Werth heads out

After five days out of the Nationals' starting lineup because of a sore oblique, Ian Desmond is back in there today. Desmond will start at short and hit in his normal No. 6 spot in the lineup for tonight's series opener against the Braves. That is, of course, if we play at all. The tarp is on the field and a light rain is currently

Set to square off against a red-hot division foe

You know what's tough? Waking up and reading reports about the horrific movie theater shooting in Colorado and then trying to refocus on sports. Truly awful stuff, and awful that it happened in a town which is apparently about 20 miles from Columbine. After opening the second half by playing four against the Marlins and then three against the Mets, the Nationals now move on

Storen's long-awaited 2012 debut an impressive one

When Drew Storen sprinted in from the Nationals Park bullpen for the first time this season, he heard "Bad Company" blaring over the stadium speakers, saw the fans give him a standing ovation and thought back on the last four months, which have been pretty rough on him professionally. "It was pretty emotional for me, to be honest with you," Storen said. "It's hard to

Plenty of positives from 9-5 loss (plus Lannan, Desmond notes)

It's easy to look at a 9-5 loss to a division rival and say not much went right. Gio Gonzalez got hit hard and lasted just 3 1/3 innings, his shortest outing of the year. Craig Stammen didn't fare much better in relief. Bryce Harper went 0-for-5, the Nationals were 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and they left 12 on-base. But Davey Johnson isn't

This one's gotten ugly (Nats lose 9-5)

You could tell Davey Johnson was throwing in the towel on today's ballgame when he let reliever Craig Stammen hit for himself in the fifth inning. Johnson really waved the white flag when he had Mark DeRosa take over for Ryan Zimmerman at third base in the top of the sixth. This one hasn't been pretty from the Nationals' perspective, as they trail 9-2 through

Rizzo feels comfortable with current catching corps (Gio leaves early)

The Nationals have used five different catchers at the major league level this season. Currently, with Jhonatan Solano landing on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, their duo consists of Jesus Flores, who came into today hitting .230 on the season, and backup Sandy Leon, who has just four innings of major league experience. That's led some to wonder if the Nats would

Rizzo on decision to designate Ankiel for assignment

Talk about rough timing for Rick Ankiel to find out that he'd been designated for assignment by the Nationals. Today is his birthday. Ankiel turns 33 today, but he now finds himself in a state of flux after being let go in order for the Nationals to activate reliever Drew Storen from the disabled list. General manager Mike Rizzo said the decision to let Ankiel

Storen to be activated, Ankiel likely designated for assignment

The lineup card has been posted in the Nationals clubhouse for today's 12:35 p.m. game against the Mets, and right-hander Drew Storen is listed among the available pitchers. That's a signal Storen has been activated from the disabled list following recovery from surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow. Outfielder Rick Ankiel is not listed among the bench players. His locker has

Shooting for the sweep, looking forward to Leon

In case you didn't happen to see it, reliever Miguel Batista called his squad "the best team in baseball" after last night's game. Yes, the same Miguel Batista who allowed two huge runs over two-thirds of an inning in yesterday's 4-3 Nationals win. Yes, the same Miguel Batista who suits up for the New York Mets, who are currently a game above .500 and eight

Another gem from Zimmermann (plus roster move)

The move isn't official just yet, but the Nationals will place catcher Jhonatan Solano on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique and recall Sandy Leon from Double-A Harrisburg to serve as their backup catcher. Leon played one game (well, four innings, really) with the Nats this season before suffering a high-ankle sprain on a play at the plate, landing him on the DL.

Clippard shaky again, but Nats beat Mets 4-3

As much as the Nationals might not enjoy facing the Marlins, they apparently love squaring off against the Mets. The Nats improved to 6-2 against the Mets this season with tonight's 4-3 win. For the time being, the Nationals move to four games up in the National League East, with the Braves still battling the Giants down in Atlanta. Jordan Zimmermann got the win tonight,

Jordan Zimmermann is a machine (updated again)

The level of consistency that Jordan Zimmermann has delivered this season has been remarkable, if not a little freaky. Zimmermann has thrown five shutout innings again tonight, lowering his season ERA to a miniscule 2.37 and leaving him one frame short of his 19th straight outing of at least six innings. The Mets have notched just three hits off Zimmermann, two of which were bloops

Get ready for some roster shuffling (Werth to begin rehab assignment)

The tarp is on the field at Nats Park, the wind is howling and the skies are pretty freakin' dark. They're expecting "severe storms" here in D.C., but we haven't gotten any rain yet and it looks like the heavy stuff might miss us. We shall see. There's a ton of injury news to pass along today, starting with Jayson Werth, who took batting practice

Werth back taking batting practice (with Nats lineup)

Still no Nationals lineup just yet, as the team could yet again be checking on Ian Desmond's status before setting their starting nine for tonight's game against the Mets. While we wait on the Nats lineup, I've got some good news to pass along on Jayson Werth, who is currently taking part in some early batting practice along with Chad Tracy. This is the first

Storen takes a step forward, Clippard questions his pitch selection

Davey Johnson said yesterday afternoon that the Nationals wanted to see Drew Storen's command improve and his breaking ball get more consistent before the team would consider activating the reliever from his rehab assignment. Storen was apparently listening loud and clear. He worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning for Single-A Potomac yesterday, throwing 11 pitches, 10 of which were strikes. Storen struck out two, both of

Reliving last night's thriller

This is just one man's take, but I feel like last night's game was about as much fun as a baseball game can be in the middle of July. Some might prefer a 1-0 pitchers' duel. I'll take a back-and-forth, standing ovation-inducing, walk-off-ending 5-4 contest between two division rivals. Actually, if you think about it, last night's game had it all. If you're the pitchers'

Johnson recaps a wild 5-4 extra-inning win

Davey Johnson walked into the interview room next door to the Nationals' clubhouse, sat down at the table in front of reporters and broke into a big smile. "Wow! That's my kind of ballgame," Johnson said. This was certainly another crazy one, one which saw the Nats jump out to a 2-0 lead, lose it in the ninth when Tyler Clippard blew his first save

Detwiler, Niese dueling in D.C. (Nats win an insane ballgame)

We've cruised through 5 1/2 innings at Nats Park, and Ross Detwiler and Jon Niese are locked in quite a pitcher's duel. The Nationals have a 1-0 lead after Tyler Moore went yard in the bottom of the fifth, a blast which got the Nats their first baserunner since Bryce Harper singled with one out in the first. It was Moore's fifth homer of the

Werth on track to return in early August, plus Storen, Wang updates

This just in: Lucas Giolito is tall. And personable. The Nationals' first-round pick is here at Nats Park today. He met with the media earlier (Byron Kerr has more on that conversation) and will be introduced to the fans tonight. Giolito turned 18 a day after reaching a contract agreement with the Nats, and he might still have some growing in him. But the kid

Desmond again not in Nats lineup, expects oblique injury to linger

Yet again, Ian Desmond will watch from the bench as his Nationals teammates take on a division rival. Desmond will remain sidelined tonight because of a sore left oblique, an injury which has now knocked him out of the lineup three straight days. Unfortunately for Desmond, it appears that the time off so far - both the four days of rest over the All-Star break

Putting the Marlins in the past, looking ahead to Lannan

Think the Nationals will be happy to be done with the Marlins for a while? They've averaged just 2.8 runs per game against the Marlins this season and 4.3 runs per game against everyone else. They're 4-5 against Miami and 47-30 against everyone else. They're 2-5 at Marlins Park and 25-18 at every other road ballpark. Yeah, it'll be nice not to see Ozzie Guillen

Zimmerman, Espinosa nearly cycling in Miami (Nats lose 5-3)

Ryan Zimmerman is 3-for-3 with a single, a home run and a double. Danny Espinosa is 3-for-3 with a triple, a single and a double. The two guys are each a knock away from recording the cycle, and they've combined to drive in two of the Nationals' three runs so far tonight. The only problem is the Nats still trail 4-3 entering the seventh. Edwin

Desmond sits for second straight day

The Nationals will be without Ian Desmond for tonight's series finale against the Marlins. Desmond also sat out yesterday's game against the Marlins because of a sore left oblique which tightened up on him. He had played every inning for 71 straight games prior to missing yesterday's contest. With Desmond out of the lineup, the Nationals will again go with Danny Espinosa at shortstop and

With one game on the line, which Nats starter do you want?

Over the last three days, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg have allowed a total of two runs in 18 innings pitched. The Nationals' trio of aces is at it again. All three put up incredibly impressive first halves, and all three are coming out of the gates strong after the All-Star break. You could certainly argue this is the best trio of starting

Harper, Guillen and a sticky situation

So let me get this straight: We've got another pine tar incident on our hands? The first time around, it involved Joe Maddon and the Rays, with Joel Peralta being ejected for having pine tar on his glove. This time, it's Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen, who always seems to find himself in the headlines, accusing Bryce Harper of having pine tar too high up on

Guillen heated, Strasburg hitting (Nats win 4-0)

There's been no shortage of fireworks through the first few innings of today's ballgame. We've got Ozzie Guillen dropping F-bombs in the direction of Nationals players or their manager, Roger Bernadina laying out to make a diving, run-saving grab, Davey Johnson giving it to first base umpire D.J. Reyburn and Stephen Strasburg sending his OPS to ridiculous levels. The Nationals lead 2-0 in the sixth

Desmond not in Nationals lineup

For the first time in 71 games, Ian Desmond will not be at shortstop when the Nationals take the field today. Desmond and his sore oblique will get the day off, with Danny Espinosa sliding over from second base to play shortstop and Steve Lombardozzi filling in at second. Interestingly enough, Desmond needs the day off just two games into the second half of the

Marlins succeeding with small ball (Nats lose 2-1)

Davey Johnson typically isn't a huge fan of giving away outs by sacrificing and relying on the small-ball game. Tonight, Ozzie Guillen's Marlins have done just that. And they have two big runs on the board as a result. In the fourth, Jose Reyes reached on a leadoff single and was immediately moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Omar Infante. One batter later,

Two tough lefties square off in Miami

Remember when the Nationals tried signing Mark Buehrle this offseason and he spurned their advances only to sign with another National League East team, the Marlins? Remember when the Nats then filled the void in their rotation by trading for Gio Gonzalez? Today, the two lefties, whose offseason maneuverings were intertwined, will face off when the Nats look to take their second straight game from

Starting the second half with a bang

For the first six innings of last night's ballgame, the Nationals played about as well as a team can play. They did it all. They brought their bats to the party, putting up five runs on a pitcher who they had never beaten in 15 starts, knocking two-time All-Star Josh Johnson from the game after just 5 1/3 innings. Ryan Zimmerman stayed scorching hot, Adam

Cortisone shots for everyone (Nats win 5-1)

The All-Star break can't slow down Ryan Zimmerman. In his last 14 games before the break - after getting a cortisone shot in his sore right shoulder - Zimmerman hit .333 with five homers and 18 RBIs. If you were concerned about four days off affecting Zimmerman's recent tear at the plate, worry no more. So far today, Zimmerman is 2-for-3 with a two-run homer

Nationals sign first-round pick Lucas Giolito

It took a while, but the Nationals have signed their 2012 first-round pick, prep right-hander Lucas Giolito. With just minutes remaining until the league-imposed signing deadline of 5 p.m. this afternoon, the Nationals reached terms with Giolito, the 17-year-old they selected with the No. 16 overall pick in the June draft. The two sides agreed on a deal which gives Giolito a bonus of $2.925

Nationals-Marlins lineups for the start of the second half

Jordan Zimmermann (5-6, 2.61 ERA) will take the mound in Miami, looking to lead the Nats to a win in the second-half opener. The Nationals will be facing Josh Johnson (5-5, 4.06 ERA). For the Nationals: LF Steve Lombardozzi CF Bryce Harper 3B Ryan Zimmerman RF Michael Morse 1B Adam LaRoche SS Ian Desmond 2B Danny Espinosa C Jesus Flores P Jordan Zimmermann For the

Zimmermann looks to reel in the Fish for the first time (plus shameless plug)

Only twice this season has Jordan Zimmermann allowed more than three earned runs in a start. One of those two outings came against the Marlins. Zimmermann gave up four runs on eight hits over six innings against the Fish back on May 28 in Miami in a game that the Nats lost 5-3. Surprisingly, Zimmermann has never beaten the Marlins in six career starts against

Deadline day arrives plus Strasburg chatter

By the time the clock hits 5 p.m. today, the Nationals' minor league system could be significantly stronger than it is right now. Today marks the last day that teams can sign their 2012 draft picks, and for the Nationals, there's really only one guy they have left to do business with: Lucas Giolito, the 16th overall pick in the June draft. Giolito is a

Which division opponent poses the biggest threat?

It was announced this afternoon that Bryce Harper was named as the Nationals' team winner of the 2012 Heart and Hustle Award, given out by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. The award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game of baseball. What a shocker - Harper winning an award

Taking a look ahead

Remember that stretch earlier this season where the Nationals played 32 straight games against teams from either the National League East or American League East? That was a massively important span of games in the Nats' first half. It was a portion of the schedule which was either going to validate the Nationals as legitimate contenders or show them as a team still a year

We're talkin' trade

With the All-Star Game behind us - and boy, I'll miss it oh, so dearly - we can now start looking ahead to the second half of the season and some of the hot topics which await us. One of those hot topics is the trade deadline and how the Nationals might attack negotiations with other clubs given their legitimate playoff aspirations. There's been talk

Nats factor into National League victory in All-Star Game (updated)

Could we have Game 1 of the World Series in the nation's capital? The National League All-Star team is helping do its part to at least make that a possibility. The NL squad is dominating the American League All-Stars tonight, and has an 8-0 lead. Three San Francisco Giants have played a major factor in the lopsided score. Pablo Sandoval ripped a bases-clearing triple in

Finding roster room for Storen, Tracy

There was a time not too long ago when the Nationals were being given 100/1 odds to win the World Series. At the All-Star break this year, the Nats' odds of being the last team standing are 11/1, according to Bovada. The Nationals are behind only the Yankees (9/2) and Rangers (5/1) when it comes to overall odds to win the World Series. Bovada has

Who's your first-half Nationals MVP?

Was I the only one less than wowed by last night's Home Run Derby? Sure, Prince Fielder put on a show, and it was fun watching Mark Trumbo demolish a few baseballs, especially since I hadn't gotten much of a chance to catch the Angels outfielder doing his thing out west in the first half of the season. But Robinson Cano and Matt Kemp -

Looking back on an eventful and successful first half

The break has arrived. Sleep in past the alarm. Play some golf. Hit up the beach and improve that tan. OK, maybe not you. You might end up losing your job if you decide to just not show up these next four days. The Nationals, however, get to enjoy a well-deserved break after playing 83 games over the last three months. They enter this relaxation

Bullpen puts up a rare stinker, but Nats find a positive in loss

The Nationals are certainly frustrated with how today's game finished and the fact that they cost Jordan Zimmermann another win. But two guys in the Nats clubhouse feel that today's loss might actually benefit the team in the long-run. "I look at it as good timing," Tyler Clippard said. "You know, I think you don't ever want to get too comfortable or too confident out

Johnson discusses a tough 4-3 loss

The worst part of today's 4-3 loss to the Rockies from Davey Johnson's perspective was that it wasted a fantastic outing from starter Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed just one run over seven innings. Zimmermann lowered his ERA to 2.61 on the season, the ninth-lowest total in the majors among pitchers with at least 15 starts. Despite that low ERA and the fact that Zimmerman has

Desmond just keeps doin' it (Nats close first half with 4-3 loss)

The numbers keep getting more impressive by the day. Ian Desmond is 2-for-2 today, and his two-run home run to the red seats in left-center in the fourth inning has given the Nationals a 2-1 lead over the Rockies. The All-Star shortstop now has 17 home runs and 51 RBIs on the season. A day before the All-Star break. Oh, and he added his 10th

Nats preparing for a welcome break (plus Tracy, Storen updates)

Davey Johnson isn't a big fan of team meetings. He doesn't feel he needs to stand up in front of his squad like a football coach and deliver a pep talk. But Johnson did walk around the Nationals clubhouse early this afternoon, talking to each player, giving out handshakes and wishing everyone well over the All-Star break. "I just talked to all the players individually,

Johnson outlines probable post-All-Star break rotation

While he'll have to see how things play out in the All-Star Game, Davey Johnson has set what he's calling his probable rotation after the All-Star break. That rotation has Jordan Zimmermann working the first game after the break, which will come Friday in Miami. Zimmermann will be followed by Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler. Johnson said there's "a little better

Rockies-Nationals lineups for first-half finale

The Nationals close out the first half today with a 1:35 p.m. game against the Colorado Rockies and right-hander Jeremy Guthrie. Here are the lineups for today's game: For the Rockies: CF - Dexter Fowler 2B - Marco Scutaro LF - Carlos Gonzalez RF - Tyler Colvin 1B - Todd Helton 3B - Jordan Pacheco SS - Jonathan Herrera C - Wil Nieves P -

Oh yeah, there was a game today

We know Bryce Harper was named to the All-Star Game. We know Ian Desmond has opted out of the All-Star Game. Now, let's discuss the actual game which was played at Nationals Park today. Gio Gonzalez went six innings, allowing just one run on three hits in the Nationals' 4-1 win over the Rockies. "Gio pitched an outstanding game," manager Davey Johnson said. "He was

Desmond discusses decision to sit out All-Star Game

After learning that he'd been selected to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, Ian Desmond took a few days to decide how to proceed. He was honored to be chosen for the National League team by NL manager Tony La Russa, but given that he's been battling a sore left oblique recently, Desmond also wanted to use the All-Star break to

Harper to replace Stanton at All-Star Game (updated with quotes)

Bryce Harper will be on the National League All-Star roster after all. Harper will replace Miami Marlins All-Star Giancarlo Stanton, who was forced to drop out following a knee injury that will require surgery. NL manager Tony La Russa hand-picked Harper following Stanton's injury. Harper is the fourth Nationals player named to the All-Star team, along with teammates Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and Ian Desmond.

Nats get a couple gifts in the sixth (also get a 4-1 win)

The Rockies are not an incredibly talented or fundamentally sound baseball team. That's why they entered today 19 games under .500. The Nationals didn't see that Rockies team yesterday. They saw a squad which got a very strong performance from its starter and put up five runs in a game started by the Nats' ace. Today, at least for an inning, the Rockies played like

Desmond will sit out All-Star Game to rest oblique (plus game update)

For a few weeks now, Ian Desmond has been battling a sore left oblique. It hasn't been enough to cause him to miss any game action, but it has bugged him. And so, instead of risking further aggravating the oblique by coming off the bench during the All-Star Game, Desmond has decided to skip the Midsummer Classic. He'll instead get some time to rest over

Updates on Tracy, Nady, Storen, Wang

Today is Photo Day at Nationals Park, which allows a group of fans to line the warning track all the way around the field and shake hands and pose for pictures with Nats players. What a perfect day for both players and fans to be standing outside for a lengthy period of time. Temperatures of 103 degrees with a heat index of close to 110

Nats lineup on a scalding Saturday (updated with Rockies lineup)

Yeah, it's a little bit warm in the nation's capital today. I don't envy Gio Gonzalez or Jeff Francis, the two starters who will be trying to fight through this heat at Nationals Park. It's bad enough trying to unstick myself from my chair in the press box, much less get a grip on a curveball. Here's the Nationals lineup today against Francis, who held

Three straight losses will stick with Strasburg over the break

Those pesky Rockies. They have the second-worst winning percentage in baseball and have a winning record against just three teams this season. Those three teams: the 32-52 Astros, the 39-44 Brewers and the 48-33 Nationals, who own the best record in the National League. Colorado has now won three of the five games it's played with the Nats this season. Surprisingly, two of those three

Nats hitters left shaking their heads (plus Strasburg quotes)

The overwhelming feeling in the Nationals clubhouse after tonight's game was simple: We let one slip away. Rockies rookie Drew Pomeranz had a good fastball tonight. It sat in the low-to-mid 90s and had some cut to it at times, and the lefty was able to both work the ball in on hitters and get some tailing action away. But when 91 percent of a

Johnson talks Strasburg, offensive futility after 5-1 loss

First things first - after tonight's 5-1 loss to the Rockies, Davey Johnson clarified some earlier comments in which it sounded like he planned on pushing Stephen Strasburg back in the rotation coming out of the All-Star break. Turns out, what Johnson meant was that he'll decide when Strasburg will start next based on how much the righty works in the All-Star Game. Same goes

Tyler Colvin owns Stephen Strasburg (Nats fall to Rockies 5-1)

Tyler Colvin had never faced Stephen Strasburg coming into tonight's game. Colvin has now seen Strasburg twice. He's homered off him in both at-bats. The Rockies have a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning, and it's entirely thanks to Colvin, whose solo home run in the second inning and two-run shot in the fourth have provided all the offense so far tonight. The second-inning home

Danny Espinosa could hit leadoff full-time in the near future

For the last couple months, Davey Johnson has gone with a platoon at the leadoff spot. Danny Espinosa gets the start atop the order against left-handed starters, as is the case tonight with the Nationals facing Rockies lefty Drew Pomeranz, while Steve Lombardozzi hits first when the Nationals are facing a righty. Once Jayson Werth returns, however, Johnson will need to switch things up. Werth

Pregame nuggets from the Nationals' skipper

How will the Nationals prepare for the heat and humidity which figures to affect their starters to at least some extent over the next couple days? Manager Davey Johnson said - apparently half-joking, half-serious - that the fire department is on site at Nationals Park tonight. "We're contemplating IVs today," Johnson said. "Stay tuned." Braves starter Tim Hudson normally gets a bag of IV fluids

Nats lineup vs. Rockies, Pomeranz

Stephen Strasburg will oppose Drew Pomeranz tonight at Nationals Park in the opener of a three-game set between the Nats and Rockies. Pomeranz hasn't notched a win in six major league outings this season, but he did deliver a strong start his last time out, allowing just an unearned run on two hits over six innings. That was his first start back in the big

Getting a little distance within the division

As Giants first baseman Brandon Belt failed to secure a low, skipping throw and Adam LaRoche crossed first base safely in the ninth inning of last night's game, plating the game-winning run for the Nationals, a group of ballplayers about 650 miles away let out a frustrated groan. According to reporters in Atlanta, Braves players watching the end of last night's Nationals game on a

Looking back on a convincing three-game sweep

The Giants entered their three-game series with the Nationals holding the National League's second-best record. They were throwing a two-time Cy Young award winner and the top two starters in their rotation, both of whom entered the series with at least nine wins and a sub-2.90 ERA. San Francisco had gone 74-1 in its last 75 games in which it had held at least a

Tale of the helmet snatchers

When Ian Desmond returns to the Nationals dugout after hitting a home run, he gets the usual handshakes and high fives. But if you watch MASN, you'll see another courtesy extended a player who returns after circling the bases or some other significant offense accomplishment. The batting helmet on a player's head doesn't stay there for long. In a sea of arms, a teammate's hands

Harper's prediction, LaRoche's speed and an awesome celebration

When Ian Desmond hit his solo home run off Matt Cain in the seventh inning, cutting the Giants' lead to 5-2, Bryce Harper turned to Adam LaRoche, who was seated next to him on the bench. "We're going to win this game," Harper said. "Just be ready for it." If Harper finds himself out of a job anytime soon, he could replace Miss Cleo. Danny

Johnson discusses Nats' 6-5 walk-off win

Over the first six innings of tonight's ballgame, the Nationals managed just one run and four hits. Over the final three frames, they put up five runs on eight hits. There was a clear shift in the seventh inning, when Matt Cain began to tire. With his pitch count rising and the muggy conditions possibly beginning to wear on him, Cain served up back-to-back homers

Detwiler gets smacked around (Nats walk off with 6-5 win)

In five innings of work, Ross Detwiler allowed 11 hits and two walks. Yep, 13 baserunners in five innings. Somehow, despite all the grey, pinstriped players moving around the bases so far tonight, Detwiler managed to hold the Giants to just three runs. I'm not entirely sure how the Nationals lefty did it. He did benefit from a slick 5-4 double play in the fourth

Storen's first rehab outing is in the books

Drew Storen's latest step in his recovery from right elbow surgery was a positive one. The right-hander started tonight's game for Single-A Potomac at Pfitzner Stadium against Frederick, working a scoreless first inning. It was Storen's first game action since having a small bone fragment removed from his pitching elbow in April. The uneventful frame started when Storen got Keys leadoff man John Reuttiger to

How will Storen be used upon his return?

Wondering how Drew Storen will be used once he's back from his lengthy rehab from elbow surgery? If so, this entry's for you. Manager Davey Johnson said again today that Tyler Clippard will remain his closer once Storen is back with the Nationals, which the team expects to be just after the All-Star break. Johnson feels Clippard is closing as well as anyone in the

Your latest Jayson Werth update

The last couple days, Jayson Werth has been back in his familiar spot in right field. OK, it's only been during batting practice, as Werth has been shagging fly balls of the bats of his teammates. But still, Werth has at least started to return to baseball activities more than eight weeks after breaking his left wrist in a game against the Phillies. Werth still

Freese wins NL Final Vote, Harper gets a breather

Instead of heading to Kansas City over the All-Star break, Bryce Harper will be going to Las Vegas. Despite plenty of fan support in the voting on MLB.com and on Twitter, Harper came up short in a bid to earn the final spot on the National League All-Star team. Cardinals third baseman David Freese won the NL portion of the Final Vote, while Rangers starter

Harper's patient approach has returned (plus lineups)

When Bryce Harper first got brought up to the big leagues, it was his patience at the plate which impressed me maybe more than anything else. Yes, he was athletic and had a smooth swing and played the game hard. But we knew he'd bring all that to the table. We didn't know that the 19-year-old with massive power and a desire to prove he

Despite first-half success, Nats still feel best is yet to come

Hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth of July festivities yesterday, even if the fireworks show you witnessed wasn't nearly as robust as the one that happened in San Diego. I like San Diego's style on this one. Why wait and save the "grand finale" for the end of a 15-20 minute show? Why not just make it the entire show? Today is now July 5, which

Postgame thoughts from Zimmerman, Solano, Jackson

The cortisone shot continues to work wonders for Ryan Zimmerman. Since getting a pain-killing injection in his inflamed right shoulder 10 days ago, Zimmerman is batting .369 with four home runs, five doubles and 16 RBIs. Today, he notched a run-scoring double in the third and a two-run homer in the fifth, a ball which was absolutely smoked over the right-center field fence. Is it

Johnson talks after Nats' 9-4 win

Following today's game, Davey Johnson found his team 15 games above .500, matching their season-high. That gave him plenty to smile about while meeting with reporters. But Johnson isn't satisfied yet. Not by a longshot. His team is now 47-32 on the season, but he's already picked out his next goal - 20 games above .500. "I like to go by fives," Johnson said. "We

Another offensive explosion nets Nats 9-4 win

Remember that scene in "When Harry Met Sally," when Meg Ryan is slapping the table and the random lady nearby turns to the waitress and says, "I'll have what she's having"? The rest of the league wants whatever the Nationals have been having over their last eight games. Was that a bit of a reach? OK, my bad. Since last Tuesday, the Nats have averaged

Jackson settles down, and the laser show continues (and continues)

For whatever reason, Edwin Jackson stinks it up in the first inning nearly every time he takes the mound. Then, almost without fail, he gets into a groove and dominates the rest of the way out. That pattern has held true today, as Jackson gave up three Giants runs in the first inning, putting the Nationals in an early 3-0 hole. He has settled into

Espinosa improving from the left side

Of all the positives to come out of last night's dominating win over the National League West-leading Giants - and there were many to choose from - the thing that Davey Johnson was most pleased with was the performance of his second baseman. Danny Espinosa went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI last night, with all three hits coming from the left side, a

Your Fourth of July lineups

The Nationals will wear their normal red hats for this afternoon's 11:05 a.m. start, with a patriotic twist: The curly W will be camouflage. Trust me when I say that the special July 4 hats look pretty sweet. Happy Fourth of July to everyone out there. Hope your BBQs are fun, the fireworks shine brightly tonight and we get some good baseball this morning, even

Johnson on roster move, Zimmermann on his consistency

As if the later part of tonight wasn't crazy enough, with an 85-minute rain delay which only saw about 15 minutes of rain and a 12-hour turnaround until first-pitch tomorrow, the Nationals had some theatrics go on before the game, as well. This afternoon, while throwing a bullpen session, Chien-Ming Wang felt a little something in his hip. He was checked out by Nationals' doctors,

Nats smack around a two-time Cy Young award winner (Nats win 9-3)

It wasn't that long ago that Tim Lincecum was without question one of the top two or three pitchers in baseball. The Giants righty won the National League Cy Young award in 2008 and 2009 and made the All-Star Game each of the last four years. This season has been a little different for Lincecum. He entered today with a 5.60 ERA, and that number

National League Final Vote takes an interesting turn

Remember that whole "Bryce Harper vs. Chipper Jones for the last spot on the National League All-Star team" thing? Yeah, that won't be happening. Jones has been named to the All-Star team as an injury replacement for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, removing him as a candidate for the Final Vote. It's a little uncertain what will happen now, but Harper clearly now has a better

Wang heading to DL, Rodriguez activated

The Nationals have placed struggling right-hander Chien-Ming Wang on the 15-day disabled list with a right hip strain and reinstated reliever Henry Rodriguez from the DL. Wang's DL stint is retroactive to July 1. This is his second time on the disabled list this season; he missed the first 42 games of the season due to a strained left hamstring which he suffered in spring

Storen to begin rehab assignment Thursday, Rodriguez close to returning

Drew Storen is getting closer to returning by the day. The Nationals reliever, who has yet to appear in a game due to an elbow surgery, will begin a rehab assignment on Thursday, likely with Single-A Potomac, according to manager Davey Johnson. The team plans for Storen to pitch every-other day and appear in four games. That puts him on track to return to the

Nats lineup vs. Lincecum (with Giants lineup added)

The Nationals will square off against the Giants and starter Tim Lincecum tonight. Lincecum is 3-8 with a 5.60 ERA this season, but has put up quality starts his last two times out. He delivered seven shutout innings his last start, which came against the Dodgers. Here's Davey Johnson's lineup for tonight: LF Steve Lombardozzi CF Bryce Harper 3B Ryan Zimmerman RF Michael Morse 1B

Some shocking Zimmermann numbers

Believe it or not, Jordan Zimmermann has only one win at Nationals Park since last year's All-Star break. One win. In 11 starts. This despite posting a 3.13 ERA during those 11 outings at home. Zimmermann's last home win came on Aug. 18, 2011. In his eight home starts since, he has an 0-4 record and has received 10 runs of offensive support while in

An interesting question regarding Harper's possible All-Star inclusion (updated)

Being selected to the All-Star Game is an honor, regardless how a player gets there. Bryce Harper wasn't voted in as a starter or selected as a reserve by his peers or the manager of the National League All-Star team, Tony LaRussa. He will, however, have a shot to participate in the Midsummer Classic thanks to the All-Star Game Final Vote. The Nationals' 19-year-old outfielder

Clippard named MLB's top relief pitcher for June

The month of June treated Tyler Clippard pretty well. The Nationals' new closer went 10-for-10 in save opportunities during June, holding opponents scoreless over 11 2/3 innings. He solidified the back of the Nats' bullpen and found out that he'll more than likely remain Davey Johnson's closer even when Drew Storen returns from his rehab from elbow surgery. Now, Clippard has been named the MLB

Ready to close out the first half

The Nationals' recent three-city road trip might not have seemed that lengthy, given one of the stops was just a 45-minute drive from D.C. The visit to Baltimore was followed by trips to steamy Colorado and Atlanta, where the Nationals literally worked up quite a sweat over the last week. They now return home having gone 5-5 on the 10-game trip, which helped give them

Johnson gives Gonzalez a little bit too much rope (Nationals win 8-4)

All-in-all, allowing four runs in five-plus innings in the 100-degree Atlanta heat isn't the worst thing in the world. But when you consider that Gio Gonzalez led 6-1 starting the bottom of the sixth inning, it has to sting a bit that he left the game with just a two-run lead. After Davey Johnson played things very carefully with Stephen Strasburg in the hot conditions

Strasburg, G. Gonzalez, Desmond named to NL All-Star team (Harper in Final Vote)

Prior to this year, the Nationals had never had more than two players named to the All-Star team in a single season. This season, three Nationals have been selected to the Mid-summer Classic. And that number can possibly grow to four. Nationals pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez and shortstop Ian Desmond have all been named to the National League All-Star team. This is the

Lombardozzi at second, Ankiel in center, Solano behind the plate

Davey Johnson has made a few changes to his normal lineup for today's series finale against the Braves. Danny Espinosa will get the day off, with Steve Lombardozzi taking over at second base and hitting out of the leadoff spot. Rick Ankiel starts in center field, moving Bryce Harper over to right and Michael Morse to left. Jhonatan Solano will also get the nod behind

Pulling Strasburg the right move, even if it failed to net Nats a win

We've talked about how Davey Johnson's patience with his players, even when they're struggling, is part of what makes him so beloved by the guys he manages. Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Michael Morse can all attest to that. Yesterday, it was Johnson's lack of patience which showed why he is so highly regarded by the guys in his clubhouse. With the temperature in Atlanta

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