Entries Listing

Scherzer getting “precautionary” MRI for hamstring cramp

Anyone who has been watching the Nationals for at least the last two months has known the results of any one particular game have not mattered much for a team that essentially had locked up a postseason berth long before it officially clinched on Sept. 10. One thing - and only one thing - truly has mattered for the Nationals during this homestretch: Keeping everybody

Scherzer pulled in fourth with apparent leg issue (Nats lose 4-1)

The last thing the Nationals needed in Game 161 of the season was to pull Max Scherzer in the top of the fourth inning for any reason other than performance, but that’s what they got tonight. Scherzer was removed from his final postseason tune-up with what appeared to be a right leg issue after he landed awkwardly while throwing a pitch to the Pirates’ Josh

Drew activated, Kelley to 60-day DL with bone chips

The Nationals made a 60-day disabled list player swap just before tonight’s game, adding Stephen Drew to the active roster while shelving Shawn Kelley for the remainder of the season. Drew, who has been out since July 26 with a tear in his abdomen, is now active but isn’t ready to play quite yet. Kelley, who had to depart his Sept. 22 relief appearance with

Rendon gets a breather, Harper tries to get more at-bats

If Anthony Rendon is going to make one final case for MVP votes, it’ll have to come in Sunday’s season finale. Rendon is not in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Pirates, a decision made in conjunction with manager Dusty Baker in an attempt to stay fresh heading into the postseason. Baker described the star third baseman as being “just a little fatigued” and

Game 161 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates

It’s not necessarily high on their priority list right now, but the Nationals do still have a chance to win 99 games this season and thus set a new franchise record. To get there, they need to win both tonight and Sunday afternoon against the Pirates, which is far from an impossible task. And it only helps to have Max Scherzer on the mound tonight

What Doolittle hopes to learn from first blown save

It was bound to happen eventually, at least that’s how the Nationals figured it. Sean Doolittle had been perfect since his acquisition from the Athletics in July, going 21-for-21 in save opportunities. Could they reasonably expect that conversion rate to remain at 100 percent straight through the end of their season? So maybe Thursday night’s blown save against the Pirates - especially considering the fact

Doolittle blows first save, but Nats rally to win 5-4 in ninth

What had been commonplace throughout the season’s first three months had become wholly unexpected ever since. Give the Nationals bullpen a late lead? In April, May and June, that often meant disaster was looming. In July, August and September, it meant victory was assured. Since their mid-July acquisition of Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, and continuing with their acquisition of Brandon Kintzler two weeks later,

Harper sitting tonight, plans to play rest of weekend

Bryce Harper is not in the Nationals lineup tonight, but Dusty Baker wants to make sure you know nothing’s wrong with the star outfielder. Really wants you know. “No, nothing,” the manager said. “No. Don’t be alarmed. Nothing. Again, nothing.” The Nationals simply don’t want to push Harper too much too fast on the heels of his return from a major left knee and calf

Game 159 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates

And we’re back on South Capitol Street for the final weekend of the regular season. The Nationals wrap things up with four games against the Pirates. A few months back, this series looked like it could carry some significance for at least one of the two teams, maybe even both. Instead, they’re just playing out the string, with the Bucs having struggled over the last

Werth turns sentimental in possible Philly finale

PHILADELPHIA - Jayson Werth insists he hadn’t really thought about it, not entering this series, not even entering Wednesday night’s finale. He’s made 17 trips to Citizens Bank Park as a member of the Nationals over the last seven years, playing in 52 games. He has long since blocked out the emotions that used to be associated with his trips here, the booing Phillies fans

Nats drop finale to Phillies, will face Cubs in NLDS (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - Trea Turner reached base five times. Jayson Werth hit a pair of balls as well as he has in a while. Michael A. Taylor homered. Sammy Solís continued his late-season resurgence. And Bryce Harper again looked healthy, and even picked up his first hit in six at-bats since returning from the disabled list. None of that, though, catapulted the Nationals to victory tonight

Goodwin in Florida, could make NLDS roster (Nats lose 7-5)

PHILADELPHIA - Brian Goodwin probably won’t be returning to play for the Nationals in the regular season. Which doesn’t mean he might not still return to play for them in the National League Division Series. Goodwin, out since Aug. 13 with a strained groin, has left the club and is now in West Palm Beach, Fla., playing in instructional league games. The outfielder will stay

Game 158 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Hello from Citizens Bank Park, where the Nationals and Phillies wrap up their season series tonight. Many thanks to Byron Kerr for covering the last two games; he’s back home tonight hosting “Nats Xtra” on MASN, so I made the drive to Philadelphia to cover this final road game of the regular season. The Nationals have been very good away from home this

What can Nats reasonably expect from Harper in return?

NEW YORK - When he slipped on first base, felt his left knee buckle and tumbled awkwardly to the ground in the bottom of the first inning Aug. 12 at Nationals Park, Bryce Harper didn’t know if he’d play again this season. By the next morning, once an MRI confirmed he had not suffered any ligament damage, only a significant bone bruise and calf strain,

Nationals close out Mets, now ready for Harper’s return

NEW YORK - The Nationals lineup is on the verge of being whole again, with Bryce Harper having done everything required to recover from the scary leg injury he suffered six weeks ago and now poised to come off the disabled list. The club isn’t making it official yet - “We’re still trying to make up our minds,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ll let you

When will NLDS rotation order be set? (Nats win 3-2)

NEW YORK - We’ve reached the point in the season when it’s time for playoff-bound clubs to begin lining up their rotations for October. The Nationals already know which four starters will take the mound for the National League Division Series. The order in which they’ll do so, however, has not yet been made public. It is perhaps notable, though, how the Nats currently have

Game 155 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - Though their chances of securing home field advantage throughout the postseason are slim - they still trail the Dodgers by 4 1/2 games - the Nationals are on the verge of securing home field advantage at least for the National League Division Series. They enter play today with a seven-game lead over the Cubs, with eight to go. Thus, their magic number

Lind reaches 200-homer plateau, thanks to key blast in win

NEW YORK - On the surface, it may not seem like that big of a deal, given the rate the home runs fly out of ballparks these days. But let’s pause for a moment to give Adam Lind some credit, because even in these inflated times, 200 career homers is nothing to gloss over. Lind’s opposite-field, two-run shot during the Nationals’ 4-3, 10-inning win over

Murphy takes down Mets again, this time in extras (updated)

NEW YORK - They waited much of the night for somebody - anybody - to deliver the big hit that would break a game that had been deadlocked far too long. In the end, who better to deliver that hit for the Nationals against the Mets than Daniel Murphy? Murphy’s leadoff homer in the top of the 10th lifted the Nats to a 4-3 victory

Harper just waiting for green light to return (Nats win 4-3 in 10)

NEW YORK - Bryce Harper has taken batting practice multiple times. He has run the bases. He has shagged fly balls. He has worked on throws from the outfield. He has hit in two simulated games against Nationals minor league pitchers. At this point, there’s only one thing left for Harper to do: play in an actual game. And at this point, there’s only one

Kelley waiting for more tests but confident elbow is sound

NEW YORK - Shawn Kelley is confident his twice-repaired elbow ligament is sound. Beyond that, the veteran reliever doesn’t yet know the extent to which his arm is injured, or how long it will take to return to the mound. Kelley had an MRI this morning and received an initial diagnosis of inflammation and nerve problems in his right forearm, explaining in part why his

Game 154 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - First, the most important news of the day: Bryce Harper (along with Brian Goodwin and Stephen Drew) batted in another simulated game today, facing Nationals minor leaguers Steven Fuentes and Alex Troop. By all indications (i.e., from what I could tell from my vantage point up in the press box) things went well, which means it should be decision time for the

Looking at NLDS roster cases for Jackson, Robles, De Aza

NEW YORK - It’s no secret the Nationals are using the final two weeks of the regular season to make some final evaluations of players who are in the mix for the handful of postseason roster spots up for grabs. Which makes games like Friday night’s at Citi Field - a 7-6 loss to the Mets - meaningful, but in a different way than most

Robles’ efforts can’t make up for pitching woes in 7-6 loss

NEW YORK - They played the kids, and some of them provided some uplifting moments. But the Nationals lost tonight’s series opener to the Mets, 7-6, not because of anything their rookies did but because of what two struggling veteran pitchers did. Starter Edwin Jackson continued his September tailspin, giving up six runs in 4 2/3 innings - five of those runs coming in the

Rookies get chance to play, make NLDS roster case (Nats lose 7-6)

NEW YORK - Dusty Baker had a logical reason for fielding a lineup entirely of backups and rookies tonight against the Mets. Given the fact the Nationals didn’t arrive in New York til 3:30 a.m. following their series finale in Atlanta, the veteran manager thought it would be a good time to let his regulars rest. Which isn’t to say Baker is sacrificing this game.

Game 153 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - You want to see the kids? Well, tonight you get to see the kids. After playing his regulars three straight nights in Atlanta, Dusty Baker is giving them the series opener against the Mets off, instead going with a lineup full of youth, energy ... and inexperience. We’ll see how that pays off against New York right-hander Robert Gsellman, who has been

Why Nats’ wholesale lineup changes caused mass confusion

ATLANTA - Everything was moving along nicely. The Nationals had just scored a run in the top of the eighth, cutting the Braves’ lead to 3-2. They weren’t necessarily going to complete the comeback and win the game, but neither were they going to incite mass chaos on the field that led to an eight-minute delay ... Er, maybe they were. What transpired between the

Nats’ sloppy performance results in 3-2 loss (updated)

ATLANTA - Tanner Roark pitched well, but not well enough to overcome some sloppy defense behind him, a lack of offense from his teammates and a bizarre wholesale lineup change by the Nationals in the eighth inning. The end result was a 3-2 loss to the Braves, who thanks to R.A. Dickey’s pitching gem won the last of the 19 head-to-head matchups between these division

Drew, Goodwin push to return (Nats lose 3-2)

ATLANTA - Stephen Drew knows the odds are stacked against him. He hasn’t played in two months, and he still almost certainly needs surgery this winter for a tear in his abdomen. But the veteran infielder has been able to ramp up his workouts over the last week, and today in addition to taking batting practice he also ran extensively at SunTrust Park. All that

Game 152 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - At this late stage of the season, most matchups against division opponents are going to feature familiar foes on the mound. And tonight is about as extreme an example as it gets: The Nationals are facing R.A. Dickey for the fifth time this year. The ageless knuckleballer has been one of the few constants in the Braves rotation, but this hasn’t been a

Home field advantage, 100 wins still on the table for Nats

ATLANTA - Just when you thought discussion of the Nationals ending up with the best record in the National League was finished, those wacky Dodgers have gone and brought up the possibility once again. In losing three in a row to the lowly Phillies, Los Angeles has fallen back into its late season slide. This supposed super-team, which only a month ago was on pace

Nats walk their way through late rally to beat Braves (updated)

ATLANTA - They labored all night to even give themselves scoring opportunities. Until finally the Nationals figured out the best way to score runs against the Braves pitching staff: Stop swinging. Four consecutive walks issued by Atlanta’s bullpen - three of them via Arodys Vizcaíno with the bases loaded - highlighted a wild, six-run rally in the top of the eighth that turned a tight

Team weighs options for timing of Harper’s return (Nats win 7-3)

ATLANTA - The way Bryce Harper has progressed and looked in his on-field workouts the last few days, it’s only natural to wonder if the Nationals slugger may be on the verge of returning from his scary-looking left leg injury. That may prove to be the case, but manager Dusty Baker also has some words of caution for those who are ready to throw Harper

Game 151 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - They may not have a realistic shot at surpassing the Dodgers for the National League’s best record, but the Nationals do still have a realistic shot at something else before the season is over: the best record in franchise history. The 2012 club, which went 98-64, currently holds that title. The 2017 club currently sits at 91-59. So in order to set the

Turner breaks club record with 42nd stolen base of season

ATLANTA - From the moment he made his debut with the Nationals in 2015, Trea Turner seemed destined to one day set the club record for stolen bases in a single season. All the lightning-fast infielder needed were enough time and enough at-bats to break Alfonso Soriano’s record 41 steals in 2006. Turns out Turner didn’t even need that much time or that many at-bats

Scherzer pushes himself again as Nats beat Braves (updated)

ATLANTA - Max Scherzer pushed himself into the seventh inning against the Braves with his pitch count up over 110 once again. And this time, the Nationals ace walked away with a win for his extra effort. Six days after he fell apart while trying to build up his pitch count against Atlanta, Scherzer retired the side in the seventh, walking off the mound having

Zimmerman joins 30-100 club again (Nats win 4-2)

ATLANTA - Ryan Zimmerman is heating up at the plate again. Perhaps just in time to make it really count. On the heels of a two-homer performance Sunday night against the Dodgers, Zimmerman opened tonight’s game against the Braves with two hits, including a double off the wall in right-center and an RBI single that has helped the Nationals take a 2-1 lead into the

Harper bats in simulated game, could be active next week

ATLANTA - Bryce Harper faced a couple of live pitchers this afternoon for the first time since he injured his left leg 5 1/2 weeks ago, yet another encouraging development that could allow the Nationals slugger to return in time to play part of the final week of the regular season as a tune-up for the postseason. Harper participated in a simulated game at SunTrust

Game 150 lineups: Nats at Braves (Murphy scratched)

ATLANTA - Hello from SunTrust Park, here right smack dab in the middle of Unincorporated Atlanta. Some more development has sprung up around the ballpark since the last time the Nationals played here in May, but the Braves’ new suburban home still feels far from complete. The Nats open their final road trip of the regular season tonight with the first of three games against

Scoreless streak ends, but Strasburg still in top form

It was a particularly cruel way for the streak to end, with a teammate doing everything he could to make a highlight-reel play only to have the ball bounce off his glove and fall to the ground as a runner crossed the plate. Stephen Strasburg hadn’t given up a run in 35 innings. And that’s how an opponent finally did it to him? “Nah, it

Zimmerman powers Nats to victory over Dodgers

When the Nationals needed big-time performances against a premier opponent to avoid what would have been a discomforting series sweep, they turned to a pair of tried-and-true veterans who desperately want to deliver for this team when it really matters. Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg delivered tonight to beat the Dodgers. And both would like nothing more than to deliver a couple weeks from now

Harper takes full BP session on field, says timing now is key

The crack of the bat said it all. This wasn’t a sound anyone had heard around the Nationals batting cage in five weeks. This was the sound only Bryce Harper makes when he connects with a ball during batting practice. And this being Harper’s first on-field BP session since his scary-looking left leg injury on Aug. 12, it drew plenty of attention. From general manager

Game 149 lineups: Nats vs. Dodgers

There may not be all that much riding on this weekend’s series, but the Nationals certainly don’t want to be swept by the Dodgers. That wouldn’t be very good for morale, no matter the significance of these games on what will occur next month. The good news: Stephen Strasburg is on the mound tonight, and nobody in baseball has pitched better than he has over

After another ragged start, Jackson goes back to drawing board

Edwin Jackson has authored one of the best feel-good stories of the summer for the Nationals, an unlikely source of competent pitching when the club desperately needed someone to step in and replace the injured Joe Ross. Those who have watched the right-hander throughout his long and winding career, though, have known he’s always in danger of regressing back into the form that has forced

Nationals, Jackson thumped by Dodgers in series opener (updated)

There was an undeniable buzz at Nationals Park tonight, with the National League’s two best clubs opening a weekend series and drawing extra media attention and a boisterous crowd of 37,508 to South Capitol Street. Three innings later, with the Dodgers up seven runs and Edwin Jackson taking an early trip to the showers, that buzz had devolved into a soft hum. That was the

Lobaton shakes off ankle injury, but Severino making a case

When he was trying to shake off the pitch that caught him square on the left ankle in the bottom of the second inning Thursday night, Jose Lobaton was asked by Nationals director of athletic training Paul Lessard if he could walk. In that moment, Lobaton honestly couldn’t, so he told Lessard he needed to come out of the game. That justifiably had the Nationals

Game 147 lineups: Nats vs. Dodgers

The Nationals haven’t played any truly meaningful pennant-race games in mid-to-late September in any of the last six seasons. They’ve always either clinched the division or been too far back to have a realistic chance, leaving these last two weeks of the regular season to relatively meaningless ball. This weekend, then, provides the closest thing we may experience to exciting pennant-race baseball. The Dodgers are

Not a lot at stake, but Nats’ series vs. Dodgers will draw attention

It’s been looming on the schedule for months, a late-season clash between the teams that have held the National League’s top two records nearly the entire year. But when the Nationals and Dodgers open their weekend series tonight, there won’t be as much on the line as there might have been not long ago. The combination of the Nationals’ recent surge and the Dodgers’ recent

Nationals ride rookies, Roark to 5-2 win over Braves (updated)

In an effort to give many of his regulars a well-deserved breather, Dusty Baker has fielded several lineups recently featuring more rookies and backups than veterans and starters. Not that it has hurt his team’s chances of winning. Quite the contrary. Tonight’s “B” lineup was plenty effective at the plate against the Braves, and with Tanner Roark tossing another quality start before handing the game

Harper ramps up rehab, runs around warning track

Bryce Harper sightings on the field at Nationals Park these days generate the kind of attention usually reserved in this town for a baby panda at the National Zoo. You never know for sure when they’re going to happen, and when they do everybody scrambles for their phones to take photos and video of this rare event. So it was this afternoon when Harper emerged

Game 146 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

The Nationals tonight are trying to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Braves, not to mention falling to 7-9 overall against them this season. All of that would be a surprise, given the respective state of clubs, but it does show you that Atlanta is making some strides in its rebuild and the Nats (for whatever reason) haven’t enjoyed as much success against

Stacking up the NL Cy Young Award contenders

Max Scherzer and Dusty Baker have offered up their explanation for what happened in the seventh inning Wednesday night at Nationals Park. Whether you want to accept their explanation for pushing Scherzer to 116 pitches, even though it might have cost the Nationals the game and may have extended their ace too far, is up to you. We’re not going to debate that again here

Why the Nats let Scherzer throw 116 pitches in a September loss

It’s easy to look at the final three weeks of the regular season, with a division title already wrapped up and a heavy emphasis on ensuring everyone’s healthy for the postseason, as a meaningless string of games for the Nationals. Max Scherzer vehemently disagrees with that notion. And tonight’s game, which ended as an ugly 8-2 loss to the Braves, provided evidence of his point

Disastrous seventh inning sends Nats to 8-2 loss to Braves

Dusty Baker has left Max Scherzer on the mound deep into games more than once this season, justifying his decisions based on the fact the league’s reigning Cy Young Award winner is better than anyone he could summon from his bullpen. Earlier this year, given the state of the Nationals’ relief corps, it was a defensible decision. And during a pennant race, there’s logic to

Harper begins running, taking light swings; Werth returns

Bryce Harper has taken a few more small but important steps in his return from a significant knee and calf injury, offering a more encouraging outlook for his chances to return to the Nationals in time for the postseason. Harper has begun light hitting and running drills, according to manager Dusty Baker, adding to his earlier throwing sessions as his first attempts at baseball activities

Game 145 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

Last night was a stinker, plain and simple, for the Nationals. They looked pretty lifeless during an 8-0 loss to the Braves. Afterward, they all insisted there was nothing to read into it, it was just a bad game and not a reflection of a team suffering from a letdown after Sunday’s clincher. We’ll find out tonight if that’s true, or if it really is

Five Nats who still have something to prove before October

There are team-oriented objectives for the Nationals over the season’s final three weeks, but there also are individually oriented objectives that will help determine how this team looks once it reaches the postseason. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five players for whom this final stretch carries some extra weight, even with the Nationals having already clinched the division crown... WILMER DIFO

In post-clinch daze, Nationals lay an egg vs. Braves

The Nationals sent their regulars out to face the Braves tonight, hoping they’d still play with the same edge they displayed over the weekend while locking up another division title. They wound up getting one of their worst clunkers of the season. With Gio Gonzalez laboring and that lineup of regulars flailing away against Julio Teheran, the Nationals were trounced 8-0 in the first of

Nats will keep foot on gas pedal for final three weeks

And on the day after, Dusty Baker played his regulars. Though their latest division title has already been secured, the Nationals don’t appear to taking their foot off the gas pedal anytime soon. Baker’s lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Braves - all the currently active regulars are starting except for Jayson Werth, who is dealing with a sore left shoulder - is evidence

Game 143 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

And now ... it’s time to play out the string. Or possibly not. The Nationals take the field tonight for the first time as 2017 National League East champs, so technically nothing is at stake. Except for those wacky Dodgers, who have lost 11 in a row and now only lead the Nats by 3 1/2 games for the best record in the league. Which

Nationals open 2018 in Cincinnati, host Yankees and Red Sox

The Nationals will open the 2018 season earlier than usual, on a different day of the week than usual and in a venue they’ve never opened at before. Major League Baseball announced next year’s schedule this afternoon, and it features the Nationals opening March 29 in Cincinnati. That opener, on a Thursday, comes as MLB moves opening day up four days across the league, a

Tuesday morning Nats Q&A

So, anything interesting happen this weekend? I have to admit, I was not looking forward to waiting out the end of the Braves-Marlins game Sunday afternoon, along with the Nationals and a few thousand fans, thinking it was either going to result in an anti-climactic division clinch or a bunch of wasted time with the magic number staying stuck on one. I was wrong, though,

Fourth division title in six years was no small achievement

Because they have done this four times now in the last six years - and because each of the three previous times was followed by a first-round playoff exit - there’s a tendency to downplay the significance of what the Nationals have accomplished. Yes, everybody hangs banners to commemorate division titles. But who really remembers or celebrates those in the long term? It’s October success

Long, strange wait doesn’t dampen Nats’ latest celebration

The Nationals have this division-title thing down pat at this point, having now done it four times in six years. What they have not yet perfected is the art of clinching a division title on the field in front of their home fans. The 2012 National League East crown was achieved when the Braves lost in Pittsburgh while the Nats played the top of the

Strasburg’s latest gem, Braves’ dramatic win make Nats champs

The Nationals clinched their fourth division title in six years late this afternoon, and all it took was Stephen Strasburg extending his scoreless innings streak to 34, a lineup of rookies and second-stringers pulling off a 3-2 win over the Phillies and the Braves rallying with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the Marlins and ultimately win in the 11th as

Nationals could wrap up fourth NL East title in six years today

The Nationals clinched their first division title thanks to a Braves loss in Pittsburgh. They clinched their second division title with a win in Atlanta in front of only a smattering of their fans in attendance. They clinched their third division title with the combination of a win in Pittsburgh and then a Mets loss in New York a few minutes later. What the Nats

Nats can’t rally after Jackson’s rough start, lose 5-4 to Phillies

With a chance to position themselves to clinch a division title Sunday, the Nationals put themselves in an early four-run hole tonight, clawed their way back to within a run of the Phillies but couldn’t finish the job. A 5-4 loss to the Phillies snapped the Nationals’ five-game winning streak, and left it up to the Braves to try to beat the Marlins late and

Could the Nationals catch the Dodgers for NL’s best record?

The Nationals have known for some time they’re going to clinch a division title and then have multiple weeks of games left to play before the postseason begins, creating an awkward situation in which Dusty Baker has to find a balance between resting his regulars while still keeping them sharp. There may, however, be a new goal for the Nats to chase even after they

Game 142 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

The Nationals can’t clinch the division title tonight, but they can get as close as possible without finishing the deal. With the magic number now at three, a Nats win over the Phillies combined with a Marlins loss at Atlanta would set the stage for them to control their own destiny Sunday afternoon and not have to worry about the result of another game. That’s

Scherzer rebounds after walk-filled first inning to earn win

It was about as uncharacteristic a pitching display as Max Scherzer is capable of displaying. Three walks in one inning? He had only issued three or more walks in four games this season. Yet there it was Friday night for all to see. During a laborious, 28-pitch top of the first, Scherzer gave free passes to Odúbel Herrera, Rhys Hoskins and Hyun Soo Kim of

Taylor’s latest highlight-reel play: inside-the-park grand slam

Michael A. Taylor remembered what happened two years ago tonight, Sept. 8, 2015, when he singled to center field with the bases loaded against the Mets and watched Yoenis Cespedes let the ball get past him for what officially was ruled a single and three-base error. Taylor did not remember what happened 2 1/2 weeks later, Sept. 25, 2015, when he couldn’t make a diving

Nats outslug Phillies 11-10, reduce magic number to three

Max Scherzer didn’t look quite like his normal self in his return from a bruised calf, but the Nationals lineup made sure that didn’t matter with another well-rounded offensive explosion to move this team one step closer to a division title. Michael A. Taylor’s four-hit night that included an inside-the-park grand slam - more on that shortly - highlighted the Nationals’ 11-10, too-close-for-comfort win over

Scherzer battles command problems early (Nats win 11-10)

Max Scherzer didn’t look much like himself in the first inning tonight against the Phillies. Whether it has anything to do with the fact he took a comebacker off his left calf the last time he pitches remains to be learned. Whatever the case, Scherzer battled through an uncharacteristically ragged top of the first. He issued three walks in the inning, one of them on

After scary chest injury, grateful Sanchez returns to Nats

Adrián Sanchez last appeared on the field at Nationals Park on Aug. 26, an appearance notable for two reasons. No. 1: He delivered a key RBI single off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in the bottom of the eighth, eliciting a standing ovation from the home crowd. No. 2: A few minutes later, he was removed from the game because he was still feeling the effects

Game 141 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

When last we saw Max Scherzer on the mound, he was hobbling around Miller Park, capable of pitching but not running after he took a comebacker off his left calf. That was six days ago, and tonight Scherzer will be back on the mound, insisting he’s fine after getting treatment and throwing twice during the week in Miami with no issues. Scherzer returns for what

Doolittle ready for extra workload that awaits him in October

MIAMI - From the moment the trade was consummated on July 16, Dusty Baker has known he needs to be careful about using Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson too much. Both relievers, acquired from the Athletics in the same deal, have dealt with significant arm injuries in recent years. And so both have to monitor their workloads in an attempt to keep them healthy. “Some

Nats sweep Marlins again, move closer to another division title

MIAMI - The Nationals have known for some time they are going to win the National League East, and most likely by a wide margin. The only question was when it would become official. Well, by beating the Marlins six times in the last 10 days, they have managed to push up the clinching date by a whole lot. Tonight’s 8-1 thumping at Marlins Park

Hurricane on players’ minds as series concludes (Nats win 8-1)

MIAMI - They’re playing a ballgame tonight at Marlins Park, but there aren’t many fans here, even fewer than the typical sparse gathering. Which is understandable, given the way most everyone’s mind is preoccupied with the fast-approaching Hurricane Irma and making preparations now either to board up homes or get out of town. Those in uniform are understandably paying close attention, as well, diverting at

Scherzer will start Friday; Glover getting second opinion

MIAMI - Max Scherzer is cleared to start Friday night as scheduled for the Nationals. The odds of Koda Glover returning to pitch for the Nats this season, however, appear to have dwindled. Scherzer was able to throw a bullpen session this afternoon with no ill effects from his bruised left calf, and the Nationals have officially listed him as Friday’s starter against the Phillies.

Game 139 lineups: Nats at Marlins

MIAMI - The vast majority of the attention in South Florida is fixated not on baseball but on Hurricane Irma. The outer bands of storm aren’t expected to arrive here until Saturday, with the bulk of the storm arriving Sunday, but already folks are making preparations, with some evacuations underway and huge lines at gas stations leading to major traffic jams. (I speak from experience

Given opportunity to catch, Severino steps up and produces

MIAMI - Pedro Severino made his major league debut nearly two years ago, so this isn’t anything new for him. The young Nationals catcher, though, hasn’t been given a whole lot of opportunities to play at this level (with the notable exception of his two starts in last year’s National League Division Series after Wilson Ramos tore his ACL). No matter what, Severino has tried

Dominant Strasburg just trying to stay on mound into October

MIAMI - Stephen Strasburg has faced 134 batters over his last six starts. Only two of those batters have driven in runs. Way back on July 17 in Cincinnati, Eugenio Suárez hit a solo homer in the bottom of the second against Strasburg. And then Aug. 19 in San Diego, Yangervis Solarte belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the first. But that’s it.

Strasburg’s latest gem leads Nationals to 2-1 win over Marlins

MIAMI - Stephen Strasburg once again dominated an opposing lineup. And once again appeared to deal with a cramp in his right calf, cutting short a start that could’ve turned into another gem. Strasburg tossed six scoreless innings, extending his now club-record streak of consecutive zeros to 26, before departing with a recurrence of the leg cramp that knocked him out of a start in

Scherzer throws, expects to make next start (Nats win 2-0)

MIAMI - Max Scherzer says he’s on track to make his next scheduled start. Scherzer, who had to leave Saturday night’s start in Milwaukee with a bruised left calf, was able to throw pitches off flat ground this afternoon with no issues. That was his first such attempt since getting hurt on the comebacker from Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw. Scherzer said he now plans

Harper plays light catch, first baseball activity since injury

MIAMI - It wasn’t all that much - a 10-minute light game of catch in shallow right field - and there are plenty more significant hurdles Bryce Harper will need to cross before he is close to returning to the Nationals lineup. But given the violent leg injury he appeared to sustain 3 1/2 weeks ago, even this minor step was an important accomplishment for

Game 138 lineups: Nats at Marlins

MIAMI - The Nationals may not be firing on all cylinders right now, but they’re getting the job done for the most part. Especially in the games that matter most toward their clinching of another division title. They’ve now won four in a row against the Marlins over the last week-plus, reducing their magic number to 10, and tonight they’ll have a chance to bring

No rust for Madson in first two games back from injury

MIAMI - Ryan Madson was pretty sure all would be fine when he returned from a sprained right index finger over the weekend, but even the veteran reliever wasn’t totally positive that would be the case. How confident was he that he’d be back to normal? “Uh, probably 80 percent,” he said. “Once I got out there and threw in a game in Milwaukee, I

Nationals lineup comes back to life in 7-2 win over Marlins

MIAMI - They spent four days at hitter-friendly Miller Park swinging through high fastballs and low breaking balls, unable to generate offense when they needed it. Then the Nationals arrived at cavernous Marlins Park tonight and proceeded to rediscover their lost ability for offensive explosions. Behind big performances from Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon, the Nationals broke out of their funk and cruised to a

Scherzer still recovering from bruised calf (Nats win 7-2)

MIAMI - Max Scherzer isn’t concerned about his left calf in the grand scheme of things, but at this point it’s uncertain whether the Nationals ace will be able to make his next start on schedule or need to wait a few more days to return to the mound. Scherzer, who took a line drive off his lower left leg Saturday night in Milwaukee, was

Fedde shut down for rest of ‘17 with flexor strain in forearm

MIAMI - The injury Erick Fedde is now dealing with - a strained flexor mass in his forearm - wouldn’t typically require a long layoff. But given the situation both the Nationals and Fedde are in right now, at this stage of the season, the club has decided to not to send its top pitching prospect back to the mound until next spring. “We shut

Game 137 lineups: Nats at Marlins (Fedde to DL)

MIAMI - Hello from Marlins Park, which is hosting the Nationals for the third time in 11 weeks. (Actually, for the club’s All-Stars, the fourth time in 11 weeks. And yes, that’s a lot of trips here in a short period of time.) This much I can report: Jeffrey Loria is still the owner. Giancarlo Stanton is still hitting bombs. And the Home Run Thingamabob

Cole, not Fedde, to start series opener in Miami

MILWAUKEE - The Nationals will give their starting pitchers an extra day of rest this week, summoning a young right-hander to pitch tonight’s series opener against the Marlins in Miami. Just not the young right-hander most expected. A.J. Cole will be on the mound tonight at Marlins Park, not Erick Fedde, manager Dusty Baker revealed following Sunday’s 7-2 loss to the Brewers. Baker didn’t offer

While Harper recovers, Nationals struggling to score runs

MILWAUKEE - Even when they lost a host of key regulars to injury over the season’s first 4 1/2 months, the Nationals managed to make up for it, thanks to consistent production from the heart of their lineup and the performances of several replacements. And so, on Aug. 12 this team ranked second in the majors with 5.44 runs per game, second with a .275

Nationals fall 7-2 to Brewers, lose season series

MILWAUKEE - The prospect of a game against a starter restricted to three innings and then a parade of relievers should have been enticing for the Nationals. Instead it led to even more frustration for a lineup that seems to have lost its way. Left-hander Brent Suter and four Brewers relievers combined to toss a three-hitter and hand the Nationals a 7-2 loss at Miller

Tight back keeps Wieters out of lineup again (Nats lose 7-2)

MILWAUKEE - Matt Wieters is out of the Nationals lineup for the third straight day, though the veteran catcher said it’s not because of the foul ball he took off his right knee Thursday night but rather a tight back that has been bothering him for a little while. “The knee’s fine,” Wieters said. “Just bruises. No problem coming into play. I’ve been having a

Game 136 lineups: Nats at Brewers

MILWAUKEE - On the heels of a come-from-behind win Saturday night, the Nationals now try to salvage a four-game split with the Brewers this afternoon, and in the process win the rubber game of the season series between the two clubs. (It currently stands at 3-3.) In order to pull that off, the Nats will need another strong outing from Edwin Jackson, who took one

Despite harrowing moment, Doolittle notches 14th save

MILWAUKEE - Sean Doolittle threw the pitch - a thigh-high, 97 mph fastball - and saw Manny Piña make good contact. But he didn’t spin around to watch the play. Instead, the Nationals closer’s eyes remained fixated on the Brewers batter, even after contact, trying to gauge whether he had just recorded the game’s final out ... or a served up a walk-off homer. “In

Scherzer guts out five innings with bruised calf

MILWAUKEE - Max Scherzer knew he couldn’t run. His labored attempt to get out of the batter’s box after tapping a groundball in the top of the fifth confirmed that. But Scherzer also knew he could pitch without suffering any ill effects from the comebacker that struck him in the left calf way back in the bottom of the first tonight at Miller Park. Perhaps

Scherzer pulled early with leg injury, Nats rally to win 3-2

MILWAUKEE - Max Scherzer seemed to get through the neck issue that briefly landed him on the disabled list. But when a comebacker struck him in the lower left leg during the bottom of the first inning tonight at Miller Park, the Nationals ace suddenly found himself compensating for a new physical ailment. And the result wasn’t all that pretty to watch. Showing obvious effects

Wieters sits for second straight game with sore knee (Nats win 3-2)

MILWAUKEE - Matt Wieters is out of the Nationals lineup for the second straight night, still dealing with a sore left knee that was injured late in Thursday’s game at Miller Park. Wieters took a foul ball off that knee during the Nats’ 6-2 loss to the Brewers in their series opener, and though he finished the game he has been held out of the

Madson good to go after receiving electric treatment in Phoenix

MILWAUKEE - When Ryan Madson had to cut short a warmup session in the bullpen at Nationals Park three weeks ago, he assumed something was wrong with his index finger. Why else would that digit hurt when he tried to throw, not only that night in D.C. but four days later in San Diego when he tried to play catch? Madson wound up on the

Game 135 lineups: Nats at Brewers

MILWAUKEE - Not that their life depends on it or anything, but the Nationals certainly would like to win tonight’s game at Miller Park. They’ve already dropped the first two games of this series to the Brewers. Now they send Max Scherzer to the mound against rookie Brandon Woodruff, so you have to this is a good a matchup as any to get back on

Roark “back to form” and resembling his 2016 self

MILWAUKEE - Yes, they still need to win games over the season’s final month so they can wrap up their fourth division title in six years. But at this point, given their comfortable standing, the Nationals can afford to look not just at each individual game, but at the larger picture, especially for those players who are trying to best position themselves to be in

Nationals waste Roark’s gem, lose 1-0 to Brewers (updated)

MILWAUKEE - Tanner Roark did just about everything he could, aside from one bad pitch in the bottom of the first. Who knew that one bad pitch would prove the entire difference in the game for the Nationals? Unable to solve Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson or a pair of relievers, who combined to record 17 strikeouts, the Nationals wasted perhaps Roark’s best outing of the

Plenty of opportunities, but zero runs early (Nats lose 1-0)

MILWAUKEE - The Nationals are giving themselves plenty of opportunities to get on the board against Jimmy Nelson. They just aren’t making anything out of those opportunities so far. Despite six baserunners in three innings - four of them reaching at least second base - the Nationals have posted nothing but zeroes against the Brewers, making for a frustrating start to tonight’s game. Nelson has

Madson, Romero return from DL to bolster Nationals bullpen

MILWAUKEE - Ryan Madson is back on the Nationals active roster. Whether he’s ready to pitch quite yet remains to be seen. Madson was one of five players added to the roster before tonight’s game against the Brewers, joining fellow pitchers Enny Romero, Austin Adams and Erick Fedde, plus catcher Raudy Read as the club’s first round of September call-ups. All technically are eligible to

Game 134 lineups: Nats at Brewers (Madson, Romero activated)

MILWAUKEE - It’s September at last, and not a moment too soon for a Nationals club that has been playing the waiting game for quite some time now, another division title all but wrapped up, a host of injured players slowly but surely returning to the active roster. There’s still one more long month to go, but for the first time the finish line is

Turner shows off bat and legs with dynamic game in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE - The Nationals’ 6-3 loss to the Brewers on Thursday night really featured only one significant, positive development. But it was a big one. Trea Turner, in his third game back from the disabled list, put together a very Trea Turner kind of game. He went 3-for-4. He beat out a bunt single. He stretched another single into a double, then stole third base.

« August 2017 | Main Index | Archives | October 2017 »