Entries Listing

Cora reportedly out of the mix for Nationals job

One of the Nationals’ preferred candidates for their now-vacant managerial position appears to already be headed elsewhere. And even if he’s not, the Nats would have to wait until the end of the World Series to hire him. Alex Cora has been on the Nationals’ radar, but the popular Astros bench coach already interviewed with the Red Sox and is expected to be named Boston’s

Nats’ two-year managerial policy leaves them in a familiar place

Let’s for a moment try to view the Nationals’ managerial situation in a vacuum. Block out past history and reputation of both the organization and of Dusty Baker. Forget about dollar amounts. Don’t consider who else might be available for the job right now. Baker’s Nationals won 95 games and a division title in 2016, then lost a heartbreaker of a five-game National League Division

Looking at some possible successors to Dusty Baker

With Dusty Baker out as manager after leading the Nationals to back-to-back National League East titles and consecutive first-round playoff departures, one question is on the lips of Nats fans: Who’s next? Do the Nats turn to a veteran field boss, someone who’s shown a propensity for getting teams deep into the postseason? Do they focus their attentions on someone whose personality is a good

Rizzo: Managerial change was “baseball decision,” not financial

Dusty Baker’s unsettled contract situation hovered over the Nationals all season, but throughout it all, both Baker and general manager Mike Rizzo expressed confidence not only that both sides wanted the manager to return in 2018 but also that a deal was likely to get done once the season ended. Only two weeks ago, as his team prepared for the National League Division Series, Rizzo

Baker out as Nationals manager after two seasons

Dusty Baker is out as Nationals manager, leaving the franchise yet again looking for a new clubhouse and dugout leader. The club made the surprising announcement this afternoon, electing not to bring back Baker, who had won back-to-back National League East titles and an average of 96 wins per season. The 68-year-old Baker, whose teams lost in Game 5 of the National League Division Series

Can Nats commit to Wieters as their No. 1 catcher in 2018?

As we transition into offseason mode here, we’re reviewing each significant player on the Nationals roster. We continue today with Matt Wieters, who struggled in his first season in D.C. but was well-liked by the pitching staff. PLAYER REVIEW: MATT WIETERS Age on opening day 2018: 31 How acquired: Signed as free agent, February 2017 MLB service time: 8 years, 129 days 2017 salary: $10.5

After MVP-caliber season, time to think long-term with Rendon

As we transition into offseason mode here, we’re reviewing each significant player on the Nationals roster. We continue today with Anthony Rendon, who completed an elite all-around season that made him a legitimate MVP candidate. PLAYER REVIEW: ANTHONY RENDON Age on opening day 2018: 27 How acquired: First-round pick, 2011 draft MLB service time: 4 years, 130 days 2017 salary: $5.8 million Contract status: Arbitration-eligible

Turner again showed off elite skills, but still has room to grow

As we transition into offseason mode here, we’re reviewing each significant player on the Nationals roster. We continue today with Trea Turner, whose first full big league season was interrupted by injuries. PLAYER REVIEW: TREA TURNER Age on opening day 2018: 24 How acquired: Acquired from Padres with Joe Ross, with Nats trading Steven Souza Jr. and Travis Ott to Rays in three-team deal, December

With another big year at plate, Murphy proved he’s the real deal

As we transition into offseason mode here, we’re reviewing each significant player on the Nationals roster. We continue today with Daniel Murphy, who picked up right where he left off in 2016 and kept producing at the plate in 2017. PLAYER REVIEW: DANIEL MURPHY Age on opening day 2018: 33 How acquired: Signed as free agent, December 2016 MLB service time: 8 years, 109 days

After big-time comeback, Zimmerman will try to sustain form

As we transition into offseason mode, we’ll be reviewing each significant player on the Nationals roster. We begin today with Ryan Zimmerman, who in the wake of the worst season of his career enjoyed perhaps the best season of his career. PLAYER REVIEW: RYAN ZIMMERMAN Age on opening day 2018: 33 How acquired: First-round pick, 2005 draft MLB service time: 12 years, 32 days 2017

The Nationals’ biggest offseason questions

The Nationals have been in this position before, entering the offseason following an abrupt and disappointing exit from the postseason, facing a handful of significant questions that need to be addressed in the weeks and months to come. There’s the managerial situation to sort out. There are some veterans about to become free agents. There are some really important players about to enter their contract

Looking at the NLDS by the numbers

It’s never easy to look back and wonder, “What if?” Especially when the sting of defeat is still fresh in your mind. It’s always easier to look ahead and wonder, “What’s next?” than dredge up bad memories. And we will start looking ahead. Tomorrow. Today, we’re going to take one final look back at a National League Division Series that defied most logic. The Nationals

What does the future now hold for Baker and Werth?

In those immediate moments after elimination, once the reality sets in and everyone understands the season has just ended, it’s impossible not to start wondering about the future. And for two of the most prominent members of the Nationals, the future is awfully cloudy in the wake of Thursday night’s Game 5 loss to the Cubs. Did Dusty Baker just manage his last game for

Nationals once again left to make sense of an NLDS loss

Most of them had been through this at least once before, some twice, a select few three times. The Nationals have grown accustomed to - and, quite frankly, tired of - standing inside a dead-silent clubhouse late at night following an agonizing loss in the National League Division Series and trying to make sense of it all. They did it after the ninth-inning fiasco against

Mistakes abound in another Game 5 loss for Nationals

If the Nationals were going to finally do it, if they were going to cast aside their reputation for coming up short when it matters most and at long last win a postseason series, they were going to have to blast their way through some major obstacles. The defending World Series champs were tough enough to beat. But in Game 5 of the National League

Baker sticking with Werth, rest of lineup for Game 5

Through four games of this National League Division Series, the Nationals have scored a grand total of 12 runs on 16 hits. For the arithmetically challenged, that’s an average of three runs on four hits per game. That’s not good. Throughout it all, though, Dusty Baker has stuck with the same eight batters in his starting lineup. The order changed for Game 4, but the

Will a third Game 5 at home be the charm for the Nationals?

CHICAGO - Jayson Werth has played in two do-or-die games before. Both came with the Nationals, both of them Game 5 in a National League Division Series, both of them ending in heartache. Tonight might well be the last one of these the 38-year-old outfielder gets to experience. And because of that, more than a few of his teammates have made it known they’re trying

With game of his life, Strasburg rewrites his story

CHICAGO - Stephen Strasburg rode the Nationals team bus back to their relocated downtown hotel following Tuesday’s rainout at Wrigley Field, checked into his room, took some newly prescribed antibiotics and went to sleep. At that moment, what chance did the ailing right-hander think he had of taking the mound the next afternoon for a win-or-else ballgame against the Cubs? “It wasn’t much, to be

Strasburg’s gem, Taylor’s slam bring Nats home for Game 5

CHICAGO - All the precautions they took with him earlier in his career, all the bumps along the way he dealt with that prevented him from taking the mound as much as he or the Nationals wanted, all of that meant nothing this afternoon at cold, raw, windy Wrigley Field. Because with their season on the line, the Nationals handed the ball to Stephen Strasburg.

Taylor’s slam in eighth extends Nats’ lead (Nats win 5-0)

The Nationals grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning of Game 4 of the National League Division Series, Trea Turner racing home from third base when shortstop Addison Russell booted Ryan Zimmerman’s two-out grounder. Turner doubled to left field with one out in the second, his first hit in 13 at-bats in the NLDS. He went to third on a wild pitch from Cubs

What changed to make Strasburg available for Game 4 start

CHICAGO - When he walked out of Wrigley Field on Tuesday evening, Dusty Baker fully expected Tanner Roark to start a must-win Game 4 of the National League Division Series. Despite the Nationals’ hopes, Stephen Strasburg simply was too ill at that moment for his manager to believe he could take the mound the following afternoon. Baker, though, has been in this sport long enough

NLDS Game 4 lineups: Nats at Cubs (Strasburg to start)

CHICAGO - As if this National League Division Series wasn’t already dramatic enough, how about this: Stephen Strasburg will start Game 4 for the Nationals after all. Some 18 hours after announcing Strasburg wouldn’t be able to pitch this elimination game against the Cubs because he was ill, the Nationals reversed course and named the right-hander as their starter. Strasburg, according to a source familiar

Roark embraces challenge of must-win start for Nationals

CHICAGO - As attention and controversy swirled around Stephen Strasburg and the circumstances that led to the right-hander not taking the mound for today’s must-win game against the Cubs, another member of the Nationals rotation was left ignored: Tanner Roark. Which was appropriate, given Roark’s career and personality. Here’s a guy who consistently has been overlooked and countless times has stepped up and made people

With Strasburg ill, Roark still gets postponed Game 4 start

CHICAGO - The postponement of Game 4 of the National League Division Series appeared to favor the Nationals, who suddenly had the option of sending Stephen Strasburg back to the mound for a must-win game on normal rest. But when manager Dusty Baker entered the makeshift press conference room at Wrigley Field this evening to provide what seemed like an obvious answer to a simple

Game 4 postponed until Wednesday (Roark will start)

CHICAGO - With rain approaching the area and expected to arrive sometime late this afternoon or early this evening, the start of Game 4 of the National League Division Series has been delayed. There’s been no decision made yet on a full postponement of the game, but the general managers and managers from both the Nationals and Cubs met with Major League Baseball officials including

NLDS Game 4 lineups: Nats at Cubs

CHICAGO - And so the Nationals’ season has come down to this: They need to win Game 4 of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field and force a winner-take-all Game 5 at Nationals Park on Thursday night. All of this, of course, is assuming they’re able to play today. Your early-afternoon weather update: It’s not raining yet, but the rain is on the

Looking back at the key decisions in the seventh and eighth

CHICAGO - A lot happened in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. Seriously, for a 2-1 ballgame, there were enough significant moments, great plays, terrible plays and key decisions to warrant a week’s worth of discussion. We don’t have that much time, of course, to discuss it all. Game 4 is coming up later this afternoon. (If you missed it, Major League Baseball

In critical October showdown, Nationals lose game of inches

CHICAGO - Oliver Pérez liked the pitch coming out of his hand, and he liked it coming off Anthony Rizzo’s bat. It was a first-pitch fastball, in, and he managed to jam Rizzo and force the Cubs slugger to hit a little blooper toward shallow left-center field. And then, as Pérez turned around and saw how much ground three of his teammates were trying to

Cubs rally late to win Game 3, leave Nats facing elimination

CHICAGO - The margin between success and failure in the postseason is razor-thin. A batter can hit a frozen rope but hit it right at somebody. Another can barely bloop a ball into shallow left-center field and watch it fall between three defenders and drive home the winning run. The Nationals experienced it all today during an agonizing 2-1 loss to the Cubs in Game

Scherzer strong early in Game 3 (Cubs win 2-1)

Four innings into Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field and the Nationals are still searching for their first run. They’ve had a couple of chances, but have been unable to get to Cubs lefty José Quintana when they’ve had runners in scoring position. In the second, Michael A. Taylor led off with a single and went to second when Quintana’s

Baker sticks with Werth in Game 3 matchup vs. Quintana

CHICAGO - Whatever urge there may have been to alter his lineup for Game 3 of the National League Division Series, Dusty Baker ultimately decided continuity was more important than playing matchups against an opponent they’ve never faced. With left-hander José Quintana on the mound for the Cubs this afternoon, the Nationals are going up against an unknown entity. Only three members of their NLDS

NLDS Game 3 lineups: Nats at Cubs

CHICAGO - It’s October at Wrigley Field, but the sun is shining bright, temperatures are in the upper 70s and there’s very little breeze to speak of. This is not what you expect from postseason baseball here. But this is what we’ll have today for Game 3 of the National League Division Series between the Nationals and Cubs, a pivotal game that will move one

Nats will start Roark in Game 4, won’t start Strasburg on short rest

CHICAGO - Unless something really unexpected happens today, Tanner Roark will start Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday. No matter what happens between now and then, Stephen Strasburg will not be starting that game. The Nationals revealed their rotation plans for the remainder of their series against the Cubs, and it’s exactly what was expected to be the case all along,

Scherzer says he’s good to go for 100 pitches in Game 3

CHICAGO - Max Scherzer made his way out to the right field grass at Wrigley Field, set up shop 60 feet away from bullpen catcher Octavio Martinez and proceeded to throw a baseball off flat ground for the next 10-15 minutes, just like he would any other day before he starts a game. When he was done, Scherzer gave Martinez a high five, then started

A five-run rally that might change the course of the NLDS

He had watched this lineup score runs in bunches all season long, overcoming injuries and ever-changing configurations to produce as well as just about any lineup in the majors. But 16 innings into the National League Division Series, Dusty Baker’s Nationals had done nothing at the plate against the Cubs. Nothing. Nada. Squat. Bupkis. Yes, Anthony Rendon had homered in the bottom of the first

Harper, Zimmerman carry Nats to Game 2 win, series tie

For nine innings Friday night and for seven more innings tonight, they pleaded with every batter who stepped to the plate wearing a curly W helmet to deliver a big hit, just one big hit, to turn not only this National League Division Series around but at least give this franchise an opportunity to turn around nearly six seasons of failures on the big stage.

Comfortable Harper thinks “it could get better”

Bryce Harper’s left leg is healthy, at least as healthy as it’s going to be before he has an entire winter of rest. Everything the star right fielder has done during his six games back from the disabled list suggests he’s not physically limited and can play the way he normally plays. But is Harper actually performing the way he normally performs? That question has

NLDS Game 2 lineups: Nats vs. Cubs

The Nationals will go with the same lineup - save for starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez - as they employed Friday night this afternoon when they try to square the best-of-five National League Division Series against the Cubs at a game apiece. Today’s key matchup: Nats speedster Trea Turner against Cubs left-hander Jon Lester. Lester is notorious for his inability to throw to first base, which

Little mistakes moot point on night when Nats get shut out

There was the play down the third base line Anthony Rendon couldn’t make, resulting in his first error in 76 days. There was Bryce Harper’s ill-advised, too-high throw that allowed a runner to take second base and ultimately score minutes later. There were pitches called strikes that didn’t jibe well with batters. And there was the debatable decision not to bring in a left-hander to

Strasburg dominates, but Nats’ bats go silent in Game 1 loss

For five innings, a crowd of 43,898 - more than 90 percent clad in red - became believers. Stephen Strasburg was on the mound, posting nothing but zeros, and those in attendance were on their feet every time he got to two strikes, fully buying into the notion that things would be different this time. And then came the top of the sixth, with a

Baker explains final NLDS roster decisions (Jones suspended)

In assembling the final spots for their National League Division Series roster, the Nationals had two priorities in mind: speed and defense on their bench, and a bunch of lefties in their bullpen. Manager Dusty Baker explained why, after several days of deliberations, the club’s decision-makers settled on rookies Brian Goodwin and Victor Robles as backup outfielders, and Oliver Pérez, Sammy Solís and Enny Romero

Scherzer throws in bullpen, announced as Game 3 starter

What had previously been clear but not announced was made official by Dusty Baker this afternoon: Gio Gonzalez will start Game 2 of the National League Division Series for the Nats, with Max Scherzer starting Game 3. That decision was made by the Nationals earlier in the week, but was held back for public consumption until they were confident Scherzer would be ready to pitch

NLDS Game 1 lineups: Nats vs. Cubs

It feels like we’ve been waiting around for this postseason for an extraordinarily long time. The Nationals clinched their division title way back on Sept. 10, but truth be told, they knew a lot earlier than that they were going to win the National League East and make the postseason. And they’ve known for most of that time they almost certainly were going to face

NLDS roster includes Goodwin, Robles, Romero, Lobaton

The Nationals are carrying four left-handed relievers and an extra bench player for the National League Division Series, ultimately choosing to take a chance on young players like Brian Goodwin, Victor Robles and Enny Romero over veterans or a long reliever. The Nationals will have a seven-man bullpen for their best-of-five series against the Cubs. Closer Sean Doolittle is joined by right-handed setup men Ryan

NLDS preview: Nats under pressure, Cubs playing loose

They took over first place in the National League East Division for good on April 18. They led by at least five games every day since May 3, by at least 10 games every day since July 17, by at least 15 games every day since Aug. 30. And they clinched the division title on Sept. 10, a full 26 days before they’ll take the

Nats brass meeting to finalize NLDS roster

The Nationals coaching staff and front office are meeting this afternoon for a final discussion of their 25-man roster for the National League Division Series, with several tough decisions still on the table. The lingering uncertainty over Max Scherzer’s right hamstring has complicated matters, with the Nationals left wondering if they need to carry an extra pitcher as insurance for their ace right-hander, who is

Strasburg will start Game 1, Gonzalez will start Game 2

Stephen Strasburg will start Game 1 of the National League Division Series. And Max Scherzer will not start start Game 2. Manager Dusty Baker made the official announcement of Strasburg as his starter for Friday night’s opener against the Cubs this morning, minutes before his club took the field for its final workout in preparation for the series. The choice of Strasburg wasn’t a surprise,

Baker, Nationals not worried about contract status

The Athletics have finished last in the American League West each of the last three seasons, never winning more than 75 games. Last week, they gave manager Bob Melvin a contract extension through 2019. The Pirates, following three straight seasons reaching the National League wild card game, have fallen back under the .500 mark each of the last two seasons. Last month, they gave manager

No bullpen yet for Scherzer, Nats’ rotation order still undecided

If you were hoping for clarity today on Max Scherzer’s status and the defined order of the Nationals rotation for the National League Division Series, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Though the Cubs formally announced their entire rotation plan for the series, the Nats have not yet even confirmed who is starting Game 1 on Friday night and certainly not any plans beyond that.

Who makes the Nationals’ NLDS roster?

The Nationals have until Friday morning to set their 25-man roster for the National League Division Series. And given some of the down-to-the-wire decisions they need to make, they might just use every remaining minute available to them before submitting that roster to Major League Baseball. First and foremost, of course, is the state of Max Scherzer’s right hamstring. The ace insists he’ll be pitching

Signs point to Strasburg in Game 1, Scherzer in Game 2

The Nationals aren’t making any official declarations about their rotation order for the National League Division Series yet. But plenty of tea leaves were thrown out there today for the masses to read, and the most logical interpretation of those leaves says the club is planning to start Stephen Strasburg in Game 1 and then Max Scherzer in Game 2 ... with one important caveat.

Revisiting our opening day media predictions

The Nationals’ season is far from over. If anything, the last six months were nothing but a big tease for what is still to come over at least the next week, possibly more. But the regular season has concluded, and that means it’s time to revisit all those predictions all of us on the Nats beat made way back on opening day. This always leads

Strasburg, Doolittle win NL monthly pitching awards

A dominant September by both Stephen Strasburg and Sean Doolittle has earned each Nationals pitcher recognition for their efforts. Strasburg today was named National League Pitcher of the Month, with Doolittle named NL Reliever of the Month, further confirmation of the lights-out work put forth by each staff member during the final stretch of the regular season. Strasburg was nearly impossible to score off of

Nats, Cubs each facing rotation order dilemma entering NLDS

It looked like it had been set in stone for weeks. The Nationals’ postseason rotation? That was simple: Max Scherzer in Game 1, with Stephen Strasburg in Game 2 and then Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark taking the mound after that. But then Strasburg dominated in September. And then Gonzalez and Roark had ragged regular season finales. And then - and this was the biggest

Start times announced for NLDS Games 1 and 2

The Cubs are the biggest national television draw in baseball right now, so it stood to reason the Nationals would find themselves playing in primetime throughout their first-round postseason showdown with the defending World Series champs. That will be true for Game 1 of the National League Division Series, but the presence of the West Coast’s biggest draw in the other half of the bracket

Ovations aplenty in Nationals’ regular season finale

The result didn’t matter. The Nationals had locked up a division title three weeks ago, had locked up home-field advantage for the National League Division Series a week ago. There was a chance to match the franchise record with win No. 98, but that team pursuit took a backseat today. Unless there’s something larger at stake, Game 162 is usually about individual over team. And

Scherzer confident injury isn’t serious, can’t commit to Game 1 yet

Max Scherzer is confident the hamstring injury he suffered Saturday night is “nothing major,” but the Nationals ace couldn’t go so far this morning as to declare himself good to start Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday. “That’s tough to say right now,” Scherzer said. “We’re not even 24 hours out. We’re still trying to get all the doctors to take

Game 162 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates

And so we have reached Game 162. It’s not the end, because obviously there are some very important games yet to be played in 2017. But the regular season ends today for the Nationals, who with one more win over the Pirates would get to 98 and match the franchise record set in 2012. It’ll be Gio Gonzalez on the mound for today’s finale, looking

With Doolittle held out, Kintzler can’t close out ninth

Brandon Kintzler had plenty of ninth-inning experience with the Twins this season. Before he was traded to the Nationals on July 31, the right-hander had 28 saves in 32 attempts for Minnesota. The Nats, of course, have used Kintzler primarily as their seventh-inning reliever since that trade, entrusting the eighth inning to Ryan Madson and the ninth to Sean Doolittle. It’s a formula that has

« September 2017 | Main Index | Archives