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Nationals do plenty of things right in big win over Phillies

The Nationals have been talking for weeks about how their bats were due to come alive at some point, and how, in spite of their abysmal results in the first one-third of the season, they were still doing all the right things. Before today's game, manager Jim Riggleman decided to reinforce that one more time. He gathered his players for what starter Jason Marquis called

Nationals beat Lee, thump Phillies 10-2

The last time the Nationals broke out of a hitting slump, they cranked up the shock-and-awe factor by scoring 17 runs in Baltimore after getting shut out on back-to-back days. Their offense hadn't been that frigid heading into Tuesday's game against the Phillies, but considering the pitcher they beat, this win might have been even more improbable. With two home runs from Danny Espinosa, a

Espinosa's homers help Nationals to 6-2 lead over Phillies (updated)

The last time Cliff Lee was at Nationals Park, he pitched a complete game shutout and outdueled Jordan Zimmermann on a night where the Nationals rookie took a perfect game into the seventh inning. Tonight, the Nationals are staging a rare surge of offense with Lee on the mound. They scratched out two runs early in the third inning against him, loading the bases for

Tuesday's Phillies-Nationals discussion space

Apologies for being a little late with this tonight, but here's our discussion space for tonight's Phillies-Nationals game as Washington tries to win for just the third time in 13 games. If you've got thoughts or questions on the game, you can leave them in the comments section, and I'll respond to you there. I'll also have a few longer blog posts analyzing the game.

Two more Nationals pregame notes (Burnett, center field)

As the Nationals get ready to take on the Phillies tonight, a couple more quick notes, and then I'll have a game thread: * Jim Riggleman said again today that Sean Burnett, who gave up the go-ahead runs on Monday and has a 5.59 ERA this season, is throwing the ball better than what his results have shown. "The thing about Sean is, he's really

Pirates-Nationals rainout rescheduled for July 2

The Nationals' May 17 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which was rained out, will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader July 2. The first game will take place at 3:35 p.m., and the second will start at 7:05 p.m. or later, depending on when the first game ends. If you had a ticket for the May 17 game, you can exchange it

No Nationals in serious All-Star vote contention

Major League Baseball released its first round of balloting results for the 2011 All-Star Game, and no Nationals position players are in the top five at any position (or in the case of outfielders, in the top 15). Given the fact the Nationals have one player hitting over .300 (Laynce Nix) - and he's not on the ballot - it's hard to argue with the

Phillies-Nationals lineups for Tuesday

As the Nationals face left-hander Cliff Lee tonight in the second game of their series with the Phillies, their abundance of left-handed hitting outfielders presents a bit of a roster conundrum. They're sitting both Rick Ankiel and Laynce Nix tonight against Lee, starting Brian Bixler in left field. That moves Danny Espinosa all the way up to fifth in the lineup, with Ivan Rodriguez catching

Nationals' aggressive baserunning has a few costs

When Alex Cora got caught in a rundown yesterday, going on contact and trying to score from third on Rick Ankiel's grounder back to the pitcher in the seventh inning, it effectively killed the Nationals' last scoring threat in a 5-4 loss to the Phillies. Cora and manager Jim Riggleman both said the infielder had to run on the ball, because it would have turned

Nationals' offense hits Halladay, but they still lose to Phillies

The Nationals didn't get blown out by the Phillies. Their offense did almost as much damage in seven innings against Roy Halladay on Monday as it's done in six games against him in the last two years. And in the kind of game they've typically let slip away against the four-time National League East champions, they rallied to tie it after blowing a lead. They

Nationals lose back-and-forth game 5-4 to Phillies

Another day, another one-run loss. The Nationals battled Roy Halladay better than they ever have, becoming the first team this season to hit three homers off him in a game and scoring more than two runs off him for the first time in the six times they've faced him since he came to Philadelphia. But they blew an early lead, gave up two more runs

Nationals lose tying run on the base paths

In the seventh inning, Alex Cora got himself on base with a blooper down the right-field line, stretching it into a double when the ball died in the grass. Then, Ian Desmond placed a perfect bunt, hustling down the baseline to beat it out despite the fact he was out of the lineup today to work through some soreness. That aggressiveness put the Nationals in

Espinosa, Nix homer, but Nats' lead is short-lived

In five previous outings against Roy Halladay and the Phillies, not only had the Nationals never scored more than two runs, they hadn't homered off the Philadelphia ace. They've hit three homers off him today, and they've got a 4-3 lead after six innings. Danny Espinosa homered in the fifth, hitting a solo shot just over the right-field wall, and Laynce Nix led off the

Nationals strike early on Phillies, but back-to-back homers erase lead (updated)

The Nationals took a 2-0 lead on the Phillies after Michael Morse's fifth homer in seven games, but here in the fourth inning, that lead is gone. Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez (who else?) hit back-to-back homers off Livan Hernandez, tying the game at two. And after the Nationals got to 2010 Cy Young winner Roy Halladay early, you have to wonder if they've gotten

Monday's Phillies-Nationals discussion space

Good afternoon from Nationals Park, where the Nationals will try to beat Roy Halladay for the first time in a Phillies uniform and stop a 2-9 skid this afternoon. You can talk about the game here, and if you've got any questions on the team, I'll respond to you in the comments section. I'll also have a few longer blog posts during the game analyzing

Two more Nationals notes (Desmond, Slaten)

We're about a half-hour away from game time at Nationals Park, and the crowd walking down Half Street from the Navy Yard Metro stop is the biggest I've seen in quite a while. On Nats-Phillies days, that usually means one thing. This just feels like it's going to be a, shall we say, eventful day at the ballpark. Anyway, two more quick notes for you

Nationals plan to rotate Nix, Bernadina and Ankiel in outfield

With Rick Ankiel back from the disabled list, the Nationals now have the logjam in left and center field many thought they'd have to fix by taking an outfielder off their roster. Instead, they'll rotate Ankiel, Roger Bernadina and Laynce Nix through two spots. Ankiel is leading off and playing center field for the second time in three days today, and manager Jim Riggleman said

Phillies-Nationals lineups for Monday

Good morning from Nationals Park, and a happy Memorial Day to everyone out there. It might not be such a happy Memorial Day for the Nationals, who are coming off a pair of one-run losses to the Padres and will face Roy Halladay and the Phillies this afternoon at 1:05 p.m. They've never scored more than two runs against him while he's been with the

Nationals lose another one-run game to Padres

In 16 one-run games this season, the Nationals are 5-11. That's the worst winning percentage in baseball. In all other games, they're 17-19. If there's a reason why the team is eight games under .500, staring at a three-game series with the Phillies and an 11-game West Coast road trip that threatens to send its season barreling off course, it's these close games. Teams that

Nationals lose 5-4 to Padres

As gut-punch losses go, this is one of the heavier blows the Nationals have taken this season. The Nationals got up 2-0 on the Padres, only to fall behind after Yunesky Maya and Doug Slaten combined to give up four runs between the fourth and fifth innings. They rallied to tie the game, but couldn't take the lead, and went behind for good on a

Nationals tie game, but did small ball backfire?

The Nationals pulled even with the Padres in the seventh, getting runners on first and third with none out and scoring when Chase Headley decided to try and throw Jayson Werth out at home, instead of taking the automatic out on a Michael Morse grounder to third. But they only ended up with one run, and their small-ball tactics, which helped them score a couple

Maya unravels in fifth; Padres, Nationals tied 4-4

I was about to start writing this post, and I just saw it's not the first time I've written "Maya unravels" as the first two words of a headline. Anyway, as he's done before, Yunesky Maya unraveled in the fifth inning. He issued back-to-back, two-out walks, then gave up a two-run single to Brad Hawpe that put the Padres up 3-2. When Doug Slaten -

Yunesky Maya strong early, but gives up run to Padres in 4th

When Yunesky Maya came to the big leagues last year, he had an underwhelming fastball that he was unable to throw for strikes consistently, which made his off-speed pitches less effective, and he struggled as he saw hitters for the second and third times. Through the first three innings of his first major league start this year, he had no problems. But early in the

Sunday's Nationals-Padres discussion space

The Nationals face the Padres this afternoon in the series finale between the two teams, with Yunesky Maya returning to the big leagues. Talk about the game here; you can leave your thoughts on Nationals-Padres here, and if you've got any questions on the game, or the team, I'll respond to them. As a reminder, our new commenting system allows you to log in with

Jerry Hairston Jr. surprised by suspension, says he did nothing wrong

Jerry Hairston Jr., who was suspended for a game Sunday after Major League Baseball said he made contact with home plate umpire Ed Hickox in an argument during Friday's game, said he never pushed, shoved or cursed at the umpire, and believes video of the incident will be enough to get the suspension overturned. Hairston turned to argue with Hickox in the seventh inning Friday

Jerry Hairston Jr. suspended for umpire argument on Friday

Nationals infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. has been suspended one game by Major League Baseball for his actions on Friday night, when he argued that Padres pitcher Clayton Richard quick-pitched him after he called time and stepped out of the batter's box. Hairston made contact with home plate umpire Ed Hickox, and was immediately ejected. He's appealing the suspension, though, which is why he's in the

Nationals-Padres lineups for Sunday

Good morning from Nationals Park, where Washington finishes a three-game series with the San Diego Padres at 1:35 this afternoon. Danny Espinosa gets just his third day off of the season; Alex Cora will hit eighth and play second base for the Nationals today. And Jerry Hairston Jr., who is appealing a one-game suspension from MLB for his argument with umpire Ed Hickox on Friday,

Nationals recall Yunesky Maya

Officially - though far from unexpectedly - the Nationals have recalled right-hander Yunesky Maya from Triple-A Syracuse. He'll get the start against the Padres today. Maya, who signed a four-year deal with the Nationals last season, was 1-4 with a 3.79 ERA at Syracuse, though he held hitters to a .214 batting average. He was 0-3 for the Nationals last year with a 5.88 ERA.

Two more postgame notes (Pudge and tomorrow's pitcher)

Wrapping up another low-scoring loss here at Nationals Park, I've got a couple more postgame notes for you: * Asked about rumors that he could be traded to San Francisco, which needs a catcher after Buster Posey broke his leg last week, Ivan Rodriguez said he hadn't heard much the last few days while attending his son's high school graduation. "Nobody's told me anything. (General

Nationals' offense costs Zimmermann another win

The Nationals have played 15 one-run games in 51 contests this season, and they've won just five of them. Had they won three more of those, as left fielder Laynce Nix pointed out after today's 2-1 loss to the Padres, they'd be 25-26 for the season. Instead, they're 22-29, three games from being the worst team in the National League again, and they continue to

Nationals lose to Padres 2-1

As good as the Nationals felt about their 2-1 walk-off win over the Padres on Friday night, they were right back in a hole on Saturday afternoon, losing another game by a run when they couldn't score. They fell by the same score to San Diego on Saturday, losing a game where Michael Morse - who had homered in four straight games - snuffed out

Padres take 2-0 lead on Nationals after early mistakes

For a game that was tied headed into the fourth inning, today's matchup between the Nationals and Padres sure has been sloppy. Eric Patterson got picked off second in the third inning, after Jordan Zimmermann threw to first four times before he stole second. Ian Desmond got caught stealing second in the bottom of the third inning. The Nationals left the bases loaded in the

Ivan Rodriguez's son a possible draft pick next month

Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez was away from the team on Friday, to watch his son, Ivan Dereck Rodriguez, graduate from Monsignor Pace High School in Miami. And the younger Rodriguez, who goes by Dereck to distinguish himself from his father, could be following in his footsteps next month. Dereck Rodriguez, a 6-foot-2 outfielder who attended the same school as Nationals prospect Chris Marrero, is eligible

Saturday's Nationals-Padres discussion space

As the Nationals try to get a series win by taking the second of three games from the San Diego Padres, talk about the game here. You can leave your thoughts on Nationals-Padres here, and if you've got any questions on the game, or the team, I'll respond to them here. As a reminder, our new commenting system allows you to log in with an

More on Tom Gorzelanny's elbow

The Nationals' decision to put Tom Gorzelanny on the 15-day disabled list came about after the left-hander reported some discomfort in his left elbow after playing catch Wednesday. Gorzelanny was able to throw, but said he felt soreness - "like a shin splint in your forearm" - and decided to back off. The left-hander had tried to pitch through pain in 2008, he said, and

Nationals-Padres lineups for Saturday

Hello from Nationals Park, where the Nationals try to make it two in a row against the Padres at 1:05 today. Rick Ankiel, who's never led off in a game, is hitting in the top spot for the Nationals today; Roger Bernadina has been there, and with Ankiel replacing him in the field today, he's also replacing him in the lineup, despite his .294 on-base

Nationals call up Collin Balester to take Tom Gorzelanny's spot

With Tom Gorzelanny heading to the 15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation, the Nationals will call up reliever Collin Balester to take his spot on the roster, for at least a day. They'll need a starter to take Gorzelanny's place tomorrow, but the right-hander gives them another reliever today. Balester is in the Nationals Park outfield at the moment, working out with the team,

Friday's Padres-Nationals lineups

The Nationals host the San Diego Padres for a three-game weekend series beginning tonight, with Clayton Richard facing Washington's John Lannan. Here are tonight's starting lineups: Padres Denorfia - RF Bartlett - SS Ludwick - LF Cantu - 1B Maybin - CF Headley - 3B Johnson - C Gonzalez - 2B Richard - P Nationals Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Werth - RF Morse

For Nationals, opportunity to stop tailspin is now - or possibly never

The Nationals, mercifully, got a scheduled day off yesterday for the first time since May 9, after a 15-game stretch (with one rainout) that included six one-run losses, three shutouts and one very bad road trip that sent them home seven games under .500. They start a six-game homestand with three against the second-worst team in the National League, the San Diego Padres. And if

A quick tour of our new commenting system

Well, I'm back in Northern Virginia, where the temperature outside is almost double what it was when I left Milwaukee this morning. No threat of flurries here. Anyway, just wanted to give you all a quick heads-up on our new commenting system - if you scroll to the bottom of this blog post, you'll probably see that things look a little different. We've switched my

Nationals' skid comes as offense starts to heat up

MILWAUKEE - I'm at General Mitchell International Airport this morning, waiting for my flight back to D.C. and a temperature swing of something around 45 degrees or so. It was in the mid-40s and rainy yesterday here, and I'm fairly certain I saw flurries this morning. There are certain aspects of Midwestern weather I will defend, but if there were truly flurries just before Memorial

Nationals' pitching continues to struggle

MILWAUKEE - There's a pretty clear reason why the Nationals just concluded an eight-game road trip with a 1-7 record, their worst stretch of the season: It's because their pitching has started to slip. Whether that's because a staff that overachieved for the first month of the season is starting to regress, or because this team still has trouble preventing runs on the road remains

After another loss, Werth vaguely says Nationals need to change

MILWAUKEE - After the Nationals got blown out in the first game of their series against the Brewers and gave away the second game with a late bullpen meltdown, Jayson Werth remained silent, stewing over his thoughts about the losses as he poured over video of the games. On Wednesday, after the Nationals lost 6-4 to the Brewers in a game where they were just

Nationals swept by Brewers, finish road trip 1-7

MILWAUKEE - The Nationals' eight-game road trip to New York, Baltimore and Milwaukee was supposed to be an easy stretch of their schedule, compared to what they'd faced in the first six weeks of the season. Instead, it looks like the spot where their season veered off-line. With a 6-4 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, in a game where Milwaukee pitcher Zack Greinke

Greinke's homer puts Brewers back on top of Nationals

MILWAUKEE - Are the Nationals really going to get swept at Miller Park because Jason Marquis gave up an upper deck homer to another pitcher? It looks like it could happen. Zack Greinke, who hasn't homered since 2005, is pitching his first full season in the National League and had 33 plate appearances before today, tore into a flat fastball from Marquis and sent it

Marquis struggling, but Morse pulls Nats even with Brewers

MILWAUKEE - In all three games of the Nationals' series against the Brewers, they've given up two runs in the first inning. Today, they did it without allowing a home run. Jason Marquis allowed two hits and a walk, with Prince Fielder driving in a pair of runs with a two-run double to center. The Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the first, and they

Wednesday's Nationals-Brewers discussion space

MILWAUKEE - The Nationals are trying to avoid a sweep in Milwaukee this afternoon and win for just the second time on their eight-game road trip. As they attempt to do that, talk about the game here. I'll have a few other blog posts throughout the game, and if you've got comments or questions about the game, leave them in the comments section, and I'll

Riggleman sounds committed to Rodriguez in eighth

MILWAUKEE - Before Tuesday night, the Nationals hadn't used reliever Henry Rodriguez with a lead smaller than seven runs, and that appearance - Friday against the Orioles - was the only time he'd pitched with a lead this year. Manager Jim Riggleman went to Rodriguez with a one-run lead in the eighth, though, and even though Rodriguez gave up two hits and a walk, taking

Nationals-Brewers lineups for Wednesday

MILWAUKEE - Hello from Miller Park, where the Nationals are attempting to shake off a 7-6 loss to the Brewers and avoid a sweep this afternoon. They'll face 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke at 1:10 p.m. Eastern time. This is one of those days where you're happy for an enclosed stadium; it's in the high 40s and pouring rain this morning. Ah, spring

Nationals' bullpen crumbles in 7-6 loss to Brewers

MILWAUKEE - Give the Nationals this: The way they lost to the Brewers on Tuesday night, building a three-run lead on a grand slam and watching their bullpen let it slip away, isn't the way they usually lose games. And that's why, in another stone-silent clubhouse after a 7-6 loss at Miller Park, it was tough to find anybody who could come up with something

Nats' bullpen allows four runs; Brewers win 7-6 (updated)

MILWAUKEE - Just when it looked the Nationals would finally be able to finish a game at Miller Park, their bullpen - which was set up to put Drew Storen in a save situation for the first time in eight days - blew the lead. Tyler Clippard gave up a two-run homer to Rickie Weeks in the seventh, pulling the Brewers within a run. And

Morse's grand slam puts Nationals up 5-2 on Brewers

MILWAUKEE - We've played 2 1/2 innings at Miller Park, and in the second round of Michael Morse and Corey Hart's ongoing game of Home Run Derby, the Nationals have a 5-2 lead. That came after Morse - who was 5-for-13 this year against the Brewers before tonight and entered the day hitting .400 in his last eight games - launched his first career grand

Tuesday's Nationals-Brewers discussion space

MILWAUKEE - As the Nationals try to even their series with the Brewers at a game apiece, and win at Miller Park for just the third time in their last 18 games, talk about the game right here. If you've got thoughts or questions on the team or tonight's contest, leave them in the comments section, and I'll respond to you there. I'll also have

The Nationals' plan for their outfield

MILWAUKEE - Now that the Nationals have activated Rick Ankiel from the 15-day disabled list , adding their opening day center fielder back to a crowded mix of players, they'll have some decisions to make. They've got Ankiel on the bench tonight, after he'd only played in two extended spring training games and one game at Double-Harrisburg while rehabbing a sprained right wrist, and manager

Nationals-Brewers lineups for Tuesday

MILWAUKEE - Hello from Miller Park, where it's a balmy 50 degrees this afternoon (that's what we call a spring day in the Midwest). The roof is closed at the moment, and will likely stay that way as the Nationals try to even their series with the Brewers at one game apiece. Here are the lineups for both teams: Nationals: Bernadina - CF Desmond -

Nationals activate Rick Ankiel from 15-day disabled list

MILWAUKEE - As expected, the Nationals activated outfielder Rick Ankiel from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday afternoon, a day after he started a rehab assignment at Double-A Harrisburg to come back from a sprained right wrist he sustained on May 2. The return of the Nationals' opening day center fielder could create a logjam in center and left, where Roger Bernadina and Laynce Nix

MLB says Yewri Guillen died of sinus infection, finds Nats took proper steps

MILWAUKEE - Major League Baseball has concluded its investigation of the death of Yewri Guillen, the prospect in the Nationals' Dominican Republic academy that died last month, and found that the 18-year-old died of an "aggressive sinus infection," not bacterial meningitis, as the Nationals originally thought. In a statement released this afternoon, MLB also said the Nationals "took the proper steps to insure that Guillen's

Nationals' Rizzo, Rodriguez disciplined for run-in with umpires

MILWAUKEE - Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and catcher Ivan Rodriguez have been disciplined by Major League Baseball for their roles in a confrontation with umpires after the Nationals' 1-0 loss to the Mets on Thursday. Rodriguez was fined an undisclosed amount, and Rizzo was disciplined, though the league office would not provide specifics. After first base umpire Phil Cuzzi called Jayson Werth out at

Nationals' walks, strikeouts trending in wrong direction

MILWAUKEE - We saw it again Monday night: A pitcher who was able to repetitively pound the strike zone was able to shut the Nationals down, help his team cruise to a victory and give his season a boost. The Brewers' Yovani Gallardo, who came into Monday's game with a 4.70 ERA, pumped 71 strikes in 102 pitches - his best strike percentage of the

After blowout loss to Brewers, Nationals looking for turning point

MILWAUKEE - In a 162-game baseball season, where daily results form moving averages like stock prices, it's sometimes difficult to locate a turning point - the one game, or even the one at-bat, where everything changed. Not every season has one. But for the Nationals in 2010, the unscientific guess is that it came in Houston in early June, in the eighth game of a

Hart's three homers help Brewers rip Nationals 11-3

MILWAUKEE - Heading into Miller Park on Monday night, looking to turn things around in a building where they'd won just two of their last 14, the Nationals didn't just come up short. They got embarrassed. Corey Hart, who hadn't homered all season, hit three balls out of the park and drove in seven runs, leading Milwaukee to an 11-3 win over the Nationals on

Brewers pulling away from Nationals

MILWAUKEE - In his last three starts before tonight's game, Tom Gorzelanny had given up four homers. He's allowed almost that many tonight. Corey Hart, who hadn't homered all season before tonight, blasted his second of the game off Gorzelanny in the fifth inning, and Jonathan Lucroy followed with a base hit later in the inning after Ryan Braun's ground rule double. The Brewers now

Brewers, Nationals trade early bombs

MILWAUKEE - Before tonight's game, Nationals first base coach Dan Radison predicted the ball would be flying out of Miller Park. He was right. On a gorgeous 75-degree night in Milwaukee - with two struggling pitchers on the mound - the Nationals and Brewers have already traded three home runs. The Brewers lead 3-1 after two innings. Tom Gorzelanny may have pitched well against the

Monday's Nationals-Brewers discussion space

MILWAUKEE - The Nationals and Brewers are about to get started with their three-game series at Miller Park, with Washington trying to win here for just the third time in 15 games and build on a sweep of the Brewers at Nationals Park in April. Talk about the game here, and if you've got questions about the game or the Nationals, leave them in the

Stephen Strasburg throws off a mound - and Brian Broderick heads back to St. Louis

MILWAUKEE - A couple more Nationals notes from Miller Park, about things that didn't happen at Miller Park: * Stephen Strasburg threw off a mound for the first time today since Tommy John surgery last September, throwing a bullpen session as part of his rehab in Viera, Fla. "First bullpen in the books. Felt great!" Strasburg tweeted this afternoon. "Hopefully time will speed up now!"

Adam LaRoche placed on 15-day disabled list

MILWAUKEE - Giving him time to rest his left shoulder after he played the first 43 games with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, the Nationals put first baseman Adam LaRoche on the 15-day disabled list today, retroactive to Sunday. They will add a player to their roster to take LaRoche's spot tomorrow. The first baseman had played through the injury all season after

Nationals-Brewers lineups for Monday

MILWAUKEE - Hello from Miller Park, where the Nationals and Brewers begin a three-game series at 8:10 Eastern time tonight. Miller Park is on the site of old Milwaukee County Stadium, where I saw my first major league game in 1991 - an old American League East tilt between the Red Sox and Brewers. Boston won 14-4, and I think we were in the car

Rick Ankiel beginning rehab assignment at Double-A Harrisburg

MILWAUKEE - Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel, who has been out since spraining his right wrist on a diving catch on May 2, will start a rehab assignment at Double-A Harrisburg tonight. He could be back with the Nationals in a week or two if all goes well. Once the Nationals take Ankiel off the disabled list, they'll have to start making some decisions about how

Nationals starting to sing those road blues again

SOMEWHERE ABOVE PENNSYLVANIA - Hello from AirTran flight 262 to Milwaukee, where the Nationals start a three-game series with the Brewers at Miller Park tonight. And thanks to the magic of in-flight wi-fi, I'm able to start this post with the goofiest dateline I've ever used. The Nationals left Camden Yards on Sunday to begin the final leg of their second three-city road trip of

More on Roger Bernadina's aborted bunt

The quickest ejection you're ever likely to see - Nationals manager Jim Riggleman getting tossed one batter into yesterday's game with the Orioles - came when one of the more rarely enforced rules in the game got Roger Bernadina called out. Bernadina led off the game with a bunt single, beating the play out when pitcher Chris Tillman couldn't get the ball to first in

Nationals' offense again left searching for big hit in loss to Orioles

BALTIMORE - In the wake of another one-run loss - the eighth in 12 one-run games they've played this season - Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa said something interesting. "You can get hits, get guys in scoring position, but in scoring position with two outs? That's tough," Espinosa said. "Runners in scoring position, less than two outs, you can hit a ground ball, hit a

Missed chances doom Nationals in 2-1 loss to Orioles

BALTIMORE - From the first at-bat of today's game against the Orioles, when Roger Bernadina was called out for bunting the ball out of the batter's box, the Nationals have been watching chances to score slip away from them. They got eight hits, but only scored one run. And Jordan Zimmermann's one mistake was enough to cost him. The Nationals lost 2-1 to the Orioles

Orioles take lead on Nationals in 7th

BALTIMORE - The Nationals have missed chances all day, either seeing balls come just short of leaving the park or failing to come through with men on base. And after a superb outing by Jordan Zimmermann, the Nationals' thin margin for error is gone. Zimmermann allowed a leadoff single to Nick Markakis, and Vladimir Guerrero smoked for an 0-2 curveball that was left over the

Nationals lead Orioles, but bad bounces continue

BALTIMORE - We've only played four innings at Camden Yards, but what a crazy little game this is shaping up to be already. We already talked about Roger Bernadina's first-inning bunt where the center fielder was called out after he stepped on home plate. Had he been safe at first base, he probably would have scored on Ian Desmond's ensuing double. Instead, Desmond doubled with

Jim Riggleman ejected in first inning of Nationals-Orioles

BALTIMORE - Nationals manager Jim Riggleman has been ejected from a game for the second time this season, and it's tough to imagine he'll ever get tossed from a game quicker than this. Riggleman charged out of the dugout after first base umpire Gerry Davis called Roger Bernadina out for bunting the ball from outside the batter's box, reversing the center fielder's leadoff bunt single.

Sunday's Nationals-Orioles discussion space

BALTIMORE - Hello again from Camden Yards, where the Nationals and Orioles conclude their three-game series beginning in just a few minutes. This space is yours to discuss the game, and weigh in with any comments or questions you have. I'll respond to you in the comments section, and I'll have a few longer posts throughout the day with analysis of Nationals-Orioles. ----------------------------- UPDATE AT

Adam LaRoche will get second opinion on shoulder (updated)

BALTIMORE - Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, who has been playing all season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, will get a second opinion tomorrow, team sources said. LaRoche is out of the Nationals' lineup today after starting 42 and playing 43 of the Nationals' first 45 games. He was diagnosed with a torn labrum in spring training when he reported problems throwing

Nationals-Orioles lineups for Sunday

BALTIMORE - Good morning from Camden Yards. Here are the Nationals' and Orioles' lineups for the final game of their three-game series today at 1:35. Both Wilson Ramos and Ivan Rodriguez are in the lineup for the Nationals today, as Matt Stairs and Adam LaRoche get days off. And Jordan Zimmermann, who hasn't pitched in 10 days, gets the start for the Nationals against Orioles

Nationals' bats go quiet again in 8-3 loss to Orioles

BALTIMORE - The Nationals came into Saturday's game against the Orioles feeling as relaxed about their offense as they had all season, and deservedly so. They'd broken a 19-inning shutout streak with a team-record 17 runs the night before, and on Saturday afternoon, music thumped through the visitor's clubhouse at Camden Yards, as though it had never been shut off from the night before. And

Orioles beat Nationals 8-3

BALTIMORE - After they scored 17 runs Friday night, setting a team record for runs since they came to Washington, the Nationals couldn't sustain their offensive outburst for more than a day. They fell 8-3 to the Orioles on Saturday afternoon at Camden Yards, blowing a 2-0 lead in the third inning after taking it in the top of the inning. The series is tied

Saturday's Nationals-Orioles discussion space

BALTIMORE - The Nationals and Orioles are just under way at Camden Yards, and if you're looking to talk about the game, this is your spot. Leave your thoughts on today's game in the comments section, and if you've got any questions, I'll respond to you there. I'll also have a few other blog posts throughout the game with analysis of today's action. ------------------------ UPDATE

Rough third inning puts Nationals in 4-2 hole against Orioles

BALTIMORE - For the second straight game, the Nationals took an early lead on the Orioles, only to let Baltimore's offense catch up. Today, though, the Nationals haven't done as much to get ahead early, and John Lannan's misadventures in the third inning helped the Orioles take a 4-2 lead. Lannan walked Mark Reynolds to lead off the inning, then fell behind Nolan Reimold before

Podcast: Discussing the Nationals with Craig Heist and Bill Ladson

BALTIMORE - You asked for them, and by popular request, we've got them back on this week's Nationals podcast: WTOP's Craig Heist and MLB.com's Bill Ladson joined me before today's Nationals-Orioles game to talk about the state of the team, what the Nationals need to do to sustain their offense and early candidates for the All-Star Game. You can listen to it by subscribing to

The Nationals, Jason Aldean and Randy Savage

BALTIMORE - In a quiet day in the Nationals' clubhouse, a couple pregame tidbits that don't have much to do with baseball: * Country singer Jason Aldean, who's playing at Jiffy Lube Live in Northern Virginia tonight, popped into the Nationals' clubhouse before today's game. He spent some time chatting with Adam LaRoche, and later put on a Nationals uniform to play catch on the

Nationals-Orioles lineups for Saturday

BALTIMORE - Hello from Camden Yards, where the Nationals try to make it two in a row against the Orioles after thumping them 17-5 on Friday. Here are the lineups for both teams for the 4:05 p.m. start. Nationals: Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Nix - LF Werth - RF Stairs - DH LaRoche - 1B Ramos - C Espinosa - 2B Hairston -

Henry Rodriguez has his best outing in Nationals' blowout win over Orioles

BALTIMORE - The circumstances that led to Henry Rodriguez getting three innings of work Friday night were unusual; the Nationals broke out for 17 runs, the most they've scored since coming to Washington, but starter Jason Marquis was gone after four innings, as manager Jim Riggleman told the pitcher at the end of the fourth he didn't want him to face Matt Wieters and Luke

Nationals' offense gets the lift it needed in 17-5 romp over Orioles

BALTIMORE - It's not a stretch to say the Nationals have been waiting for a performance like the one they had Friday night since the beginning of the season. They've had a handful of games where they've scored seven or eight runs, and in a couple of those games, they even won without having to use their closer. But that's a breakout performance for their

Nationals break team records, score 17 runs in romp over Orioles

BALTIMORE - After this one, the Nationals are going to make some revisions to their team record book. After coming into Camden Yards having not scored a run in their last 19 innings, the Nationals exploded for 17 against the Orioles on Friday night, blowing out Baltimore 17-5. The 17 runs were the most the Nationals have scored since coming to Washington. So were the

Friday's Nationals-Orioles discussion space

BALTIMORE - Welcome to MASNSports.com's discussion forum for tonight's Nationals-Orioles game at Camden Yards. I'll have a few Nationals-related analysis items throughout the game, and Roch Kubatko and Steve Melewski will have the same on the Orioles side, but you're free to talk about the game and leave your thoughts here. And if you've got questions, post them in the comments section and I'll respond

Nationals' offense rolling over Orioles

BALTIMORE - The Nationals have only scored 12 or more runs in four series this season. They've got that many tonight - and unless their bullpen falters late, they're in line for their first true blowout victory of the season. A sizzling offense added another six runs in the fifth inning, with Danny Espinosa posting a single (he's now a double from the cycle), Wilson

Espinosa strikes again, Nationals lead Orioles 6-3

BALTIMORE - Entering Friday's game, Danny Espinosa was in a 2-for-22 slump that dropped him to eighth in the Nationals' lineup, and the Nationals hadn't scored a run in their last two games. That's a good time to face the Orioles' pitching staff. Espinosa has completed the two toughest legs of the cycle in his first two at-bats, homering in the second inning and tripling

Nationals take 3-0 lead over Orioles on Espinosa's homer

BALTIMORE - Danny Espinosa might be hitting .200 this season, but it's tough to say he hasn't been opportunistic. All six of his homers - including the one he hit in the second inning against the Orioles tonight - have come with men on base, and he leads all National League rookies with 25 RBIs. And most importantly for the Nationals, their shutout streak ended

Rizzo says MLB investigation not about play at end of Nationals-Mets game

BALTIMORE - Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he contacted MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre immediately after a verbal altercation with umpires following the Nationals' 1-0 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday. Rizzo declined to answer most questions about what happened, saying the investigation is ongoing, but added it "had absolutely nothing to do with the play at first

Nationals-Orioles lineups for Friday

BALTIMORE - Hello from Camden Yards, where the Nationals and Orioles begin interleague play tonight at 7:05. Here are the Nationals and Orioles lineups for tonight's game: Nationals: Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Nix - LF Werth - RF Stairs - DH LaRoche - 1B Ramos - C Espinosa - 2B Hairston - 3B Marquis - P Orioles: Pie - LF Jones - CF

Nationals head to Baltimore with frustration peaking

The Nationals walked off the field after a 1-0 loss to the Mets on Thursday afternoon still seething over a blown call by first base umpire Phil Cuzzi, who mistakenly called Jayson Werth out on a grounder to third in the ninth inning. Manager Jim Riggleman and several players yelled at the umpires as the game ended, and catcher Ivan Rodriguez hopped onto the infield

Blown call looms large in Nationals' latest shutout loss to Mets

The lasting image of the Nationals' 1-0 loss to the Mets Thursday afternoon will be that of Jayson Werth leaping in disbelief in the ninth inning, yelling at first base umpire Phil Cuzzi after he called Werth out on a grounder to third, despite replays showing first baseman Daniel Murphy's foot off the bag and Werth arriving at the same time as the ball. But

Nationals' scoreless streak at 16 innings; Mets lead 1-0

In the last three games, the Nationals have fashioned a scoreless streak of 16 innings against such luminaries as Joe Beimel (who I happen to like as a pitcher, but bear with me), Jonathon Niese, Jason Isringhausen, Francisco Rodriguez (All-Star closer, but again, follow the line of thinking) and Dillion Gee. They currently don't have one hit against Gee in six innings, and are losing

Nationals-Mets lineups for Thursday

Here are the Nationals and Mets lineups for today's 1:10 p.m. game at Citi Field, as the Nationals try to split the two-game series. Jayson Werth hits fourth for the Nationals, with Laynce Nix batting third as the team tries to get its offense going after being shut out for the sixth time this year on Wednesday: Nationals: Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Nix

Bernadina, Morse still have time to prove themselves

When Rick Ankiel first rolled his wrist May 2, spraining it as he tried to make a pair of diving catches, the Nationals said he'd be back in the lineup within a day or two. Then that turned into several days, a trip to the disabled list and Wednesday's news that Ankiel is going to the team's extended spring training in Florida to rehab the

Nationals shut out for sixth time this season against Mets

The Nationals have played 42 games this season, and they've now been shut out in one-seventh of those games. Extrapolate that over a full season, and they're on pace to get blanked roughly 23 times. The seventh shutout of the season came on a rainy Wednesday night at Citi Field against the New York Mets, who beat the Nationals 3-0. This wasn't one of the

On rainy night, Nationals miss early chances against Mets

It's pouring at Citi Field. The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. And the Nationals have stranded runners at third in each of the first two innings. All those things are connected, because with the weather threatening to play a significant role in tonight's game, the opportunities the Nationals squandered could loom large. They got a pair of two-out

Nationals-Mets lineups for Wednesday

Here are the Nationals' and Mets' lineups for the first game of their two-game series at Citi Field, which begins tonight at 7:10. Michael Morse is back in the lineup, playing left field and hitting sixth against left-hander Jonathon Niese. And Wilson Ramos hits cleanup, also because a lefty is on the mound. Nationals: Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Werth - RF Ramos -

Rizzo says Bryce Harper won't play in the majors this year

It's been fairly clear since spring training that Bryce Harper wouldn't play in the majors this season, when general manager Mike Rizzo all but guaranteed Harper wouldn't make it. But as Harper's gotten off to a hot start at Single-A Hagerstown, some of you have been calling for him to head to the majors. Rizzo said again today, once more with feeling, it's not happening

Nationals minor league report

Here is this week's Nationals minor league report, straight from Nationals PR director and pun aficionado Bill Gluvna: This Week's Top Headline RAY OF SUN: Single-A Hagerstown LHP Robbie Ray struck out 13 and walked one over 11.0 scoreless innings in 2 starts to earn MiLB.com South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week honors for the period of May 9-15...opposing batters are just 3-for-37 (.081

Oliver Perez makes his first start for Double-A Harrisburg tonight

The Nationals' little experiment with Oliver Perez, the former Mets left-hander who was released this spring after his velocity dipped into the low 80s, takes its next step tonight. Perez will start for Double-A Harrisburg in his first minor league game for the team after being transferred from the Nationals' extended spring training in Viera, Fla. Perez, whom the Mets are paying $12 million this

The Nationals' statement on Harmon Killebrew

Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, whose path to stardom began in Washington before the Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961, died this morning of esophageal cancer. Killebrew, 74, is part of the Washington Hall of Stars, which is now located at Nationals Park, and became a charter member of the Nationals' Ring of Honor last summer. Nationals managing principal owner Ted Lerner released a statement

Live Nationals chat at 1:15 p.m.

Since the Nationals were rained out today (though it's currently dry at my place in Northern Virginia), I'll wet your appetite for an at-work distraction: We'll have a live Nationals chat today, starting at 1:15 and running until 2:15 or so. You can come back to ask your questions then, or leave them in the comments section now. I'll set up a chat window in

The Nationals' pitching rotation for the next week

After the Nationals' rainout against the Pirates today, the team has done a little switching in its rotation, using the postponement to skip Jordan Zimmermann in the rotation. That makes perfect sense; Zimmermann won't pitch more than 150 or 160 innings this year after returning from Tommy John surgery, so skipping his turn in the rotation allows him to stay on regular rest (if he

Nationals-Pirates rained out (no makeup date announced)

Today's Nationals-Pirates game has been rained out, the Nationals just announced to the media. The team will have more information on a makeup date in the coming days. The Pirates are back in town over Fourth of July weekend, in a scheduling quirk where those two teams play while everyone else in baseball has an interleague series, so my guess would be they'd just play

Three games in, Cole Kimball already asserting himself in Nationals' bullpen

When Cole Kimball arrived from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday morning, on a few hours' sleep and his usual jolt of adrenaline, manager Jim Riggleman said he was going to ease the 25-year-old into high-leverage situations over time. That took all of two days to change. Kimball's first two appearances - a ninth-inning stint on Saturday when the Nationals were down a run and another ninth

Opportunities fall into Nationals' hands in win over Pirates

The Nationals held the Pirates off in a 4-2 win on Monday night because of a couple strong throws, a sliding catch, a nice scoop and a whole lot of bad baserunning decisions - or essentially, the margin by which the Nationals have lost countless games the last two seasons. There have been few wins this year that crystallized the difference in the way the

Pirates' mistakes help Nationals take 2-1 lead

As much as John Lannan has struggled tonight, and as many opportunities as the Pirates have had to put some distance between themselves and the Nationals, Washington has a 2-1 lead through five innings. Those kinds of opportunities are going to come against the teams the Nationals will be playing in the next two weeks, and these are the games where they have to take

Nationals pull even with Pirates as Wilson Ramos comes through

Wilson Ramos' appearance in the cleanup spot tonight, his second of the season, coincides with his worst slump of the season. He was in a 1-for-21 skid coming into tonight, which had dropped his average for the season to .267 after he was above .300 all the way through April. Manager Jim Riggleman's decision to put him there had as much to do with a

At catcher and in left field, Nationals try to find a balance

The Nationals will only start five of eight position players tonight who took the field for them on opening day. Some of that is because of injuries (Ryan Zimmerman and Rick Ankiel are on the disabled list), but in other spots, the team is playing a player who's essentially making up one half of a platoon at the moment. Wilson Ramos is back at catcher

Nationals injury updates (Zimmerman, Coffey)

Good afternoon. A couple injury updates from manager Jim Riggleman's press conference: * Ryan Zimmerman was throwing with trainer Lee Kuntz before today's game, "a little further" than he's been throwing in the past, Riggleman said. But the third baseman is still only two weeks out of abdominal surgery, and it's too soon to guess if he's ahead or behind of schedule. "It's just more

Nationals-Pirates lineups for Monday

Hello from Nationals Park - here are the Nationals' and Pirates' lineups for the first of two games between the teams. First pitch tonight is at 7:05 p.m. Pirates: McCutchen - CF Tabata - LF Walker - 2B Diaz - RF Pearce - 1B Wood - 3B Snyder - C Cedeno - SS Maholm - P Nationals: Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Werth -

Adam LaRoche slumping at plate, but excelling in the field

Adam LaRoche has an almost universal reputation around baseball as a slow starter, so much so that baseball people offer this advice to those following the Nationals: "Don't even worry about his average until after the All-Star break." But even for LaRoche - a career .208 hitter in March and April, and .251 career hitter in May - this start might be pushing things a

Jason Marquis does it all in Nationals' win over Marlins

By the time Jason Marquis took the mound for the second inning on Sunday, he had a six-run lead to play with against the Florida Marlins. That was in part because of an offense that hustled its way into a few runs in the early part of the first inning. But the biggest reason Marquis had a comfortable lead - and one of the main

X-rays negative on Todd Coffey's elbow

Nationals reliever Todd Coffey, who got hit in the elbow with a line drive from Emilio Bonifacio on Sunday, has a badly bruised right elbow, with a baseball-sized welt right above the bone. But X-rays on the pitcher's elbow were negative, and Coffey said he'd be able to return in a day or two. "Obviously it's a little sore," Coffey said. "I already did about

Nationals beat Marlins 8-4

After scoring six runs in the first inning on Sunday against the Marlins, the Nationals held off Florida for an 8-4 win on Sunday at Nationals Park. Jason Marquis allowed four runs (two earned) in 6 1/3 innings for his fifth win, which tied him for the National League lead. Ivan Rodriguez drove in three runs with a pair of hits, Roger Bernadina went 2-for-4

Nationals hanging onto lead, but Coffey comes out

We're at the seventh-inning stretch, and the Marlins have pulled within three runs of the Nationals, who will now have to use their top relievers (Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, most likely) to close this game out. And the Nationals had to go to Storen earlier than they would have liked because of what happened to Todd Coffey in the seventh. The pitcher took a

Nationals leading Marlins in seventh inning

The Nationals haven't done much offensively after hanging six runs on the Marlins in the first inning today, but they added another run in the fifth inning to pad their lead on an Ivan Rodriguez double to center. They lead the Marlins 7-3 in the seventh inning, and have a chance to get Jason Marquis his fifth win of the season. Rodriguez is 2-for-3 today,

Sunday's Nationals-Marlins discussion space

As the Nationals try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Marlins by putting Jason Marquis on the mound against Javier Vazquez today, talk about the game here. If you've got any thoughts or questions about the team or the game, leave them in the comments section and I'll respond to them right below your original comment. And you can always log in

Nationals hustle their way to six-run first against Marlins

If you showed up for the first pitch of Nationals-Marlins today, you could have left 25 minutes later knowing you'd get free wings from Hard Times Cafe. Not a bad deal. And for the Nationals, the big lead against Florida was exactly what they needed. They broke out for six runs in the first inning against the Marlins, battering struggling Florida right-hander Javier Vazquez. And

Tidbits from the Nationals clubhouse

Good afternoon from Nationals Park - the Nationals will try to avoid a sweep against the Marlins at 1:35 p.m. today. As is typical on a Sunday morning, the home clubhouse was pretty quiet, but here are a couple things I picked up: * Cole Kimball's call-up came at an odd time for his family; they had driven to Triple-A Syracuse for the weekend to

Nationals-Marlins lineups for Sunday

Here are the Nationals' and Marlins' lineups for Sunday, as Washington tries to avoid getting swept at home by the Marlins, who are 21-7 at Nationals Park since it opened: Marlins: Coghlan - CF Bonifacio - 2B Ramirez - SS Sanchez - 1B Morrison - LF Stanton - RF Dobbs - 3B Hayes - C Vazquez - P Nationals: Bernadina - CF Espinosa - 2B

Offense can't support Hernandez's gutsy effort in 1-0 loss to Marlins

Jayson Werth believes in the law of averages, which is about the only rational way to defend any doubts created by the elephant that's taken up residence in the hitters' side of Nationals' clubhouse. The Nats wasted another strong pitching performance Saturday, unable to back up Livan Hernandez's effort with even a meager amount of offense, a troubling trend that's becoming all too routine when

Nationals fall to Sanchez, Marlins 1-0

Mike Stanton's seventh-inning homer ruined a pitcher's duel between Florida's Anibal Sanchez and Washington's Livan Hernandez, and the Marlins beat the Nationals 1-0 Saturday afternoon. It was the third straight loss for the Nationals, who got a workmanlike seven innings from Hernandez (3-5). The right-hander allowed a run on six hits, walked two and struck out four. His only mistake in a 110-pitch outing was

Nix's single again nixes no-hit bid by Sanchez, Stanton homer puts Marlins ahead

Napoleon had Waterloo. Coyote had Roadrunner. Anibal Sanchez has Laynce Nix. But for Nix's leadoff single in the second inning, a looping fly that dropped in front of center fielder Chris Coghlan, Sanchez would be taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning, the third time this year he's flirted with a no-no. If this scenario seems strangely familiar, it's with good reason. On Mother's Day

Hernandez crosses 3,000-inning threshold in fourth

Livan Hernandez is dealing his usual slow-slower-slowest assortment of pitches that test the lowest reaches of radar gun readings, and by getting through the fourth inning against the Marlins, the right-hander has etched his name into baseball's record books. Hernandez has now pitched 3,000 2/3 innings and became the 108th major leaguer since 1900 to reach 3,000 innings when he got Omar Infante to bounce

Tight quad feeling better, Desmond off but available vs. Marlins

With a tight left quadriceps still inhibiting Ian Desmond's free movement, Nats manager Jim Riggleman had already planned to give his shortstop a day off from the starting lineup Saturday against the Florida Marlins. But Desmond felt much better when he reported to Nationals Park on Saturday, prompting Riggleman to declare him available for duty. "Desi felt quite a bit better today," Riggleman said. "We're

Kimball recalled to shore up bullpen; Broderick designated for assignment

When the Nationals optioned reliever Cole Kimball to Triple-A Syracuse on St. Patrick's Day, manager Jim Riggleman told reporters that the right-hander had earned the chance to pitch in the majors despite being caught in a roster numbers crunch. Six weeks into the regular season, the 25-year-old Kimball is finally getting his shot. The Nationals recalled Kimball on Saturday, hoping to shore up an overused

Nationals lineup for Saturday (with Marlins lineup added)

Greetings from a rain-soaked Nationals Park, where the Marlins and Nats hope to play today's scheduled 1:05 p.m. game, well, on schedule. Things are a little slow considering the lateness of last night's extra-inning affair, but here is the home team's starting lineup for today's game: CF Roger Bernadina 2B Danny Espinosa RF Jayson Werth LF Laynce Nix 1B Adam LaRoche C Wilson Ramos 3B

Nationals playing well, but can't get past Marlins

The Nationals have made one error this month. They've scored 24 runs in their last four games. They've got a closer who hasn't given up a run in 20 innings. And they're 6-6 in May. Tonight's 6-5, 11-inning loss to the Marlins was only the latest gut-wrenching example of what happens when a team doesn't do quite enough to separate itself. The Nationals have lost

Roger Bernadina's incredible catch

Dear Sharkadina People: For the past few months, I've been having a little fun with you. I've downplayed your goofy nickname for Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina - whom you call "The Shark" - because I thought your premise (that Bernadina chased down fly balls like a shark chases its prey) was flawed. Bernadina will occasionally make things too tough on himself by taking a bad

Nationals pull even with Marlins; game tied at 5-5 in 11th

If there was a good time for a Nationals pitcher to have a slipup, Tom Gorzelanny seems to have found it. He's given up three homers tonight, but all of a sudden, the Nationals' offense is hitting well enough to slug its way back into games. After scoring 19 runs in three games with the Braves, they've rallied to tie the Marlins at four through

Nationals fall behind Marlins early

All season, Tom Gorzelanny's ascent to the top of the Nationals' rotation has been somewhat in spite of his stats. His Fielding Independent Pitching rating, which measures everything a pitcher can control (walks, strikeouts and home runs) was 4.33 this year, well above his 2.87 ERA. Gorzelanny has been adept at limiting damage and ducking out of hairy situations. But he hasn't been able to

Nationals have decisions coming in their outfield

Rick Ankiel is still limited to swinging off a tee at the moment, and manager Jim Riggleman hinted it's unlikely the center fielder will return as early as he's able to come off the disabled list next week. But from the standpoint of delaying decisions, that might be a good thing. The Nationals have been using Roger Bernadina as their leadoff hitter and center fielder,

Nationals need to find a spot for Henry Rodriguez, Riggleman says

If the Nationals had made it through the 10th inning of last night's game with the Braves, and Doug Slaten had finished a third scoreless inning, manager Jim Riggleman said Rule 5 pick Brian Broderick would have pitched the 11th inning had the game stayed tied. And if the Nationals had taken the lead, Drew Storen would have come on for the save. Where does

Nationals-Marlins lineups for Friday

The Nationals return home this evening, for the first of three games with the Marlins at Nationals Park. Here are the lineups for both teams: Marlins: Coghlan - CF Bonifacio - 3B Ramirez - SS Sanchez - 1B Buck - C Morrison - LF Stanton - RF Infante - 2B Volstad - P Nationals: Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Werth - RF LaRoche -

More on the Nationals' bullpen conundrum

The Nationals' bullpen problems last night seem to have NatsTown (can I still use that?) in a bit of a tizzy this morning. If you missed last night's 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Braves, the problem essentially boiled down to this: * Jordan ZImmermann had given up a bloop single and a walk in the seventh, and had thrown 103 pitches through 6 1/3 innings.

Nationals' 6-5 loss to Braves a head-scratcher

At the seventh-inning stretch of tonight's game, the Nationals had a 5-1 lead on the Braves. They were riding a career-high 11 strikeouts from Jordan Zimmermann, and appeared to be on their way to a sweep, a 5-4 road trip and a winning record for the season. Within an hour, they'd lost to the Braves after Sean Burnett gave up a grand slam, Doug Slaten

Braves beat Nationals 6-5 in 10 innings (updated)

A night after the Nationals came back to snatch a late lead from the Braves, they had the same thing done to them. Sean Burnett gave up a grand slam in the seventh - with two of the runs being charged to Jordan Zimmermann and two being charged to the left-hander - and the Nationals and Braves are tied at five. Burnett was pitching in

Nationals-Braves discussion thread

As the Nationals finish their nine-game road trip tonight, looking for a 5-4 record and a sweep of the Atlanta Braves, feel free to talk about the game here. I'll have some thoughts on the game throughout the night, but you can use this space to weigh in with your take on the game. And if you have any questions about the game or the

Jordan Zimmermann has 10 Ks through five; Nationals lead 5-1

Jordan Zimmermann has pitched five innings tonight. He's already set a career high for strikeouts in a game, and he hit that mark with an out to spare in the fifth inning. Zimmermann has struck out 10 batters in five innings, and the Nationals lead the Braves 5-1. The right-hander has only thrown 76 pitches so far, and while only 49 of them have been

Nationals jump out to early lead on Braves

The Nationals and Braves are in the top of the fourth, and amidst all the called strikes (noted in home plate umpire Jim Joyce's, uh, distinctive fashion), the two teams traded homers. Danny Espinosa's was a two-run shot, and Chipper Jones' came with no one on. And the Nationals have added two more in the fourth to go up 4-1 on the Braves. Jordan Zimmermann

Nationals-Braves lineups for Thursday

Here are the Nationals and Braves lineups for tonight's 7:10 p.m. game at Turner Field, as the Nationals try to sweep Atlanta and move a game over .500 for the season: Nationals: Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Werth - RF Nix - LF LaRoche - 1B Espinosa - 2B Rodriguez - C Cora - 3B Zimmermann - P Braves: Prado - LF McLouth -

Comparing the 2011 and 2010 Nationals

The Nationals have won four of five games, getting their record back to 18-18 with a chance to sweep the Atlanta Braves tonight and come home with a winning record. It's worth noting, though, that this surge comes around the same time the Nationals hit their peak last year; they beat the Rockies 14-6 in their 35th game of the season, improving their record to

These days, Nationals mining all of their depth to win

The day after Ryan Zimmerman injured himself in New York, sliding into second on what would turn out to be the play that caused him to need abdominal surgery, the Nationals won a game where they had to use 18 of their 25 players, scoring four runs in the 11th to beat the Mets in 11 innings. I wrote at the time that the win

Nationals come back for 11th-inning win over Braves

The Nationals have played 36 games this year, they've won 18 of them and there are few of their victories so far that have been as uplifting as the one they just pulled off against the Braves. Trailing 3-1 into the ninth inning, the Nationals had just six hits in the first eight innings. From the ninth through the 11th, they had seven. And their

Nationals, Braves headed to extras

The Nationals and Braves are headed to the 10th inning, after Washington did an impressive job of running the bases in the ninth. With the bases loaded, Alex Cora singled up the middle, and the Nationals scored a pair of runs. Jason Marquis - who pitched on Tuesday and pinch ran in the ninth - slid into third, and Alex Cora took an extra base,

Nationals trail Braves early after Lannan gives up two runs

In his career, John Lannan has roughly the same numbers against lefties as he does against righties - which is to say he doesn't gain any natural advantage from facing left-handers. And in the first inning against the Braves tonight, it was again a lefty that got Lannan in trouble. After Lannan gave up an infield single and a walk in the first, Brian McCann

Is Drew Storen the Nationals' closer? Not officially, Riggleman says

At this point, all signs point to second-year right-hander Drew Storen being the Nationals closer. He's saved eight games in eight attempts this year. He's riding a 17-inning scoreless streak, and manager Jim Riggleman has been giving him almost all of the ninth-inning work in recent games. Last night, in the Nationals' 7-6 win over the Braves, Storen pitched a perfect ninth inning after Tyler

Nationals-Braves lineups for Wednesday

Here are the Nationals' and Braves' lineups for tonight's game in Atlanta: Nationals: Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Werth - RF LaRoche - 1B Ramos - C Nix - LF Espinosa - 2B Hairston - 3B Lannan - P Braves: Prado - LF Gonzalez - SS Jones - 3B McCann - C Uggla - 2B Freeman - 1B Hinske - RF McLouth - CF

Nationals' defense playing cleaner games

By this point, the Nationals' emphasis on defense has been discussed over and over, and after the first month of the season, it was becoming trite. The team was still at the top of the National League in errors, and without Ryan Zimmerman, its offense was struggling to score enough runs. Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn - the two bats the Nationals subtracted from their

Nationals hang on for 7-6 victory over Braves

It would figure that, for these Nationals, the night they'd finally break out on offense, beat a pitcher who's tormented them and get some gifts from an opposing defense would also be the night their redoubtable bullpen sprung a leak. They've played 35 games, and one-fifth of those have been decided by a run. Nothing ever comes easy for them, and despite the fact they

Nationals take early lead with some help from Braves, homer from Nix

For years, the Nationals have been suffering at the hands of Braves pitcher Tim Hudson, struggling to hit his complement of fastballs as he racked up a 10-1 record and 1.88 ERA against them. Maybe their payoff for all those struggles is coming tonight, or maybe they're reaping the benefits of signing hitters who have had success against Hudson. Whatever the reason, their early success

Nationals-Braves lineups for Tuesday

As the Nationals begin a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves, trying to win at least two to walk away with a 4-5 record on one of their toughest road trips of the year, they'll do so without Michael Morse in left field again. Laynce Nix gets another start in left as the Nationals face Tim Hudson at 7:10 p.m. One of the knocks on

What is Jason Marquis' future with the Nationals?

Jason Marquis makes his seventh start of the year for the Nationals tonight, 361 days after he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. When Marquis went to Cincinnati for that operation, he'd become something of a punch line, his 20.52 ERA in three starts looking like evidence the Nationals should never have signed him to a two-year, $15 million contract. Now,

Podcast: Answering your questions about the Nationals

Thanks to all of you who submitted questions this morning for my latest Nationals podcast. I recorded the show this afternoon, and you can get it either by subscribing to my podcast feed on iTunes here or listening to it here. In this week's show, I talked about the Nationals' rotation, possible trade options, the future of Bryce Harper and the team's strategy for the

Taking questions for this week's Nationals podcast

Good morning, all - I'm putting together another edition of my podcast today, and for this installment, I thought I'd answer your questions in a mailbag-type format. I usually answer them by responding to your comments here, but this could be a fun way to switch it up, and it'll allow me to give a little lengthier answer than a comment response would. So if

Nationals acquire Gregor Blanco in trade with Royals

The Nationals acquired outfielder Gregor Blanco from the Royals today for a player to be named. Blanco was assigned to Triple-A Syracuse, and will not be added to the Nationals' 40-man roster. Blanco is only 27, but he's logged 836 plate appearances in the majors as a pinch hitter and backup outfielder with the Braves and Royals. In an odd twist, he was traded for

Nationals' offense goes back into hibernation in 8-0 loss to Marlins

The Nationals have played 34 games this year, and they've been shut out four times. And in each one of those shutouts, they've looked a little more helpless. When they lost 2-0 to the Braves on opening day, they got five hits and at least forced Derek Lowe out of the game after 5 2/3 innings. The next shutout, against Cliff Lee and the Phillies,

Anibal Sanchez done, but Nationals fall to Marlins 8-0

Update: Nationals blanked by Marlins, 8-0. As a whole, it's tough to take many issues with the way the Nationals have played this weekend in Florida. They won the first two games of the series with good pitching and clean defense, holding a Marlins team that's hammered their pitching staff to four runs in the first two games. But they're losing 7-0 today, with Anibal

Danny Espinosa shows his value on defense

Though the Nationals believe Danny Espinosa has the chance to be a solid offensive player in the major leagues, a disruptive force who can take pitches and hit 15-20 homers a year, he's going through the pains of learning to deal with big league pitching in his first full season. Espinosa went 1-for-3 Saturday night against the Marlins, but that only served to raise his

Gorzelanny gem keys 5-2 victory, positions Nats for sweep of Marlins

Tom Gorzelanny pitched seven innings of two-hit ball and the Nationals beat the Florida Marlins 3-2 Saturday night. Washington can sweep the three-game series by taking the finale, which will air Sunday at 1:10 p.m. on MASN2/MASN2 HD. Gorzelanny (2-2) , who worked eight shutout innings in a victory over the Giants on Monday, walked four and struck out six. One of the hits the

Gorzelanny turns 3-2 lead over to Burnett

Tom Gozelanny is out after seven strong innings, turning a 3-2 lead over to Sean Burnett and the Nationals' bullpen in the bottom of the seventh. Gorzelanny, who worked eight shutout innings in his previous start against the Giants, allowed two runs on two hits through seven innings and is in position for the victory. Gorzelanny walked four and struck out six.

Nats take 3-2 lead in fifth on Werth's sacrifice fly

We're heading to the bottom of the fifth in Miami and the Nationals have a 3-2 lead over the Marlins. Ian Desmond hit a one-out triple to right-center and came home on Jayson Werth's sacrifice fly to break a 2-all tie. Nats lefty Tom Gorzelanny has allowed only one hit - John Buck's two-run homer in the second - heading to the bottom of the

So far, so good at the top

Roger Bernadina's trial as the Nationals' new leadoff hitter is going quite well, though two at-bats is an admittedly small sample size. Bernadina, called up from Triple-A Syracuse today to replace the injured Rick Ankiel on the roster and in center field, led off the game with a single and scored the Nats' first run on Adam LaRoche's two-run, bases-loaded single. In the second, Bernadina

Saturday's Nationals-Marlins discussion space

The Nationals are coming off a key 3-2 victory over the Marlins on Friday night, but they'll have their work cut out for them trying to guarantee a rare series win at Sun Life Stadium. Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad's success against many of the Nationals' hitters is well-documented (of the hitters in their lineup tonight, only Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond have OPSes over .800

Roger Bernadina leading off for Nationals against Marlins

This afternoon, the Nationals officially recalled outfielder Roger Bernadina from Triple-A Syracuse, to give them another outfield option while Rick Ankiel is on the disabled list with a sprained right wrist. Bernadina will start in center field tonight against the Marlins, leading off the game against starter Chris Volstad. Here are the lineups for both teams: Nationals: Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Werth -

With Rick Ankiel heading to the DL, Roger Bernadina could get his chance

The Nationals put Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list after last night's game against the Marlins, taking the center fielder out of their lineup for almost two weeks (the placement was retroactive to last Tuesday). They also pulled Roger Bernadina from Triple-A Syracuse's game in the fourth inning, a strong sign he's likely to get called up today to replace Ankiel. Bernadina was hitting

As May victories go, Nationals' 3-2 win over Marlins a big one

It's generally a bad idea in a 162-game baseball season to attach too much significance to any one victory, so we'll try not to do that here. But there's no question the Nationals' 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Marlins on Friday night is a key win. The Nationals had lost three straight heading into Friday, and another loss to the Marlins would have dropped them

Nationals-Marlins lineups for Friday

Here are the Nationals' and Marlins' lineups for the first game of the three-game series, which begins tonight at Sun Life Stadium: Jerry Hairston Jr. is back in center for the Nationals, with Rick Ankiel missing his fourth game with a sore right wrist. And Ian Desmond drops another spot in the lineup, to eighth: Nationals: Espinosa - 2B Cora - 3B Werth - RF

A point of clarification on Bryce Harper

As the Nationals' offensive struggles continue and their numbers continue to languish, there seems to be a growing number of questions from all of you about the possibility of Bryce Harper coming to the majors in short order. So I just thought I'd address that question quickly: It's not happening. I understand why you're getting anxious - the Nationals aren't hitting, they don't have many

Are the Nationals' starting pitchers due for a regression?

PHILADELPHIA - Since the beginning of the season, as the Nationals' starting pitchers continued to pile up solid, if not spectacular, outings and keep the team in position to win games despite ranking last in baseball in strikeouts, observers have wondered if the group was really this good, or if their success was merely an aberration. The politically correct term in sabermetric circles is "regression

Nationals' 7-3 loss to Phillies a classic mismatch

PHILADELPHIA - It's hard to predict them in the course of a 162-game season with countless hot streaks and slumps, but every now and then, there's a mismatch sticking out like a flare shooting up through the woods. Nothing in the Nationals' past against the Phillies suggested they were likely to win on Thursday and avoid a sweep. They'd won just nine of their last

Halladay shuts down Nationals again in Phillies' 7-3 win

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals have played the Phillies six times this year. They've lost five. And the gap between these two teams is still rather large. Roy Halladay, who beat the Nationals in a complete game the last time he faced them, had what might have been his worst outing against them since coming to Philadelphia, and he still allowed just two runs in seven

Phillies cruising past Nationals; Halladay has 10 Ks

PHILADELPHIA - We're headed into the eighth here at Citizens Bank Park, and the two runs the Nationals scored against Roy Halladay look like they might be all the 2010 Cy Young winner lets them have. He retired 11 in a row to end his evening, has 10 strikeouts for the night and the Phillies lead the Nationals 7-2. Raul Ibanez, again, has killed the

Thursday's Nationals-Phillies discussion space

PHILADELPHIA - I'm a little late in posting this, but we're going to set up a discussion space for tonight's Nationals-Phillies game like we did last night. Post your thoughts and questions about the game in the comments section, and I'll respond to you there. I'll have a couple longer posts with game analysis throughout the night, but this thread is for you to talk

The streak is dead; Lannan comes out in third, Phillies lead Nationals 6-1

PHILADELPHIA - Thirty times this year, the Nationals' starting pitcher had made it through five innings. In only one of those games had John Lannan faced the Phillies, and none of them had come at Citizens Bank Park. Even with Chase Utley out of the lineup and Jayson Werth in a Nationals uniform, the Phillies still have enough dangerous hitters to torment Lannan. And they've

Injury updates on Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse

PHILADELPHIA - Rick Ankiel is still out of the Nationals' lineup with a sore right wrist he jammed on a couple of diving catches on Monday against the Giants, Manager Jim Riggleman said Ankiel will sit out "at least one more, if not two more days," but said X-rays on Ankiel's wrist came back negative. "He's just really not feeling good swinging yet," Riggleman said.

Riggleman hoping hitters' meeting will spark Nationals' offense

PHILADELPHIA - Before Thursday's game against the Phillies - in which the Nationals will try to roust their struggling offense enough to beat reigning Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay and avoid a sweep - manager Jim Riggleman decided it was finally time to pull all his hitters together and talk about what's been going on all season. The manager and hitting coach Rick Eckstein

Nationals-Phillies lineups for Thursday

PHILADELPHIA - Hello from Citizens Bank Park. Here are the Nationals' and Phillies' lineups for tonight's series finale, as the Nationals attempt to avoid a sweep by beating Roy Halladay. Nationals: Espinosa - 2B Cora - 3B Werth - RF Nix - LF LaRoche - 1B Ramos - C Hairston Jr. - CF Desmond - SS Lannan - P Phillies: Rollins - SS Victorino -

Adam Dunn struggling - and the ex-Nats GM who signed him gets a new gig

PHILADELPHIA - As the Nationals have gotten off to a slow start offensively this season, it's been fashionable amongst fans to point out that they could have had former first baseman Adam Dunn's big bat in the middle of their lineup, if only they'd decided to re-sign the slugger during (or shortly after) the 2010 season. But in his first month with his new team,

How many options are available to help Nationals' offense?

PHILADELPHIA - Through the first 30 games of the 2011 season, the Nationals' offense has settled into a deep and consistent funk, remaining there for so long it's starting to test some of baseball's offensive norms. They've been both unlucky (a .266 batting average on balls in play, well below the league average of around .300) and inefficient (their 15.4 percent line drive rate is

After loss to Phillies, offensive struggles starting to wear on Nationals

PHILADELPHIA - On Wednesday night, the Nationals lost another game where they struggled offensively. And worst of all, there might not be a concrete, mechanical reason for it any more. They might simply be struggling because they've been struggling in the past. Call it pressing, trying to do too much or whatever your favorite term might be. But the wonderful, mystical thing about hitting a

Nationals fall 7-4 to Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals have played five games against the Phillies this year. They've lost four. In those games, they've scored seven runs. And they'll face Roy Halladay tomorrow. If things can get any worse for their offense, it's tough to imagine how. The Nationals fell to the Phillies 7-4 on Wednesday night, facing not one of the Phillies' four All-Star pitchers, but Vance Worley,

Talk Nationals-Phillies in our discussion space

PHILADELPHIA - We're about ready to go at Citizens Bank Park for the second game of the Nationals-Phillies series. I've tinkered around with a couple different in-game blogging formats this year, and I'm going to add a new/old wrinkle to things tonight. Most of the time last year, I posted a discussion space for those of you who wanted to comment on the game. I'm

Phillies split it open against Nationals

PHILADELPHIA - Well, Jason Marquis was due to have a bad one sometime. And if it was going to happen anywhere, Citizens Bank Park seemed like the place. He entered the night with a 1-4 record here and a 7.88 ERA in six games. After tonight, his ERA will actually go up. What was a scoreless game through 4 1/2 innings has turned into a

Phillies jump out to 3-1 lead on Nationals (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - Raul Ibanez was in an 0-for-34 slump before the start of last night's game, but that wasn't going to stop him from resuming his regular role as a Nationals killer. He doubled in two of his last three at-bats last night, and in the fifth inning here, he provided the blast to put the Phillies on top. Ibanez blasted a solo homer to

Nationals' statement on the passing of Davey Johnson's stepson

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo just released a statement on senior advisor to the GM Davey Johnson's stepson, Jake Allen, who died on Tuesday of infection and pneumonia: "On behalf of the Washington Nationals organization, it is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Michael Jacob 'Jake' Allen, 34, the stepson of Davey Johnson and son of

Nationals, Phillies trading zeros early, but Riggleman tossed

PHILADELPHIA - We've played 3 1/2 innings at Citizens Bank Park, and two of the Nationals' main constants this year - the solid pitching of Jason Marquis and their offense's inability to get anything going against an opposing starter - have been in play early. Marquis has allowed two hits in two innings, striking out a pair of hitters and ending the first inning with

Nationals' offensive struggles not putting stress on Eckstein, Riggleman says

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals enter Wednesday's game with the Philadelphia Phillies still in the throes of a season-long slump on offense. Their .225 average, .301 on-base percentage and .347 slugging percentage are all in the bottom three in the National League, and every time they've lost to the Phillies this year, they've been beaten in a complete game from the opposing pitcher. But it's almost

Rick Ankiel sitting with wrist injury again

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals center fielder Rick Ankiel is out of the lineup for the second straight night, still nursing a sore wrist after attempt two sliding catches on Monday night against the Giants. Manager Jim Riggleman said Ankiel "did a little more to it than we thought," though he said it wasn't bad enough to warrant a MRI. Ankiel will be available to pinch hit

Ryan Zimmerman begins his rehab after surgery

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was back at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday after having surgery to repair a torn rectus abdominis muscle. He walked a mile after surgery, like Nationals trainers had planned for him to do, and said he was still sore, but felt like everything was on track. According to the schedule doctors have laid out for him, Zimmerman is

Nationals-Phillies lineups for Wednesday

PHILADELPHIA - Good afternoon from Citizens Bank Park, where the Nationals and Phillies resume their three-game series tonight at 7:05. Rick Ankiel, who injured his right hand on Monday against the Giants, is out of the lineup again today, and Jerry Hairston Jr. is in center field. The Nationals face right-hander Vance Worley, who's been sharp in three games against National League East opponents so

Nationals minor league report

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals PR man Bill Gluvna is back with his weekly minor league report, which is good news for anyone who loves prospects or puns. Here it is: KILLER B: Right-hander Brad Peacock struck out eight in seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball to lead Double-A Harrisburg to a 3-0 win at Bowie (Orioles) last night...the 23-year-old is 4-1 with a 1.16 ERA in

Is Michael Morse due for a turnaround?

PHILADELPHIA - I feel like I've written that headline about five times this season already. But Michael Morse, who looked like he could provide a jolt of power for the Nationals' offense at times last year and through most of this spring, might finally be getting hot. He's hitting .290 in his last nine games, having homered twice and driven in seven runs in that

Jayson Werth on his first game back in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA - Jayson Werth's first game back at Citizens Bank Park as a member of the visiting team is over, and if the Philles fans are going to spend the rest of Werth's career both honoring and hassling the Nationals outfielder, it sounds like he's up for it. "A lot of familiar faces out there (in right field)," Werth said. "I feel pretty comfortable out

Phillies transforming on the fly, but still ahead of Nationals

PHILADELPHIA - Jayson Werth returned to Citizens Bank Park as a visitor on Tuesday night, wearing a Nationals uniform in a park where he made his career. The scene touched all the emotions you'd expect in what might be the majors' most raucous home stadium - there were standing ovations, boos, signs both positive and negative, chants both amusing and unprintable. "A lot of familiar

Nationals hang around, but fall to Phillies 4-1

FINAL UPDATE: The Nats dropped a 4-1 decision to the Phillies as Cole Hamels went a full nine innings, allowing just one run. Back with more in a bit. PHILADELPHIA - Give the Nationals this: In the 36 games they've played at Citizens Bank Park since 2007 (27 of which have been losses), they've let close games slip out of control plenty of times before.

Jayson Werth gets boos, standing ovations early in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA - The first two innings of Jayson Werth's return to Citizens Bank Park have had all the melodrama you could have wanted from this matchup. He's been booed. He's tipped his cap for two standing ovations - one when he came up to the plate for the first time, the other when he ran out to right field. He's been greeted by a variety

With Rick Ankiel nursing sore hand, Jerry Hairston Jr. starts in center for Nationals

PHILADELPHIA - Jerry Hairston Jr. starts in center field tonight for the Nationals, replacing Rick Ankiel after he injured his right hand on a pair of diving catches. Manager Jim Riggleman said Ankiel is available to pinch hit, but the Nationals' training staff thought it would be best to give the center fielder a day off. "I know he rolled on it pretty good a

Ryan Zimmerman's surgery a success

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman had successful arthroscopic surgery in Philadelphia to repair a torn rectus abdominis muscle today, general manager Mike Rizzo said. He will begin his rehab process tomorrow - Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz said on Saturday that Zimmerman would walk a mile the day after surgery - and continue it in Washington after the team's series with the Phillies is

Jayson Werth hopes to be welcomed in Philadelphia - but understands if he's booed

PHILADELPHIA - Jayson Werth popped out of the visitor's clubhouse for the first time at Citizens Bank Park this afternoon, and immediately, it was clear they had been waiting for him in Philadelphia. A gaggle of reporters crowded around Werth in the third-base dugout on Tuesday afternoon, forming a gallery that went three deep in some spots. Told Phillies fans have had his return to

Tuesday's Nationals-Phillies lineups

PHILADELPHIA - Good afternoon from Citizens Bank Park. Here are the Nationals' and Phillies' lineups for tonight's game. There's quite a bit of trading tonight - former Nationals Brian Schneider and Pete Orr are in the Phillies' lineup, and Jayson Werth, of course, is in the Nationals' lineup for his return to Philadelphia. Should be an interesting night, as the Nationals play their 1,000th game

Nationals begin big road trip in Philadelphia against Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - By the time the Nationals return to Washington, playing their next home game at Nationals Park after a nine-game road trip, we'll know a lot more about their standing in the National League East than we do now. They took three out of four against the world champion San Francisco Giants, yes, but that was against a team struggling almost as mightily at

With a pick-me-up from Jerry Hairston Jr., Michael Morse comes through for Nationals

After both players struck out, killing the Nationals' first good chance to score a run in last night's game against the San Francisco Giants, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Michael Morse saw each other in the tunnel on the way back to the video room at Nationals Park. Morse was hitting .206 at the time, and had struck out 23 times in 73 at-bats this season.

Nationals' pitching propels them back to .500 with win over Giants

Last season, the San Francisco Giants became one of the more unlikely world champions in recent history, if you're judging likeliness by the strength of the lineups they were fielding on most nights. The Giants finished ninth in the National League in runs, and didn't have a batter hit over .300, post 30 homers or drive in 100 runs. But they had the best pitching

Offense comes through as Nationals beat Giants 2-0

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Wilson Ramos hit a hard grounder toward Giants third baseman Miguel Tejada, who made the kind of fundamental mistake you're taught not to make in Little League. Tejada tried to field the ball from the side, instead of getting in front of it, and when he attempted to pick Ramos' grounder with one hand, it skipped

Nationals, Giants scoreless through six

You're welcome to disagree with me on this, but the kind of game the Nationals and Giants are playing tonight is my favorite in baseball. Both Tom Gorzelanny and Madison Bumgarner are dealing - neither the Nationals nor the Giants have a strong offense, but the two left-handers have been sharp enough to yield a combined three hits. And both teams have played some fantastic

Nationals have their hands full with Giants' Bumgarner early

Giants starter Madison Bumgarner came into tonight's game two outings removed from a 2 2/3-inning start against the Atlanta Braves, and his win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in his last start was his first quality start of the year. Facing a team that's hitting just .206 against left-handers, though, he hasn't looked like a shaken pitcher early tonight. Bumgarner has retired the first nine batters

Nationals prepare to honor military after Bin Laden's death

The Nationals do a Military Appreciation Night every year, and had details for this year's event planned since January. But there's little they could do to make future installments more memorable than the one they've got coming up tonight. The team will honor servicemen and women at tonight's game against the San Francisco Giants, the first since President Obama told the nation last night that

Michael Morse starts at first base for Nationals against Giants

Here is the Nationals' lineup for tonight's series finale with the Giants. I'll post San Francisco's lineup when it becomes available. Michael Morse gets the start at first base for the Nationals tonight, with Adam LaRoche sitting against left-hander Madison Bumgarner. But his placement in the lineup is a sign he's still struggling; the Nationals have him hitting sixth, behind Wilson Ramos and Ian Desmond.

A well-timed Military Appreciation Night for Nationals

The Nationals had set aside May 2 for Military Appreciation Night since the beginning of the season, where active or retired servicemen and servicewomen can get four free tickets to tonight's game with a valid military ID. But the backdrop that sets it up should make for a memorable scene at Nationals Park tonight. The news late last night that U.S. forces had killed Osama

Nationals 5, Giants 2: Second Look

After the Nationals' win over the Giants yesterday, I gave you a chance to pick the player who you think should receive a Golden Goose this morning as yesterday's player of the game. And you were clear in your choice: It's Pudge. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez won in a landslide, collecting 68.1 percent of the vote after going 2-for-4, driving in a pair of runs with

Nationals 5, Giants 2: Pick your player of the game

We're trying out something new this afternoon following the Nationals' 5-2 win over the Giants: You get to pick the Golden Geese. For those unfamiliar with how things work around here, I do something after almost every game called Second Look, where I pick the two or three best players of the game (the Golden Goose winners) and the two or three worst players of

Nationals 5, Giants 2: Postgame thoughts

The way the Nationals won Sunday was far from ideal, but let's not kid ourselves: None of their wins are going to be ideal until Ryan Zimmerman gets back. For the next six weeks, they're going to field a lineup on most nights that includes a player or two who would be better served in a bench role. And even after banging out 10 hits

Jordan Zimmermann finishes strong; Nats register 5-2 win

Jordan Zimmermann allowed four hits in the first two innings of today's game, which probably shouldn't be surprising; he entered today with a 5.46 career ERA in first innings. But the way the 24-year-old battled back was an impressive sign of his growth as a pitcher. Zimmermann threw 107 pitches, the most he's thrown since returning from Tommy John surgery, in six innings, and only

Nationals scratch their way ahead of Giants

Nobody said the Nationals' offense was going to be pretty - and with Ryan Zimmerman out of the lineup. it's probably going to look like this more often than not. But after a game where they repeatedly flubbed chances to take the lead on the Giants, the Nationals are at least bringing in a few runs today. They scored one in the third, with the

Nationals get early hits, but trail Giants 2-1

In two innings today, the Nationals already have more hits than they had in nine innings yesterday. They've collected three off Matt Cain, including an Alex Cora double that scored Laynce Nix in the second inning. But they left two runners on base, and trail the Giants 2-1. Jordan Zimmermann couldn't stop the Giants before they scored in the top of the second, with Nate

Nationals-Giants lineups for Sunday

Good afternoon from Nationals Park. Here are the Nationals' and Giants' lineups for today's 1:35 game. I'm filling in for Ray Knight again today, co-hosting Nats Xtra with Johnny Holliday before and after today's game. Tune in on MASN HD or DC50. Giants: Rowand - CF Sanchez - 2B Posey - C Burrell - LF Huff - 1B Tejada - 3B Fontenot - SS Schierholtz

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