More on Meneses' big swings

Joey Meneses Cherry blossom

The day before the All-Star break is always a slow one. It’s especially slow when playing a noon game after a night game that included an hour and 17-minute rain delay.

Guys are packing their bags to head home for the break and making sure all of their gear is ready to be shipped to meet the team in St. Louis at the end of the week.

So let’s talk more about the Nationals’ biggest development over this weekend, shall we?

Joey Meneses’ swing may be back.

After only hitting two home runs over the first 87 games of the season, he hit three in less than 24 hours in the previous two. Over the first two games against the Rangers, Meneses has gone 4-for-8 with a double, three homers, four RBIs and no strikeouts.

Continue reading

Game 90 lineups: Nats vs. Rangers

corbin pitches blue

Before we turn our attention to the Nationals’ No. 2 overall pick in tonight’s MLB Draft and the upcoming All-Star Game festivities, there is still one more game to be played before the unofficial first half of the season ends.

The Nats will look to close this first part of the season on a high note, one of the few they’ve seen at home this season. They have lost 15 of their last 17 home games and need a win this afternoon for some sort of momentum heading into the break.

Patrick Corbin will hope to lead the Nats to that victory in his 19th start. The left-hander is 5-10 with a 5.13 ERA and 1.593 WHIP this season. He got knocked around for six runs and 10 hits over five innings during his July 4 start against the Reds, which came after one of his best starts as a National in the form of seven shutout innings and nine strikeouts against the Mariners. Corbin is 4-3 with a 4.75 ERA and 1.373 WHIP in eight interleague starts this season.

A familiar face will start for the Rangers. Dane Dunning was a first-round pick (29th overall) by the Nats in the 2016 draft. The University of Florida product was traded that December along with Lucas Giolito and Renaldo López to the White Sox in exchange for Adam Eaton. Dunning was traded again in 2020 to the Rangers as part of the two-player package for Lance Lynn.

The 28-year-old right-hander is enjoying his best year in the majors with an 8-1 record, 2.61 ERA and 1.100 WHIP over 19 appearances (11 starts). He’s pitched to a 2.28 ERA over his last four starts, allowing no more than two runs in any of them. His only start against the Nationals came last year here in D.C., when he completed six innings of one-run ball while taking a no-decision in the Nats’ 2-1 win.

Continue reading

O speed, where art thou?

Victor Robles run white

Coming into the season, the Nationals believed speed would be one of the strongest assets to their young lineup.

Now officially past the halfway point of the season, it hasn’t been as effective as they might have hoped.

Did you know up until last week Victor Robles was still the team’s leader in stolen bases? The speedy outfielder has only played 36 games this season, missed 34 in May and June with a back injury and is currently on his second stint on the injured list. CJ Abrams swiped one in San Diego and one in Seattle to overtake him 79 games into the season.

Entering Sunday’s finale against the Phillies, the Nationals ranked as one of the worst teams in terms of stealing bases in the major leagues. They had only stolen 43 bases in 56 attempts, which were 25th in the majors and 13th in the National League. That equated to a 76.8 percent success rate, which ranked 22nd in the majors and 12th in the National League.

They were only stealing 0.68 bags per game, 26th in the big leagues and 13th in the NL.

Continue reading

More reactions to Gray's All-Star selection

gray pitches blue

PHILADELPHIA – Josiah Gray is an All-Star. It’s the first time the young right-hander has received the honor.

He will represent the Nationals in the 93rd Midsummer Classic next week in Seattle. Joining him from the organization will be top prospects James Wood and Brady House in the Futures Game.

It’s a significant movement as the Nats’ future will be recognized during the Festivities at T-Mobile Park.

Gray, of course, was a part of the first major trade the Nationals made in 2021 to kickstart this rebuild. Now, almost two years later, he’s a major league All-Star. It’s especially impressive when you look at the ups and downs he endured last year during his first full major league season.

The All-Star honor is very special to Gray individually. But it also means a lot to his teammates and the organization as a whole.

Continue reading

Gray selected as All-Star for first time

gray w @ PHI

PHILADELPHIA – Josiah Gray stepped into the tunnel outside the Nationals clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park to meet with a small group of reporters. He was wiping his eyes, which were red and watery. An unusual sight when most interviews are done by his locker.

The All-Star treatment.

Gray was named an All-Star for the first time, the Nationals’ lone representative at the 2023 Major League Baseball All-Star Game next week at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Manager Davey Martinez made the announcement to the team before today’s finale against the Phillies.

"Davey just brought us all in for a team meeting and said he had a quick message for us,” Gray said. “Told us we had one All-Star and it was me. So it was really cool to have that moment. I talked to the guys shortly, got to embrace it."

Each major league team gets at least one representative in each year’s Midsummer Classic. But a lot of attention was surrounding Lane Thomas and Jeimer Candelario as the likely choices for the Nats. But Martinez has mentioned Gray when asked about the All-Star Game over the last few days.

Continue reading

Garrett slams Nats to third straight series win (updated)

garrett candelario @ PHI

PHILADELPHIA – This has already been a successful road trip for the Nationals. They were just trying to put a cherry on top. End it with a bang.

Having already sealed a winning record with five wins in the first eight of this nine-game odyssey, the Nats were also looking to do something they haven’t done since 2017: Win three series on the same road trip.

On the heels of yesterday’s 19-4 shellacking, this finale started off in a familiar fashion. But one big swing – and a 23-minute rain delay – helped push the Nats past the Phillies for a 5-4 win in front of 41,531 drenched fans at Citizens Bank Park.

Trevor Williams got into trouble right away. Facing the daunting Phillies lineup that clubbed four home runs yesterday, the right-hander surrendered two in the bottom of the first.

With two outs, he served up the first longball to Nick Castellanos, his 12th of the season, on an inside 78 mph curveball. Bryce Harper nearly went back-to-back, but his first-pitch swing went just foul down the left field line. He had to settle for a single to right on the next pitch.

Continue reading

Some young Nats get day off for finale in Philly

CJ Abrams batting practice

PHILADELPHIA – As the Nationals go for their third straight series win this afternoon, some of their young players are getting the day off.

CJ Abrams, Luis García and Keibert Ruiz are all out of the starting lineup for the rubber match against the Phillies. It’s not much of a surprise for the catcher after being behind the dish for the first two games this weekend, but having not one but both of the young middle infielders rest on the same day is a bit of a surprise.

Ildemaro Vargas, in the starting lineup for the second straight day, gets the start at shortstop while Michael Chavis is at second base. Riley Adams, of course, is catching starter Trevor Williams.

“Just to get them off their feet,” manager Davey Martinez said of his reasoning in giving Abrams and García the same day off. “Day game, get them off. We got a crazy schedule coming up with this next week. We got different times: six o'clock, 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock, so I just want to give those guys a day. Like I said, these guys, they got to get a day here and there. So today was a good day. It was scheduled coming into the series. So they'll get the day today and get some of these other guys in there.”

The Nationals have six different scheduled start times over their final seven games this week leading into the All-Star break: They’ll open their four-game series with the Reds tomorrow night at 6 p.m., then they have the traditional 11 a.m. start on the Fourth of July, a 7 p.m. start on Wednesday, a 1 p.m. start for Thursday’s getaway game for Cincinnati, another 7 p.m. game Friday for the series opener against the Rangers, a 4 p.m. start Saturday and a noon start Sunday for a nationally televised first-half finale on Peacock.

Continue reading

Game 83 lineups: Nats at Phillies

Candelario Smith Meneses blue away

PHILADELPHIA – It’s time to forget about yesterday and move on to today.

No matter how bad yesterday’s 19-4 loss was, it was still just a single loss. The Nationals, who have already sealed a winning road trip, still have a chance to win this three-game series against the Phillies.

Trevor Williams gets his shot at this Phillies lineup this afternoon. Josiah Gray had a lot of success Friday. MacKenzie Gore did not on Saturday. Williams is 4-4 with a 4.28 ERA and 1.413 WHIP in 16 starts this year. Handed an early lead Monday in Seattle, he couldn’t hold onto it while being charged with three runs and eight hits in four innings. When he faced the Phillies a month ago, he was charged with four runs in 5 ⅔ innings while striking out a season-high six batters.

Ranger Suárez will be the second lefty starter the Nats will see this weekend. The Phillies southpaw is 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in nine starts this season. He was dominant in June, pitching to a 1.08 ERA and striking out 33 over five starts. That started with seven innings of one-run ball against the Nationals on June 4.

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan,
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 85 degrees, wind 8 mph out to right field

Continue reading

A man down, back end of Nats bullpen regaining strength

Mason Thompson throwing gray

PHILADELPHIA – When Carl Edwards Jr. landed on the 15-day injured list on June 21 with right shoulder inflammation, the Nationals bullpen took a hit. One of their trusted late-inning relievers wasn’t going to be available for the foreseeable future.

Down an experienced arm, the back end of the Nats bullpen was expected to falter a bit. But instead, it has continued to thrive.

Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey have been able to hold down the fort in the back end, usually pitching the final two innings of close games. And Mason Thompson has stepped up to fill Edwards’ setup role ahead of them.

“Yeah, they've been really, really awesome,” Martinez said. “If we can get the ball to those guys, we got a good chance to win ballgames at the end.”

That came true in Friday night’s win over the Phillies.

Continue reading

Nats routed by Phillies after Gore departs early (updated)


PHILADELPHIA – The Nationals were riding high into Saturday’s late afternoon game against the Phillies.

One of their young starting pitchers tossed perhaps his best game as a major leaguer when Josiah Gray shoved for six innings of one-run ball in last night’s 2-1 win.

That set the Nats up today to win their third straight series and to do something they haven’t done since June 27-30, 2021: Have a winning streak longer than three games.

But that all came crashing down with today’s 19-4 thrashing by the Phillies, much to the delight of the 42,784 fans at Citizens Bank Park.

Score aside, the story of this one for the Nationals was MacKenize Gore’s early departure.

Continue reading

Another off-day for Meneses as Vargas enters lineup

Joey Meneses swing gray

PHILADELPHIA – The Nationals are trying to get Joey Meneses right.

Despite a lack of power from the everyday designated hitter, Meneses has been one of the Nats’ more consistent hitters this year.

He enjoyed a career-best 18-game on-base streak from May 21 to June 11, during which he slashed .357/.430/.443 with an .873 OPS, four doubles, one triple, 10 RBI and nine walks to eight strikeouts.

But since that streak ended, he is slashing a paltry .179/.190/.250 with a .440 OPS, four doubles, seven RBIs and one walk to a staggering 18 strikeouts.

So for the fourth time in just over two weeks, Meneses will take a seat as the Nationals face Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler after he only missed a combined three games over the first 66 of the season (two of those games when he was placed on the paternity list for the birth of his first child).

Continue reading

Game 82 lineups: Nats at Phillies

vargas swing @ STL gray

PHILADELPHIA – Happy July, everyone! The second half of the Nationals' season is officially underway, as they have played 81 games with 81 to go, starting with this afternoon’s second game of a series against the Phillies.

The Nationals have a chance to do something they haven’t done since 2021: Go on a winning streak of more than three games. After winning their third straight last night behind a dominant start from Josiah Gray, the Nationals could also win their third straight series with a victory today.

To do so, they’ll hand the ball to MacKenzie Gore, who is 4-6 with a 3.89 ERA and 1.412 WHIP over his first 16 starts. The 24-year-old left-hander was strong in his last start, striking out nine Padres over five innings of one-run ball against his former team. He pitched a quality start against these Phillies a month ago in D.C., striking out six while allowing three runs over six innings. But ever his own biggest critic, Gore will be looking for more today.

Zack Wheeler will oppose Gore on the mound for the Phillies. The veteran right-hander is 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.179 WHIP over his 16 starts this year. He got crushed for seven runs and eight hits when he faced the Nats on June 2, the only game Washington won in that three-game series, so he too will be looking to improve today. 

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan,
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 83 degrees, wind 10 mph out to center field

Continue reading

Ferrer wants to improve slider while soaking in major league experience

Jose Ferrer red spring

PHILADELPHIA – It was an easy move for the Nationals to make when they found out Patrick Corbin needed to go on the bereavement list for a family matter.

Corbin had just pitched a gem Wednesday in Seattle, leading the Nats to a 4-1 victory over the Mariners. His spot in the rotation won’t come up again until Tuesday against the Reds, so the Nats could add an arm to their bullpen for this weekend series against the Phillies.

Luck would have it Triple-A Rochester was playing a little over an hour away against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. And with Jose A. Ferrer already on the 40-man roster, he could easily be activated to take Corbin’s spot on the active roster during the veteran starter’s time away from the team.

So it was that the Nats recalled Ferrer and had him meet the team in Philadelphia on Friday. After spending much of the season with no lefties in the bullpen, now Davey Martinez has two: Ferrer and Joe La Sorsa.

Ferrer flew up the Nats’ farm system last year. He went 3-2 with 11 saves, a 2.48 ERA, 0.995 WHIP, 78 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 65 ⅓ innings over 48 relief appearances between Single-A Fredericksburg, High-A Wilmington and Double-A Harrisburg last year. Among Nationals minor leaguers, the 23-year-old was third in saves and appearances.

Continue reading

Gray dominates Phils to open series with win (updated)


PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies have been one of the hottest teams in June. Unfortunately, the Nationals can look back to when their rivals took two of three in D.C. at the beginning of the month as the turning point.

After the Nats won the first game on June 2, the Phillies won the next two to take the series. Entering this rematch at Citizens Bank Park, the Phils have gone 18-5 with a plus-39 run differential since June 3.

The Nationals needed to figure out a way to slow them down.

Enter Josiah Gray, who has had some past success in this ballpark in the form of a career-high 11-strikeout performance last July. The young right-hander didn’t quite reach that mark, but was just as impressive as he led the Nationals to a 2-1 win over the Phillies in front of 44,261 fans.

“It was a huge one," Gray said after the game. "Any win we get is huge. But yeah, this one definitely feels good. This is the last leg of our road trip and to start it off with a win, it means a lot.”

Continue reading

Nats place Corbin on bereavement list, recall Ferrer (plus injury updates)

corbin sad blue

PHILADELPHIA – The Nationals have gone most of this season without a left-handed reliever in their bullpen.

Now they have two.

The Nationals recalled left-hander Jose A. Ferrer from Triple-A Rochester and placed Patrick Corbin on the bereavement list before tonight’s series opener against the Phillies.

“Patrick Corbin is on the bereavement list right now,” manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame meeting with the media. “So we thought we'd bring in Ferrer, one of our young left-handed relievers. Give him an opportunity, hopefully in the next couple of days. With all the lefties they got, get him in the game. So yeah, he'll be here and we'll see how it goes for him.”

Ferrer joins the Nats after his first taste of Triple-A ball, where he was 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA, 1.550 WHIP and 33 strikeouts in 40 innings over 34 appearances. The 23-year-old did not allow a run in his final five outings since June 17 while holding opponents to a .158 average (3-for-19) and striking out nine in six innings over that span.

Continue reading

Game 81 lineups: Nats at Phillies

CJ Abrams running blue away

PHILADELPHIA – Hello from the City of Brotherly love, where America’s pastime will be played by the team representing our nation’s capital and the team representing our nation’s former capital ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

And welcome to the end of June and the actual midpoint of the major league season. Although some consider the All-Star break (the game's also known as the Midsummer Classic) as the halfway point of the season, after tonight’s game the Nationals will have played 81 of their scheduled 162 games.

The Nationals will turn to Josiah Gray to keep this 4-2 road trip going in a positive direction. The 25-year-old right-hander is 5-6 on the season with a 3.43 ERA and 1.399 WHIP. He pitched 5 ⅓ scoreless innings against the Padres in his previous start, but he was roughed up by this Phillies lineup for four runs over 5 ⅓ when he faced them at the beginning of the month. He has had some success in this ballpark, striking out a career-high 11 batters in a start last July.

Cristopher Sánchez gets the ball for the Phils in tonight’s opener. The 26-year-old southpaw is 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.050 WHIP over his three major league starts in 2023. Though this is his first time facing the Nats this year, he is 1-0 with a 7.11 ERA and 1.737 WHIP in five appearances (two starts) against them between 2021-22.

Tonight’s first pitch has apparently been delayed by a couple of minutes to accommodate the Phillies’ postgame fireworks. They want to make sure it’s actually dark outside for the show. Maybe the only downside to the pitch clock.

Continue reading

Wood, House to represent Nats at All-Star Futures Game

james wood red

The Nationals will have two of their top prospects representing the organization at next month’s All-Star Futures Game.

Outfielder James Wood and third baseman Brady House have been selected to represent the Nats in the 2023 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the announcement coming tonight on MLB Network.

Wood, 20, is the No. 5 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America and the No. 6 prospect per’s recently updated rankings. As the Nats’ top overall prospect per both publications, he leads the Nats’ minor league system in home runs (12), RBIs (52), slugging percentage (.536), OPS (tied for first, .903), triples (six), extra-base hits (33) and total bases (128).

From April 25 to May 28, Wood posted a 30-game on-base streak, the longest active streak in all of Minor League Baseball at the time. He hit .299 with a .415 on-base percentage and a .626 slugging percentage during that stretch.

In 66 games between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Harrisburg, Wood has hit .272 with 15 doubles, six triples, 12 homers, 52 RBIs, 37 walks, 13 stolen bases and 46 runs scored. He was promoted to Harrisburg on May 28, an early promotion compared to some of the Nats’ top prospects of the past. In the week leading up his promotion to Double-A, Wood went 9-for-19 (.474) with a double, triple, three home runs, seven RBIs, four walks, two stolen bases and eight runs scored in his last five games with the Blue Rocks.

Continue reading

Hill getting chance to be Nats' everyday center fielder

Derek Hill blue home

The Nationals made an interesting choice when placing Victor Robles back on the 10-day injured list with back spasms in the lumbar spine.

They could have recalled Alex Call, who was originally optioned down to Triple-A Rochester when Robles was activated Friday, even though it was within 10 days because he would have been replacing an injured player.

But they chose to select the contract of Derek Hill instead.

This is a developmental and evaluation year. The Nats have already seen 64 games of Call, who only hit .209 in the majors. Now it’s time to see what Hill has to offer. Plus, had he not strained his right hamstring in the beginning of March, Hill might have made the Opening Day roster out of spring training instead of Call or Stone Garrett.

“It feels great,” Hill said of being back in a major league clubhouse. “Obviously, this is the dream to play in the big leagues even if you've been here before. I'm just excited to come up here and do whatever I can to help the team.”

Continue reading

Irvin sharp, Martinez ejected and Nats sloppy in loss (updated)

Jake Irvin Whites

Although they lost an off-day, the Nationals were hoping to use this makeup game against the Diamondbacks to create some momentum before heading out on a nine-game road trip.

Yesterday’s win over the Cardinals was only their fourth since the start of June. Putting together back-to-back wins to end this homestand would have made for a happy flight out west.

Davey Martinez applauded his team for playing clean baseball during yesterday’s rainy conditions. But the Nats got sloppy again, committing two errors and allowing four unearned runs in a 5-3 loss to the D-backs in front of 13,251 fans who withstood the misty weather.

"We can't give good teams 28-29 outs. We can't," Martinez said after their 14th loss this month. "I think we had four unearned runs today. Take those away and we're right in the ballgame. So we gotta get better at that, we really do. And if we do that, we're going to be able to compete. So we got to just come back tomorrow and play a good, clean baseball game and see where we're at.”

Weird circumstances surrounded today’s getaway game, which technically was recognized as a one-game series since it was rescheduled from June 8 due to poor air quality in the D.C. area from the Canada wildfires.

Continue reading

With lost off-day, Martinez finding some rest for Nats

Candelario Smith Meneses blue away

Two weeks ago, the Nationals were looking at this date on the calendar and expecting to spend their off-day in sunny San Diego. But because of the postponement of the June 8 finale against the Diamondbacks due to the poor air quality from the Canada wildfires, they’re instead still in cloudy D.C. ready to play an early afternoon makeup game.

That made for an odd schedule this week to end this seven-game homestand before the team embarks on a nine-game road trip, which starts with six consecutive games on the West Coast. They had a late afternoon start on Monday for the Juneteenth federal holiday. They had another 4 p.m. start yesterday as it was still a getaway day for the Cardinals, who had a transatlantic flight to London to play two games against the Cubs. And now they have this early afternoon game against the D-backs, who arrived from Milwaukee last night and will also travel back to the West Coast tonight.

The lost off-day means the Nationals are in the middle of a stretch with games scheduled for 16 straight days. So Davey Martinez has to get creative in finding ways to give guys some rest.

“This would have been a nice day off for us, obviously,” the skipper said during his pregame press conference. “And it would have been in San Diego, which is kind of nice. But you know what, we got to play today. So I know these guys will be ready to play. But finding days off, we played so many days in a row.”

Today’s lineup against the Diamondbacks and left-handed starter Tommy Henry features some regulars getting the day off and some others playing in different positions.

Continue reading