Nats' most significant moves in January

Nats' most significant moves in January
As the calendar turns to a new year this January, a new baseball season is on the horizon. When it will actually begin, however, remains to be seen. The lockout is currently keeping teams from making any major league roster moves, which is a shame because Mike Rizzo is usually very busy during the year's first month. No matter the pace of an offseason's free agent market, we have seen the Nationals general manager put together a competitive roster well before the start of spring training year...
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New year brings new expectations for Nats

New year brings new expectations for Nats
Yesterday, Mark Zuckerman rang in the new year with hopes for the Nationals in 2022. Things the team would like to see come to fruition this season. Best-case scenarios for the players, coaches and front office staff. The fact of the matter is 2022 is going to be a year unlike we've seen on South Capitol Street in over a decade. Exactly 10 years ago, expectations were sky high for the Nationals. They ended the 2012 season with the club's first National League East division title, starting...
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The Nationals: "No Way Home"

The Nationals: "No Way Home"
In honor of this weekend's release of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," I'm going to attempt to create parallels between the blockbuster movie and the upcoming Nationals season. I like baseball and superheroes, and we're in a lockout, so bear with me. This is a spoiler-free reference to "No Way Home" for those of you who have yet to see the film. I saw it opening night since Spider-Man is one of my favorite characters of all time, and I hate when people spoil things for me, so I will not do...
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Remembering a loving grandfather and avid sports fan

Remembering a loving grandfather and avid sports fan
It's crazy how much we take after our role models. It's unfortunate that you sometimes don't fully understand their impact and the similarities between you until those people are gone. My grandfather passed away early Sunday morning. Ramiro Blanco was 91 and thankfully passed away peacefully. He had a few ailments that came with old age, including prostate cancer, but it was just his time. He was at peace with that. And so is the rest of the Blanco Family Circus, as we so lovingly call...
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Updates on Nats prospects in Arizona Fall League

Updates on Nats prospects in Arizona Fall League
The development of prospects is a vital part of any rebuilding team and the Arizona Fall League presents teams with an opportunity to send a handful of their minor league players to continue that process after the conclusions of their regular seasons. Whether they missed time due to injuries or coaches want to see them play more, the AFL is a great chance for prospects to accumulate more innings or more at-bats against other top prospects across the sport. The Nationals have eight players...
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Coles brings track record of success to Nationals

Coles brings track record of success to Nationals
When word got out that Kevin Long would be leaving D.C. to take the hitting coach job in Philadelphia, Darnell Coles must have had a keen eye on the opening with the Nationals. Not only for the opportunity to rejoin the organization with which he started his coaching career and to be alongside longtime friend Davey Martinez in the dugout, but also for the chance to work with one of baseball's best hitters in Juan Soto. (Not to mention a power switch-hitter in Josh Bell and a core of young...
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Could Martinez shake up the lineup over the last two weeks?

Could Martinez shake up the lineup over the last two weeks?
It ain't broke, don't fix it. A common phrase that Nationals manager Davey Martinez is taking to heart over the last month or so of the season as it pertains to his lineup. Ever since Lane Thomas solidified his role in the leadoff spot on Aug. 28, Martinez's lineups have mostly looked like this: CF Lane ThomasSS Alcides EscobarRF Juan Soto1B Josh BellLF Yadiel Hernandez3B Carter KieboomC Keibert Ruiz2B Luis GarcíaPitcher's spot Those top four spots haven't changed, essentially, and for...
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Finnegan blows late rally, Nats eliminated with loss (updated)

Finnegan blows late rally, Nats eliminated with loss (updated)
There are only so many ways to say this, and given the frequency with which it's happening, we're running dangerously low on options. So I'll be blunt: The Nationals bullpen blew two more leads in Friday's 9-8 loss to the Rockies on South Capitol Street. Handed a one-run lead after a late rally in the eighth, Kyle Finnegan needed only three outs in the ninth to seal a win and record his 10th save of the season. Instead, he gave up a leadoff game-tying home run to blow his fourth save...
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How Gray can earn his elusive first big league win (with Rizzo quote)

How Gray can earn his elusive first big league win (with Rizzo quote)
Wins and losses don't really point to the successes and failures of a starting pitcher. So many things can happen throughout the course of a game that are out of the pitchers' control, it wouldn't be fair to judge them on their record alone. There are other numbers that tell a better story. That being said, wins and losses aren't totally meaningless to pitchers. And for a young hurler, earning his first victory is an important milestone. For Josiah Gray, the new face of the Nationals'...
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Game 147 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies

Game 147 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies
There are only 16 games left in the Nationals' season, which means Josiah Gray probably only has four starts remaining, starting with tonight's series opener against the Rockies. Gray started his career in D.C. strong, pitching to a 2.89 ERA over his first five starts. But he has since struggled with an ERA of 12.75 over his last three outings. If the right-hander wants to finish strong and give the organization confidence in him going into next year, he's going to have to limit the walks...
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Nats' fighting effort is worth watching

Nats' fighting effort is worth watching
I had someone ask me the other day, "How do you keep watching the Nationals when they're losing so many games?" Aside from it being my job, my answer was easy: They're always in it. You've heard manager Davey Martinez say it time and time again: "The boys are battling." Well, what does that mean exactly, aside from the obvious definition of playing hard? "Yeah, I mean, it's something that I preach every day with these guys that they're never really out of it," Martinez said during...
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Nats pitching collapses in loss to Pirates (updated)

Nats pitching collapses in loss to Pirates (updated)
It's no secret: The Nationals pitching staff is the team's biggest liability at this point in the season. It seems like no lead is safe and every deficit could continue to grow. That was certainly the case during tonight's 10-7 loss to the Pirates, the Nats' third straight defeat, second in Pittsburgh. Optimists would say entering the bottom of the fifth inning with a 5-2 lead would have been a good path toward victory. Realists would say that a three-run lead wouldn't be enough. The...
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Martinez remembers baseball's return after Sept. 11 attacks

Martinez remembers baseball's return after Sept. 11 attacks
It's a tough day for all Americans today. The 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., brings a lot of emotions to all who remember that tragic day for our nation. Like many of us, Nationals manager Davey Martinez remembers exactly where he was and what he was doing on that fateful morning. "Yeah, you know, it was a day no one will ever forget, obviously," Martinez said while getting visibly emotional...
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Game 142 lineups: Nats at Pirates

Game 142 lineups: Nats at Pirates
This weekend series between the Nationals and Pirates continues to be filled with reunions and signs of the changing times between these two franchises. Josh Bell homered in his return to Pittsburgh last night. Today, he'll get the chance to face Wil Crowe, the pitcher the Nats sent to the Pirates in order to acquire the first baseman last winter. A second-round pick by the Nationals in 2017, Crowe is 3-7 with a 5.94 ERA in 22 appearances (21 starts) this year for the Bucs. The former top...
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Four things to watch over last 40 games

Four things to watch over last 40 games
The Nationals have 40 games remaining in the 2021 season, starting with this afternoon's series finale in Milwaukee. It's hard to believe that we're already this close to the end of the baseball season. Fall is right around the corner. On this week's episode of the "MASN All Access Podcast," Amy Jennings and I set goals for a handful of Nationals players to reach before season's end. I wanted to expand on a couple of those goals and bring up some new ones as things to look out for over...
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Bullpen breaks late as Nats' winning streak is snapped (updated)

Bullpen breaks late as Nats' winning streak is snapped (updated)
It was only a matter of time. The Nationals bullpen flirted with danger too often this afternoon against the Brewers and it finally cost them in the eighth inning of a 9-6 loss. Looking for their first four-game winning streak since June 27-30, the Nationals couldn't get pitchers to make pitches when they needed them the most. After a strong showing by starter Paolo Espino, the bullpen arms gave the Brewers two leads in the second half of the game, struggling to protect their own lead or to...
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Nats uncertain how Avila's return will affect catching rotation

Nats uncertain how Avila's return will affect catching rotation
With two young catchers playing well on the active roster, a veteran nearing his return from the 10-day injured list and a top prospect knocking on the door at Triple-A Rochester, the Nationals' catching situation is one of the more interesting storylines to follow for the remainder of the season. After four straight games behind the plate, Riley Adams gives way to Tres Barrera, who starts today against the Brewers for the first time in a week. Even though Adams has played more recently and...
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Game 122 lineups: Nats at Brewers

Game 122 lineups: Nats at Brewers
Can the Nationals make it four in a row? After last night's win over the Brewers, the Nats are now in the midst of their longest winning streak since July 18-20. Their last four-game winning streak came all the way back from June 27-30. Paolo Espino will take the mound in pursuit of that feat as he faces the team with which he made his major league debut. Espino is 3-4 with a 4.16 ERA on the season and 3-3 with a 4.53 ERA in 11 starts. His only appearance against his former team came in a...
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Gray learning and embracing new role with Nats

Gray learning and embracing new role with Nats
Every start for Josiah Gray is another stepping stone toward being the reliable frontline starter the Nationals envision. While he's learning along the way, the 23-year-old is also embracing a new role and a new set of expectations with his new club. There are certain things the Nationals are looking for from Gray when he takes the mound every fifth day. He's going to get the chance to make his starts for the remainder of the season and every time out there is a learning opportunity. "What...
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After blown lead, late homers help Nats sweep Blue Jays (updated)

After blown lead, late homers help Nats sweep Blue Jays (updated)
A lot of games are going to be wild rides for the Nationals as they close out this season. Some will end on a high note. And others, as we've seen a lot recently, won't. Wednesday's game was another up-and-down affair that actually went the Nats' way in the form of an 8-5 win to sweep the Blue Jays in front of 18,336 at Nationals Park. The highs: Josiah Gray's fourth start with the Nats and late homers by Josh Bell and Carter Kieboom to deliver the victory. The lows: more home runs allowed...
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