Abrams' stardom continues to mature in leadoff spot

CJ Abrams

PITTSBURGH – CJ Abrams added another milestone to his budding stardom last night.

With the Nationals needing to shake off a rough 2-7 homestand, Abrams hit two home runs to help lead his team to a 6-2 victory over the Pirates, their first series-opening win in their last five attempts.

Abrams’ two-run shot gave the Nats a 2-0 lead in the third, the first time they’ve scored first in a game since Aug. 29 in Toronto. Then his solo homer in the seventh, his 18th of the season, gave the 22-year-old the first multi-homer game of his young career.

“Just more comfortable up there I'd say,” Abrams said. “Getting my pitch, less antsy, anxious swinging at everything. If I can stay with that approach, I'll be good.”

The Nationals have always believed Abrams would be good. Now, with his power numbers improving, they believe he can be a star.

Continue reading

Corbin's slider, Abrams' power lead Nats to victory (updated)

abrams red

PITTSBURGH – The Nationals needed length from Patrick Corbin tonight. Entering this series opener against the Pirates, Nats starters had completed six innings only once in their last 12 games. And they had allowed at least one run in the first inning in 10 straight contests.

The veteran southpaw changed both of those narratives with a terrific showing to lead the Nats to a 6-2 victory in front of 10,045 fans at PNC Park.

“He was good," manager Davey Martinez said after the game. "Kept the ball down. Mixed his pitches in, but we talked about that all the time. And I know (pitching coach Jim Hickey) had a conversation after his last outing, just got to keep the ball down. And he was very effective. So we needed a big star from him today and he gave it to us.”

Corbin was on point from the start. He recorded a 1-2-3 first inning on seven pitches to become the first Nats starter to pitch a scoreless first frame since MacKenzie Gore on Aug. 29 in Toronto.

His slider was his most useful pitch, with the Pirates unable to to lay off it out of the zone or make decent contact in it. He induced 19 swings at his slider, 13 of which were whiffs, and got seven of his eight strikeouts with it.

Continue reading

Abrams returns to lineup, Adams has successful surgery

abrams thomas blue

PITTSBURGH – CJ Abrams is back in the Nationals lineup for tonight’s opener against the Pirates after getting the day off for Sunday’s finale against the Dodgers. The young shortstop was given a day to rest after banging his knee on a slide during Saturday night’s win.

The ailment was never believed to be serious and he was even available to pinch-hit if needed yesterday.

“He feels good,” manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame media session at PNC Park. “Yesterday he could have been available to pinch-hit if we needed him. But I kind of wanted to stay away from him, just give him the whole day. I talked to him yesterday, he was hitting in the cage during the game, he said he felt fine. So it's good to get him back in there.”

Abrams has played in 132 of the Nationals’ 143 games so far this year. The 22-year-old was given extra rest last week (thanks in part to the Nats only having two games against the Mets) after telling his manager he felt like he needed a day.

Since moving to the leadoff spot full-time on July 7, Abrams has usually been backed by Lane Thomas in the No. 2 hole. The 1-2 punch atop the lineup has paced the Nationals' offense ever since, with Abrams slashing .271/.331/.444/.774 with six doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 28 runs, 20 RBIs and 14 walks and Thomas slashing .244/.298/.444/.742 with nine doubles, one triple, 10 homers, 34 runs, 29 RBIs and 12 walks over that stretch.

Continue reading

Game 144 lineups: Nats at Pirates

Corbin gray

PITTSBURGH – Hello from PNC Park, where this reporter is making his first trip to this beautiful ballpark! I’ve heard a lot of great things about this stadium and it certainly lives up to the hype.

After a 2-7 homestand, the Nationals will try to reverse their fortunes as they embark on their penultimate road trip of the season. The Nats have played well on the road recently, going 6-4 over their last 10 games away from Nationals Park.

Patrick Corbin will look to become the Nats’ first 10-game winner since 2019, when he, Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Aníbal Sánchez all won double-digit starts. Oh, how times have changed since Corbin won 14 games in his first year with the Nats, now the owner of a 9-13 record and 5.23 ERA this season.

Corbin gave up three runs over 5 ⅓ innings while taking the loss in the first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates on April 29. But he’s 2-1 with a 2.31 ERA in six career starts at PNC Park.

The Nats dropped two of three to the Pirates that weekend in April, getting outscored 24-11.

Continue reading

Nats preparing for expanded roster

Tanner Rainey

Major league rosters expand to 28 players today, allowing teams to carry two extra players from now through the end of the regular season.

For general manager Mike Rizzo and the Nationals, there are a couple of different ways they can utilize the extra spots.

“We talked about a few things,” manager Davey Martinez said before last night’s opener against the Marlins. “Mike and the crew upstairs are really bearing down and figuring out what we want to do and which direction we want to go in.”

Teams are allowed to have a maximum of 14 pitchers in September. The Nats will call up one pitcher and have a 10-man bullpen at least for the weekend while starter MacKenzie Gore is on the bereavement list, which means he has to miss at least three games.

If Gore needs more time before returning, the Nationals will still be able to start Patrick Cobin on regular rest thanks to Monday’s off-day and the six-man rotation. The extra man in the bullpen also helps as added insurance. Left-hander Joe La Sorsa was activated to the roster yesterday to take Gore’s roster spot for now.

Continue reading

Nats start homestand with another quiet loss (updated)

Joan Adon blue jersey

Last week, the Nationals were finally able to break their curse of the Marlins that was nearing two full seasons. Having yet to beat them this season, the Nats took two of three in Miami over the weekend en route to a 5-4 road trip.

Entering tonight, the Nats were hoping to continue their change of future against a division rival while also continuing their strong play over the last two months.

Those hopes were lost to the wind in a 6-1 loss in front of 17,428 fans on a breezy night in the District.

Joan Adon faced the Marlins for the second time in less than a week. But he could not replicate the six scoreless innings he tossed Friday in Miami.

“The first outing last week, I had a good feeling of all my pitches," Adon said, via interpreter Octavio Martinez. "I knew I just had a real good feeling of every pitch and I felt like I had a lot more energy. Today, for some reason, my energy was low and I didn't feel the same way about my pitches. I just didn't have the same feeling.”

Continue reading

Thomas scratched, Gray threw bullpen (plus other notes)

Lane Thomas white jersey

Finally back home, the Nationals are feeling the effects of their 10-game road trip that took them to four different cities in 11 days.

Lane Thomas was scratched from manager Davey Martinez’s original lineup for tonight’s homestand opener against the Marlins after he still felt stiffness in his back. The right fielder was replaced by Alex Call in the seventh inning of yesterday’s loss to the Blue Jays after telling his manager he felt his back tighten up on him during the game, which Martinez said three days playing on artificial turf can do.

“We just scratched him,” Martinez said during his pregame media session. “He's still a little bit tight, so I don't want to take a chance. He's gonna get worked on and hopefully, he's available to pinch-hit.”

Everyone else in the lineup moved up the order, putting Joey Meneses in Thomas’ usual No. 2 spot behind leadoff man CJ Abrams. Against Marlins lefty Braxton Garrett, the Nats have Jake Alu in left field, Jacob Young in center and Alex Call in right.

Martinez wasn’t prepared to definitely announce his lineup during his pregame press conference, but he was prepared to announce Josiah Gray will start Sunday’s finale after the right-hander threw his routine bullpen session today.

Continue reading

Game 135 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Joan Adon

After a successful 5-4 road trip, the Nationals have returned home to begin a nine-game homestand, starting with four games this weekend against the Marlins.

A team they have struggled to beat since the start of last season, the Nationals finally won a series against the Fish, taking two of three against their division rivals in Miami last weekend. While the Nats have been winning over the last two months (29-19 in their last 47 games), the Marlins have been falling down the standings by dipping below .500 for the first time since May with a loss to the Rays last night.

Joan Adon will get his second start against the Marlins in less than a week. He impressed Friday by completing six shutout innings with no walks and three hits while earning just his third major league win. The young right-hander will try to reverse his fortunes at home tonight: He has a 10.29 ERA over two starts at Nationals Park compared to a 2.25 ERA in his two road starts.

Braxton Garrett will also get his second chance at the Nationals in less than a week, as he was Adon’s opposition last week in Miami. The left-hander turned in a quality start with three runs over six innings, but that was enough to charge him with the loss. He tossed six innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts here back in June.

There was a pregame roster move to report: The Nationals placed MacKenzie Gore on the bereavement list and recalled Joe La Sorsa to the active roster. Gore was possibly in line to start Sunday if the Nats decided to give Josiah Gray extra rest after his bullpen session tomorrow. If not Gore nor Gray for Sunday, they could use a bullpen game instead, especially with rosters expanding to 28 players tomorrow.

Continue reading

Back where he caught it, Adams recalls Strasburg's last start

Stephen Strasburg last start

MIAMI – The Nationals just so happened to be heading back to Miami after the news broke. They were wrapping up their series against the Yankees in New York and about to board a flight to South Beach when it was reported that Stephen Strasburg was planning to retire.

Then ironically enough, the baseball gods had them at loanDepot Park the next, the site of what is now Strasburg’s last major league start.

And as Riley Adams prepared to take the field behind the plate against the Marlins, he recalled when he did the same thing on June 9, 2022, in this very ballpark to catch Strasburg.

“It was actually here that his start was,” Adams said. “So yeah, it's obviously a little bittersweet knowing that that was the last start. I've only known Stras for a little bit since I've been here. He certainly means a lot and hearing all the stories from the team in 2019 and the magical run, he played a huge part in that I think, too, growing up as a San Diego kid, you always knew Stras, you always knew how good he was. To see the career he's had, to see everything, it's really special. I kind of wish I wasn't the last guy to have caught him in a game. But I was happy at least I got to catch him in a start. But I certainly wish that wasn't the last one.”

Strasburg gave up seven runs on eight hits, a home run, two walks and a hit batter with five strikeouts over 4 ⅔ innings. The results of his 83 pitches, 53 strikes, wasn’t necessarily all that important. It was more the fact that, at the time, the often-injured ace seemed to come out of the game healthy.

Continue reading

Nats settle for series win after failing to sweep Marlins (updated)

williams pitching blue

MIAMI – A little over a month ago, the Nationals still had the longest streak without a three-game series sweep in major league history. Then, in a weekend series at home against the Giants, they finally pulled off their first sweep since June 14-16, 2021 against the Pirates.

They’ve repeated that feat twice more since, and entered today’s finale against the Marlins with a chance for their fourth sweep in a month after going more than two years without one.

Although they weren’t able to complete this one, suffering a 2-1 loss to the Marlins in front of 17,216 fans at loanDepot Park, the Nationals will still leave town with their eighth series win in their last 10 attempts.

"We had a couple of opportunities and we couldn't capitalize on them. So that's how it goes," said manager Davey Martinez after the game. "We're gonna come back tomorrow, we're playing well. Let's forget about this one, come back tomorrow and go 1-0 tomorrow.”

Trevor Williams turned in his second consecutive impressive start, giving the Nationals a strong chance at the sweep.

Continue reading

Ruiz gets one more day of rest, Young gets first start

ruiz swinging gray

MIAMI – For the fourth straight game and fifth in the Nationals’ last six, Riley Adams will start behind the plate in Sunday’s finale against the Marlins.

As they go for a sweep of their division rival, the Nats continue to monitor Keibert Ruiz’s health after he took a foul tip off his face mask Wednesday in New York. Adams replaced him to catch the eighth inning, so this is actually his sixth straight game getting behind the dish in some capacity.

Ruiz was scratched from Thursday’s lineup because he felt lightheaded. He felt fine enough to be the designated hitter Friday night in Miami, but hasn’t been in the lineup since. Manager Davey Martinez said yesterday Ruiz spent most of Saturday morning at the dentist and was given some more time to recover.

“After talking to the medical staff last night, we just wanted to give him another day today and make sure that he's totally good so he could come back and get ready to go,” Martinez said during his pregame media session Sunday. “Riley Adams has been playing well. We just want to give him another day and make sure he's well and rested and ready to go tomorrow.”

The Nationals expect Ruiz, who has been in the clubhouse all weekend in his normal upbeat mood, to play in Monday’s opener in Toronto. The catcher is taking some new medication, which should take full effect in his system by tomorrow’s game against the Blue Jays.

Continue reading

Game 131 lineups: Nats at Marlins

williams pitching blue

MIAMI – Remember that time earlier this year when the Nationals were searching for their first series sweep in over two years to break the longest major league streak without one?

Well, here they are now in search of their fourth series sweep since the All-Star break. Oh, and have we mentioned the fact that the Nats are only four games behind these Marlins in the National League East and only seven games back from a Wild Card spot?

Trevor Williams will lead the charge as he looks to follow up one of his best starts of the season. He pitched six shutout innings of two-hit ball against the Phillies in Sunday’s Little League Classic. He’s 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA and 1.548 WHIP in two starts against the Marlins this year, including giving up three runs with five strikeouts over six innings in a start here in May.

Right-hander JT Chargois will start a bullpen game for the Fish. He’s 1-0 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.154 WHIP in 32 appearances this year. After pitching a scoreless ninth inning Friday, he has four shutout outings against the Nats in his career.

Where: loanDepot Park
Gametime: 1:40 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Indoors

Continue reading

Thrust into action, Young paving way for Nats' younger outfielders


MIAMI – Jacob Young wasn’t in the minor leagues for too long before finally getting the call to the major leagues.

The 2021 seventh-round pick out of the University of Florida played 26 games at Single-A Fredericksburg the year he was drafted by the Nationals. He spent all of last year with the FredNats, slashing .262/.360/.331 with a .691 OPS, 118 runs, 52 stolen bases in 59 attempts and 152 total bases on his way to being named the Nationals’ 2022 Minor League Base Runner of the Year.

Young was one of two players in all of Minor League Baseball to steal at least 50 bases and score at least 100 runs in 2022. His 118 runs scored were tied for the most in all of the minor leagues, while his 52 stolen bases were the most among Nationals minor leaguers.

The 24-year-old started this season at High-A Wilmington, where he hit .307 and stole 22 bags in 56 games. That earned him a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg, where he hit .304 with an .805 OPS and 17 stolen bases in 52 games.

Even with top prospects James Wood and Robert Hassell III patrolling the Senators outfield with him, Young was still the standout prospect in Harrisburg.

Continue reading

Scrappy Nats rally for fifth straight series win (updated)

irvin pitching blue

MIAMI – The Nationals have been playing great ball lately. After last night’s 7-4 win over the Marlins – their first of the season against the Fish and first in Miami since last season – they were in line to win their fifth straight series this afternoon.

A sign of their good play recently is the amount of close games they’ve been in. Four of their last five wins have been by just a one-run margin. These Nats are as scrappy as ever after making it five of their last six.

The Nationals won another tight game in front of 13,966 fans at loanDepot Park, this time thanks to a ninth-inning rally for a 3-2 win.

“That was a good one," said manager Davey Martinez. "That's a well-played game."

The Nats tied it in the ninth after Lane Thomas hit a leadoff triple to right-center and Joey Meneses was hit by a pitch, with Jacob Young making his major league debut as a pinch-runner at first. But Dominic Smith’s hard-hit ball was fielded by Luis Arraez, who then threw out Thomas at home. An infield popout by Carter Kieboom put two outs on the board.

Continue reading

Nats select Young, option Downs and transfer Garrett


MIAMI – It seemed like only a matter of time before the Nationals made another roster move. After Stone Garrett’s injury and subsequent successful surgery on his fractured left fibula, the Nats had a shortage of true outfielders and a surplus of infielders, whose versatility allows them to play the outfield in a pinch.

So to add an outfielder to their roster, the Nats brought up one of their fastest-rising prospects: Jacob Young.

“We wanted to get another outfielder up here and Jacob has done really well,” said manager Davey Martinez before the Nats’ second game against the Marlins. “He's one of our young, up-and-coming prospects that has developed really well down there in the minor leagues for us. So we're gonna give him an opportunity to play. He just got here today, so gonna ease him in. But I'm looking forward to watching him play up here and utilize everything he can do because he can do a lot of different things. He could play all three outfield positions. He's a leadoff-type guy. He gets on base, steals bases for us. He's got a lot of speed. But we're gonna ease his way in and hopefully he does well. As good as he's done in the minor leagues, he comes up here and can give us a little bit of a spark again.”

No, Young is not as highly touted as Dylan Crews, James Wood, Robert Hassell III, Elijah Green or Cristhian Vaquero, as he is the Nats’ No. 30 prospect per MLB Pipeline. But the 24-year-old has been one of the best hitters in the Nationals system, allowing him to quickly rise through the ranks.

A 2021 seventh-round pick out of the University of Florida, Young has hit wherever he’s been on the Nats farm. He is hitting .305 on the year with 21 doubles, five triples, six home runs, 58 RBIs, 42 walks, 39 stolen bases and 60 runs scored in 112 games between three levels of Washington’s minor league system.

Continue reading

Game 130 lineups: Nats at Marlins

irvin pitching blue

MIAMI – The Nationals finally got the monkey that is the Marlins off their backs last night. The 7-4 victory was their first against the Fish this year, and first in Miami since last season.

Now they can focus on playing ball and winning a series.

Jake Irvin will look to make it three straight strong starts when he takes the hill this afternoon for the 20th outing of his rookie season. He’s allowed just two runs in 12 ⅔ innings over his last two starts against the Athletics and Phillies. At 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA and 1.397 WHIP on the year, the right-hander held the Marlins to one run in five innings during a home start on June 17.

Electric right-hander Eury Pérez makes his 15th start of his rookie season, where he has gone 5-4 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.074 WHIP. He pitched six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts his last time out against the Dodgers, and held the Nationals to one run over five innings with six strikeouts in his second career start in May.

Where: loanDepot Park
Gametime: 4:10 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Indoors

Continue reading

Revenge games for Adon and Garcia in Miami

adon celebrates blue

MIAMI – Last night’s 7-4 victory over the Marlins was a payback win for the Nationals. It was their first win over their National League East rivals this season in their seventh attempt. It was just their fifth win against the Fish and just their third at loanDepot Park since the start of last year. And it helped catapult them out of the division basement with a one-game lead over the Mets.

But it was also a revenge game for two Nationals pitchers, both of whom had past demons to conquer in Miami.

The first was Joan Adon, the 25-year-old right-hander making his fourth start since rejoining the Nats rotation at the beginning of the month.

Adon entered last night’s start with an 0-2 record, 10.57 ERA and 1.826 WHIP in two career starts against the Marlins, both coming in that very ballpark. Those numbers are inflated by the eight runs on seven hits and two walks he allowed in three innings during a June 7 start last year.

He was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after that rough outing and only made two more major league starts the rest of the 2022 season, both in emergency situations.

Continue reading

Nats finally beat Fish behind Adon's no-hit bid (updated)

Joan Adon

MIAMI – It has been 11 months to the day since the Nationals last won at loanDepot Park. It’s also been that long since the Nationals last beat the Marlins after starting this season 0-6 against their division rivals.

Those streaks came to an end tonight as the Nats finally beat the Fish 7-4 in front of 12,409 fans.

It has been 20 days since Joan Adon took a perfect game into the sixth inning against the Reds in Cincinnati, a two-out single breaking up the perfecto bid and leading to three runs against the young right-hander in an otherwise incredible return to the rotation.

After allowing eight runs in seven innings over his last two starts, Adon recaptured that Cincy magic in South Beach, this time by taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning.

“Man, his fastball was good," manager Davey Martinez said of Adon after the game. "His breaking ball was good. His changeup. His changeup was really, really good today and made all the other pitches that much better. He attacked the zone and when he does that, he's really effective. He pitched really well for us and we were able to get a win.”

Continue reading

Garrett has surgery, Ward stretching out as starter

ward pitches grey

MIAMI – Stone Garrett had his surgery to repair his fractured left fibula this afternoon, per manager Davey Martinez. The skipper didn’t have a full update on his outfielder’s condition before tonight’s opener against the Marlins but hopes to have one postgame.

“He had his surgery today. We have no update yet,” Martinez said during his pregame meeting with the media. “I should know more after the game today.”

Garrett was placed on the 10-day injured list yesterday after suffering the injury Wednesday in New York while trying to make a leaping catch of DJ LeMahieu’s seventh-inning homer to right field. He was helped to a cart to take him off the field with an air cast placed around his left leg. As the Nationals finished their series against the Yankees and made their way to Miami, Garrett made his way back to D.C. to meet lead team physician Robert Najarian and eventually have surgery.

“Nothing that I know,” Martinez responded when asked if Garrett’s MRI revealed any further damage to his leg. “Like I said, he had surgery today. So I don't know what happened after the surgery. I knew it was this afternoon. So we'll know more after recovery.”

Although Garrett’s diagnosis was devastating, it’s not all bad news on the Nats’ injury report.

Continue reading

Game 129 lineups: Nats at Marlins

adon pitches blue

MIAMI – Hello from outside downtown Miami, where the Nationals continue their inconvenient road trip up and down the North American East Coast. After starting north to Williamsport and New York, they headed to South Beach before going back north of the border to Toronto.

Rack up those miles.

The Nats have been playing great ball lately, winning nine of their last 12 games. But now they return to a place where they haven’t won a whole lot to face a team they have yet to beat this season. The Nats are 0-6 against the Marlins this year, including going 0-3 here in May. They are 4-21 against the Fish dating back to last year and are 2-10 at loanDepot Park since the beginning of last season.

Joan Adon will make his fourth start since rejoining the Nats rotation. He’s 1-0 with a 7.62 ERA and 1.154 WHIP over his last three. Amazingly though, the Nationals have won all three of those starts despite some rough performances over his last two. Adon is 0-2 with a 10.57 ERA and 1.826 WHIP in two career starts against the Marlins, both of which have come in Miami.

Left-hander Braxton Garrett starts for the home squad. He’s 7-4 with a 3.94 ERA and 1.172 in 25 games (24 starts) this season. The 26-year-old has been pitching well lately to the tune of a 2.57 ERA over his last five starts. Garrett gave up just one and four hits over six innings while striking out eight in a win over the Nats in D.C. back in June.

Continue reading