Game 118 lineups: Nats vs. Cubs

Patrick Corbin throw white back

The Nationals had won the opener of only one of their last 12 series entering this one. And the single outlier, believe it or not, was against the Dodgers last month. That’s also the only series the Nats have gone on to win during this stretch. So perhaps Monday night’s victory over the Cubs portends even more to come before this series wraps up Wednesday afternoon.

Josiah Gray, CJ Abrams and Nelson Cruz were the story of Monday’s 5-4 win. The story going into tonight’s game is Patrick Corbin, who returns to make his first start since failing to get out of the first inning 10 days ago in Philadelphia, a disastrous outing that came only 10 days after he also failed to get out of the first inning in Los Angeles.

The Nationals are hoping this little break (which included two bullpen sessions to work on several things) will do Corbin some good. It better, because if he lays another egg tonight against the Cubs … well, who knows what the club’s next move would be?

Justin Steele makes his second straight start against the Nats tonight. The left-hander held them to two runs over six innings Wednesday at Wrigley Field, allowing an RBI double to César Hernndez and a solo homer to Joey Meneses.

CHICAGO CUBS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where:
Nationals Park

Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 78 degrees, wind 8 mph in from right field

Continue reading

Kids impress, but veteran Cruz steals show in Nats win (updated)

cruz white homer

The night was supposed to belong to the kids. To CJ Abrams, the 21-year-old shortstop making his Nationals debut. To Josiah Gray, the 24-year-old right-hander who was given an opportunity by his manager to pitch his own way out of a jam at the end of his start.

And then 42-year-old Nelson Cruz decided to remind these young whippersnappers he’s still the most accomplished player on the roster.

With a pair of clutch hits – a two-run double in the fifth, then a solo homer in the eighth – Cruz lifted the Nationals to a 5-4 victory over the Cubs, stealing the show from his far less experienced teammates.

"He could be my son," Cruz said of Abrams, almost in disbelief at the thought. "It's nice to see those guys playing for their careers. I was in their shoes once, and I know what every game means, every at-bat. It is beautiful."

The eighth-inning blast, a 396-foot shot to left-center off Chicago reliever Brandon Hughes, was Cruz’s first home run since June 25 at Texas, an extraordinarily long drought for a guy who has launched 458 of them during a career that began in 2005 (the same year the Nats debuted in D.C.).

Continue reading

Game 117 lineups: Nats vs. Cubs

josiah gray red

At this point, all you can ask as a Nationals fan is to see as many young potential building blocks as possible on the field at the same time. So that makes tonight’s series opener against the Cubs potentially a good night for everyone. That’s because Josiah Gray is on the mound. Keibert Ruiz is behind the plate. And CJ Abrams is starting at shortstop.

The Nats officially called up Abrams today, placing Luis García on the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain. The 21-year-old becomes the first of the five prospects acquired from the Padres in the Juan Soto-Josh Bell trade to play here in D.C., and expectations will be high for him to show us a glimpse of his potential game tonight.

It’s also a big start for Gray, who faces the Cubs for the second start in a row. The young right-hander had success at Wrigley Field throwing fastballs down in the zone more than he typically does, even though he still surrendered one home run in the seventh inning after six scoreless frames. Can he take that same approach and enjoy success again, or does he need to change anything up?

CHICAGO CUBS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where:
Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Cloudy, 72 degrees, wind 5 mph in from right field

NATIONALS
2B César Hernández
RF Joey Meneses
1B Luke Voit
LF Yadiel Hernandez
DH Nelson Cruz
C Keibert Ruiz
SS CJ Abrams
CF Lane Thomas
3B Ildemaro Vargas

Continue reading

Abrams will get first crack to prove trade was worth it

C.J.-Abrams-Rochester-at-bat-black

The final 46 games of a miserable season need to mean something to the Nationals. It’s far too late for the outcomes of these games to mean much of anything, but there’s still an opportunity to use what remains of the 2022 campaign on setting the stage for what’s to come in 2023 and beyond.

And the best way the Nats can do that is by getting a good look at any potential long-term pieces to the puzzle who are ready to play in the big leagues. Which makes tonight’s series opener against the Cubs as significant a game as they’ve played all summer.

With CJ Abrams set to be promoted from Triple-A Rochester and make his debut at shortstop, the first of five prospects the organization acquired from the Padres in this month’s Juan Soto-Josh Bell trade will be in uniform and in action on South Capitol Street.

Abrams is probably going to be the only one to play for the Nats for a little while longer. MacKenzie Gore, who was on the injured list with left elbow inflammation at the time of the trade, has begun throwing again but remains weeks away from pitching in a game. The three other prospects (Robert Hassell III, James Wood, Jarlin Susana) are still years away from making their major league debuts.

So that puts some significant pressure on Abrams, who is merely going to be asked to prove the trade was worthwhile via only his own performance on the field.

Continue reading

Depleted Nats lineup shut out, plan to promote Abrams (updated)

GettyImages-1414817449

Davey Martinez has written out more than his share of cobbled-together lineups this season, whether due to injuries, poor performances or (more recently) trades. The card the Nationals manager submitted for today’s series finale – a 6-0 loss to the Padres – brought his team’s current state of affairs into focus in a manner no previous one could.

Leading off was Alex Call, a 27-year-old left fielder claimed off waivers from the Guardians one week ago and called up from Triple-A Rochester this morning, having taken a 6:40 a.m. flight to Reagan National and come straight to the ballpark to take his team’s first at-bat of the game.

Batting second was Joey Meneses, the 30-year-old rookie sensation who entered with five homers in nine career games. Batting third was Luke Voit, the lone veteran with any track record, also in his first two weeks with the club after his acquisition from the Padres in the Juan Soto-Josh Bell blockbuster.

Lane Thomas, owner of a .673 OPS, was batting cleanup. César Hernández, owner of zero home runs in 489 plate appearances, was batting fifth. Maikel Franco, Tres Barrera, Ildemaro Vargas and Victor Robles rounded out the makeshift batting order, asked to score enough runs to beat Padres left-hander Blake Snell.

Few could have been surprised by the outcome.

Continue reading

Nats promote Call from Rochester, option Palacios

call guardians

The Nationals called up another recent addition to the organization this morning, promoting Alex Call from Triple-A Rochester and throwing him right into the lineup as their leadoff hitter and starting left fielder for their series finale against the Padres.

Fellow outfielder Josh Palacios was optioned back to Rochester to clear a roster spot.

Call, 27, has only been in the Nationals organization one week. After making his major league debut for the Guardians last month, he was sent down to Triple-A Columbus, then designated for assignment. The Nats swooped in and claimed him off waivers, assigning him to Rochester, where he didn’t stay long.

In five games with the Red Wings, Call went 8-for-18 with two doubles, two homers, six RBIs, two walks and three stolen bases. The next thing he knew, he was on a 6:40 a.m. flight from Rochester to Reagan National Airport and came straight to Nationals Park for today’s 12:05 p.m. game.

“Honestly, anytime you’re in the big leagues, it’s pretty special,” he said. “I just think about all the work that’s gone in, all the people that have helped me get here. Ultimately, I’m just trying to stick with my routines and help this team win.”

Continue reading

Game 116 lineups: Nats vs. Padres

meneses debut hr white

The Nationals have played two really long games the last two nights against the Padres. Now they’ve got a quick turnaround to this afternoon’s series finale. And it’s barely an afternoon game, with a 12:05 p.m. start thanks to the good folks at Peacock who are televising the contest.

After an emotionally uplifting victory Saturday night, the Nats will once again try to win the rubber game of a series, something they’ve struggled to do all season. They’ll need to keep it going offensively, this time against left-hander Blake Snell, who will try to keep Joey Meneses in the yard. (Which, as we’ve seen, is proving far more difficult than anyone could’ve ever imagined.)

There's a new name in the lineup: Alex Call. The 27-year-old outfielder was called up from Triple-A Rochester, where he had only been for five games after getting claimed off waivers from the Guardians. And the Nats are wasting no time throwing him into the fire: Call is leading off and starting in left field. (Josh Palacios was optioned to Rochester to make room on the roster.)

Paolo Espino gets the start for the Nationals, who used up four key relievers (Steve Cishek, Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey, Carl Edwards Jr.) to pull off Saturday’s win. Davey Martinez might need to push Espino to go a bit deeper than he normally would in an attempt to save some bullpen arms.

SAN DIEGO PADRES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where:
Nationals Park

Gametime: 12:05 p.m. EDT
TV: Peacock, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees, wind 9 mph out to left field

Continue reading

Robles' clutch hit, controversial call, give Nats a win (updated)

cesar hernandez slide gray

The throw from Juan Soto was perfect, probably the best he’s made all year, no matter which uniform he was wearing. The catch and tag by Austin Nola was on point as well, nabbing a late-sliding César Hernández, whose front foot crossed above the plate without touching it. And as Paul Emmel made the out signal, the crowd of 33,661 at Nationals Park groaned in agony, believing their former favorite player had just prevented his old team from taking a lead in the bottom of the seventh.

Davey Martinez, though, immediately yelled out to Emmel from the first base dugout. He wanted the play reviewed, not to see if Hernández had slid under the tag, but to see if Nola had violated Major League Baseball’s controversial rule preventing catchers from blocking the plate before they’re in possession of the ball.

"I always get up to the top (step of the dugout) to look," Martinez said. "And right away, I told (bench coach Tim Bogar): Check that, because I think he blocked the plate for sure."

And after an agonizing wait, Martinez and the Nationals caught a rare break. Officials in New York deemed Nola had indeed impeded Hernández’s path to the plate, so the run counted and the Nats had themselves a 4-3 lead they would hold onto en route to a wild victory over the Padres.

That victory also included dramatic, back-to-back homers by Yadiel Hernandez and Joey Meneses in the bottom of the sixth, plus the 2,000th hit of Nelson Cruz’s career. (He’s the first player ever to reach that milestone while wearing a Nationals uniform.)

Continue reading

García day-to-day with groin strain, Cruz returns from dizzy spell

nelson cruz white

Though he’s not in tonight’s lineup, Luis García said he’s fine after suffering a minor groin strain during Friday night’s game against the Padres.

The young Nationals shortstop had an MRI this morning to determine the extent of the injury, which he suffered while running out a groundball in the sixth inning of a 10-5 loss. Manager Davey Martinez referred to the ailment as “a little bit of a strain in his left groin,” and said García will be day-to-day until it heals.

“I want him to get treatment today,” Martinez said. “Hopefully later on he’s available to pinch-hit. We’ll see how it goes.”

The groin injury came only two days after Garcia had to leave a game in Chicago with a sore knee, creating at least some concern about the state of the 22-year-old’s legs, and raising the question of whether the organization might be on the verge of promoting recently acquired shortstop C.J. Abrams.

Had García gone on the injured list, it’s possible the Nationals would’ve replaced him on the roster with Abrams, one of the key prospects they got last week from San Diego for Juan Soto and Josh Bell. The 21-year-old shortstop entered the day batting .296 (8-for-27) with two doubles, two RBIs, four stolen bases and a .725 OPS in seven games for Triple-A Rochester.

Continue reading

Game 115 lineups: Nats vs. Padres

anibal sanchez pitches red

The hubbub of Friday night should have dissipated now, so tonight’s game between the Nationals and Padres should feel a bit more normal. That is, as normal as it could feel with Juan Soto and Josh Bell playing for the opposition. Both former Nats should continue to receive nice ovations when they step to the plate tonight, but I wouldn’t expect nearly as much emotion or any formal acknowledgment of them in this one.

The Nationals were beaten around by San Diego’s lineup in the series opener, and that’s even with Soto and Bell playing only a minimal role in the proceedings. That’s an awfully tough lineup to contend with, and so the challenge tonight for Aníbal Sánchez is significant. The 38-year-old right-hander is still seeking his first win (or even his first no-decision) in his sixth big league start of the season. He was better in his last outing at the Cubs earlier this week, but he was done in by a pair of third-inning home runs, which continues to be his primary issue.

The Nats lineup faces a significant challenge itself in Padres starter Yu Darvish, who over his last 11 starts is 6-2 with a 2.68 ERA and 0.919 WHIP. It’s only the third time the veteran right-hander has ever faced Washington; he dominated here in D.C. way back in 2014 with the Rangers but was hit hard last summer at Petco Park in a game that became better known as the one when Max Scherzer gave up a grand slam to a relief pitcher.

SAN DIEGO PADRES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where:
Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 78 degrees, wind 5 mph out to left field

NATIONALS
CF Victor Robles
1B Luke Voit
DH Nelson Cruz
LF Yadiel Hernandez
RF Joey Meneses
C Keibert Ruiz
2B César Hernández
3B Maikel Franco
SS Ildemaro Vargas

Continue reading

Nats salute Soto and Bell, then get trounced by Padres (updated)

soto padres hi five

First came the video tribute, with plenty of highlights of Juan Soto and Josh Bell in Nationals uniforms, plus a taped message from Soto himself to D.C. fans, prompting a big round of applause. Then came the announcement of the Padres’ starting lineup, featuring Soto batting second and Bell batting fourth, each of them receiving more applause.

Then came the top of the first, with Soto stepping to the plate to a standing ovation, taking off his helmet and saluting the crowd. Two batters later, Bell got the same treatment and responded in kind.

It all made for a heartfelt reunion of former players returning to South Capitol Street, even if they were traded away only 10 days ago. And then ultimately yet another frustrating night of baseball for the Nationals and their fans, who watched as Soto, Bell and the Padres beat them 10-5 in a game that only looked somewhat close because of a bottom-of-the-ninth rally.

"You never realize it until you're there," Soto said of the emotions he felt throughout the game. "When I stepped to the plate and saw all my teammates and everybody's clapping, it was a pretty cool moment."

Emotional as they both were to leave the Nats at the trade deadline, the two sluggers were equally excited to join a San Diego club in the thick of a pennant race. Soto went so far as to verbalize that before the game, saying: “When you’re on a winning team, the level of your game just goes higher and higher.”

Continue reading

Soto, Bell ready for emotional return to Nationals Park

juan soto josh padres

Juan Soto was here in April 2019 when Bryce Harper returned to Nationals Park for the first time as a Phillie. He was here this April when Max Scherzer returned to Nationals Park for the first time as a Met. He was here this May when Trea Turner returned to Nationals Park for the first time as a Dodger.

It was strange seeing former teammates, superstars who made their names here in D.C. and in some cases won their first championships with him, come back wearing different uniforms, eliciting different reactions from fans that loved them when they played here and now had to get used to the idea of them playing for someone else.

Could Soto have imagined he’d find himself in that exact position so soon, as he will be tonight when the 23-year-old star takes the field on South Capitol Street not as a member of the Nationals but instead the Padres?

“At that moment, I never think about it,” he said today before a throng of reporters packed into the visitors’ dugout prior to batting practice. “As soon as I get traded, I really think about it, and how cool the fans were with them and how much they enjoyed it. And I’m just going to try to do the same thing.”

The scene tonight should be overwhelmingly positive, with Nationals fans showering Soto – and former and current teammate Josh Bell – with love in his return. That will help make it a little easier for them. But that doesn’t mean it will feel normal, not while the emotions are still so fresh from a trade that happened only 10 days ago.

Continue reading

"Weird" scene awaits as Soto, Bell come to D.C. as Padres

soto-and-bell-celebrate--PIT-red

On the afternoon of Aug. 2, only hours after the Nationals had finalized a deal to send Juan Soto and Josh Bell to San Diego for six players, Davey Martinez was informed the Padres were scheduled to come to D.C. in a mere 10 days.

“Thanks,” the manager said in a wry, sarcastic tone as he contemplated what that would entail. “We gotta to get him out. We’ve got 10 days to think about that.”

Martinez had far more pressing matters to contend with over the last week and a half, namely how to put together a lineup capable of giving his worst-in-baseball club at least a chance of winning some games. The Nats have gone 2-7 since the trade deadline, underscoring just how daunting that challenge has been.

And now comes maybe the most difficult challenge yet: Facing Soto and Bell so soon after trading them. The three-game series that begins tonight at Nationals Park will be filled with emotion, not all of it positive as the scars of that franchise-altering transaction still burn.

It was an odd fate of scheduling that created this scenario. The Padres come to Washington only once per season. That trip just so happened to come right now. On top of that, the Nats make their lone trip of the year to San Diego next week, cramming their only seven head-to-head games into a 10-day window.

Continue reading

Nats now putting all their faith in restocked farm system

GettyImages-1183477609

Jump back in time all of one month and make a mental list of the Nationals’ top prospects.

You’d start with Cade Cavalli, include Brady House and then try to come up with the names of other kids who may or may not develop into major leaguers some day in the short or long term.

Now consider what that list looks like in the wake of a dramatic (and, yes, controversial) overhaul of the organization that culminated with last week’s trade of Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres.

Cavalli and House remain on the list, but not in the top two spots. Those now belong to the likes of C.J. Abrams and Robert Hassell III, two of the six players acquired from San Diego in the blockbuster deal. Right behind them are Elijah Green and Cristhian Vaquero, teenage sensations who were the organization’s top amateur draft and international signing additions of 2022. Also include James Wood and Jarlin Susana, two more younger prospects who came over in the trade with the Padres. And then don’t forget to keep Cavalli and House, the 2020 and 2021 first-round picks, in the mix as well.

What you now see is a farm system that no longer is dependent on the rise of one or two blue-chip prospects, but has enough depth to account for the inevitable injuries and/or struggles that are bound to occur when trying to turn players right out of high school and college into big league stars.

Continue reading

Robles' latest blunder looms large in loss to Cubs (updated)

josiah gray cubs

CHICAGO – The point has been made, repeatedly, since the day Victor Robles first arrived in the big leagues nearly five years ago. Multiple Nationals managers and countless other coaches have pleaded with the talented-but-reckless outfielder not to attempt to make a throw that has little chance of success.

Five years later, Robles still does it. And on a cloudless August afternoon at Wrigley Field, he played a significant role in costing his team a ballgame.

There were other reasons the Nationals dropped their series finale to the Cubs, 4-2, given that all four runs scored in the bottom of the seventh off Josiah Gray, Steve Cishek and Víctor Arano. But Robles’ inexplicable throw from center field to the backstop arguably had more impact than anything else.

"As we all know, he can be electric out there," manager Davey Martinez said of the 25-year-old. "But once again, it's those little things. Understanding the game, and being in a position where in a situation like that, he knows what he needs to do before it happens. That's the biggest thing: Think before the ball's hit to you, and understand what you need to do if the ball's hit to you."

The situation: With the Nats leading by a run and one out in the inning, runners on first and second, Nick Madrigal singled up the middle. The lead runner, Patrick Wisdom, scored easily from second, but that didn’t stop Robles from unleashing a throw all the way to the bricks behind the plate. Which, in turn, allowed trailing runner P.J. Higgins to advance to third and Madrigal to advance to second.

Continue reading

Cruz sitting, Fedde progressing, Clippard close to returning

nelson cruz gray

CHICAGO – Nelson Cruz is out of the Nationals lineup for today’s series finale against the Cubs, less than 24 hours after the veteran designated hitter had to come out of a game with a sore right shoulder.

Cruz took only two at-bats during Tuesday night’s 6-5 win over the Cubs, flying out to left in the top of the first and then striking out in the top of the fourth. As he watched those at-bats, manager Davey Martinez noticed the 42-year-old didn’t look comfortable swinging, so when his turn to bat came up again in the fifth, Maikel Franco pinch-hit for him.

Martinez described the soreness as emanating from the back of Cruz’s shoulder. He figured all along he’d sit Cruz for this afternoon’s series finale, though he got encouraging news this morning to suggest he could be able to pinch-hit at some point during the game.

“Especially with the quick turnaround,” Martinez said of the decision not to start Cruz today. “We played last night, and he had to come out of the game. I thought regardless of how he felt, maybe to give him a day (off) today would be good. I talked to him this morning and he said: ‘Let me get loose, let me get ready and I’ll be available to pinch-hit later.’ ”

Cruz had been hitting the ball a bit better of late, going 8-for-29 with two RBIs and three walks during an eight-game stretch prior to Tuesday. He continues not to hit for power, though, having produced a scant .225 slugging percentage over his last 31 games, with three doubles and zero homers since June 25.

Continue reading

Game 113 lineups: Nats at Cubs (García scratched)

robles thomas meneses

CHICAGO – It’s another beautiful day at the Friendly Confines, where the Nationals woke up feeling good about themselves following a dramatic, 6-5 win over the Cubs on Tuesday night. Now they’ve got a shot at a series victory and some positive vibes before they head home to face Juan Soto, Josh Bell and the Padres this weekend. (And yeah, that’s not going to sound right for a long time.)

Davey Martinez’s lineup is kind of piecemeal because Nelson Cruz remains out with a sore right shoulder and Keibert Ruiz (who was fantastic Tuesday night) gets the day game off. So it’s Lane Thomas leading off, with rookie sensation Joey Meneses batting cleanup and a less-than-fearsome power duo of César Hernández and Victor Robles batting sixth and seventh, respectively.

Suffice it to say, the Nationals need a decent start out of Josiah Gray. The right-hander has been in a rut, going 1-4 with a 7.63 ERA over his last six starts, having served up a whopping 13 home runs during that time. The good news: The wind still isn’t blowing out at Wrigley Field, though it is the warmest day we’ve had this week, so Gray does need to keep the ball down and keep it in the yard.

UPDATE: Luis García was a late scratch for unspecified reasons. César Hernández will now bat second, with Ildemaro Vargas shifting to shortstop and Maikel Franco taking over at third base.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CHICAGO CUBS
Where:
Wrigley Field
Gametime: 2:20 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees, wind 5 mph in from right field

Continue reading

Ruiz finally shows off power stroke with big night

Keibert-Ruiz-swing-gray

CHICAGO – Ask the Nationals coaching staff about Keibert Ruiz’s offensive skills, and they’ll immediately rave about his bat-to-ball skills, his ability to make contact anywhere in the strike zone and frequently out of the strike zone.

But they’ll also point out that Ruiz sometimes is too good at getting the bat on the ball for his own good. Sometimes he’ll be so focused on just making contact, he’ll forget that it’s OK to swing for the fences from time to time, as well. If the pitch is in the right spot, particularly on the inner half of the plate, Ruiz has the ability to turn on it and hit it a long way.

Which made the young catcher’s performance during Tuesday night’s 6-5 victory over the Cubs so encouraging to those who have been watching him all season and waiting for something like this. In each of his first two at-bats, Ruiz turned on an inside pitch and wound up homering to right field.

“Tonight, it paid off,” manager Davey Martinez said. “He hit two balls that were in, where he’s struggled getting to, and he smoked them. It was a good sign of things to come.”

Through his first 326 plate appearances this season, Ruiz hit only three home runs. His 18 doubles helped allow him to remain productive, but the Nationals knew there was more power in his swing. It was a matter of recognizing which pitches he can try to drive to right field, and which ones to be content to simply hit the other way for singles and doubles.

Continue reading

Late heroics propel Nats to streak-ending win (updated)

ruiz trots home gray

CHICAGO – Even in this most miserable week of a most miserable summer of a most miserable baseball season, there can be individual ballgames that feature enough back-and-forth drama to remind you why you love this silly game in the first place.

There was nothing of consequence at stake tonight when the Nationals and Cubs met in the middle game of their three-game series. But try telling any of the 37,193 who packed themselves into Wrigley Field on a spectacular, 68-degree summer evening, or anyone wearing either team’s uniform, that this meant nothing.

No, this game between fellow last-place clubs turned into a real barnburner, the Nats taking an early lead, then giving it back, then taking it back before finally hanging on for a well-earned, 6-5 victory to snap a six-game losing streak.

"That's what we need," said Carl Edwards Jr., the former Cub who wound up closing tonight's game with a four-out save. "We need that to show we can come back fighting and close out a game like this, where we had a home run to put us over the edge. Going on the rest of the year, I think this will be a highlight. I think this might start something."

There were several heroes, but the biggest one was a guy who wasn’t even here a week ago. Joey Meneses, the 30-year-old career minor leaguer who finally got his first promotion seven days ago after the Nationals traded Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres, launched his third big league homer, a two-run shot to left in the top of the eighth to flip the Cubs’ one-run lead into a one-run lead for the Nationals.

Continue reading

Nats to skip Corbin's next start, claim McGee off waivers

corbin sad blue

CHICAGO – The Nationals will skip over Patrick Corbin’s next turn through the rotation but do plan to continue starting the struggling left-hander once he has a chance to work on a few things over the weekend.

Manager Davey Martinez said the club will use the off-day between this road series against the Cubs and the upcoming home series against the Padres to bypass Corbin’s turn in the rotation. He would then return to start Tuesday against the Cubs in D.C.

“For me, it is a tough decision, because he’s very competitive,” Martinez said. “And he takes the ball every five days. He’s trying to sort some things out, and some days he looks really, really good. And the last few outings, he couldn’t get out of the first inning.”

Three consecutive seasons of declining performance reached a low point Saturday in Philadelphia, when Corbin failed to record three outs for the second time in three starts. He currently owns a 4-16 record and 7.02 ERA, both the loss total and ERA figure worst in the majors.

Since earning Cy Young Award votes and helping the Nationals win the World Series in the first year of his six-year, $140 million contract, the lefty has gone 15-39 with a 5.98 ERA and 1.599 WHIP, making him statistically the worst starting pitcher in the big leagues over a three-year span.

Continue reading