Ramos placed on bereavement list, Severino called up

Ramos placed on bereavement list, Severino called up
The Nationals have placed Wilson Ramos on the bereavement list following the death of his grandfather, Jesus Campos, leaving the club without its No. 1 catcher for at least the next three games. Ramos informed manager Dusty Baker of the news this morning and made plans to leave town. He is expected to rejoin the team early in its upcoming road trip. "I talked to him this morning; he was pretty shook up," Baker said. "He'll join us sometime over the weekend in St. Louis." Major League...
Continue reading

Game 19 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

Game 19 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies
This should be Joe Ross' turn in the Nationals rotation, but the club decided to be cautious with the young right-hander's blister and skip his turn (made possible by yesterday's off-day). So it'll be Max Scherzer, still on normal rest, taking the mound for tonight's series opener against the Phillies. Scherzer is coming off a ragged start in Miami in which he was tagged for five runs and eight hits in only five innings. Afterward, he described his problem as "not finishing my pitches,"...
Continue reading

Does the Nats' red-hot start this season foreshadow anything?

Does the Nats' red-hot start this season foreshadow anything?
As much as we've focused recently on some of the Nationals' most impressive individual performances so far this season, let's not forget about the bigger picture. This is a team sport, after all, so really nothing matters more than the team's record, no matter who is contributing to that and in what manner. The Nationals, as a team, have been fantastic to date in 2016. They enter tonight's series opener against the Phillies with a 14-4 record, matching the 2012 Nats for the best 18-game...
Continue reading

Expect greatness from Harper, but don't forget to appreciate it

Expect greatness from Harper, but don't forget to appreciate it
Bryce Harper has done some remarkable things so far this season, but here's perhaps the most remarkable thing he's done: He's been so good that we probably aren't fully appreciating just how good he's been. Think of it this way: Were you surprised at all when Harper stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth yesterday at Nationals Park as a pinch-hitter, his team trailing by a run, and proceeded to launch the game-tying homer to center field off a 3-2 fastball from Twins closer Kevin...
Continue reading

How Harper helped Heisey hit his first career walk-off homer

How Harper helped Heisey hit his first career walk-off homer
He had done it at Triple-A late last summer. And he had done it in Viera, Fla., earlier this spring. So maybe it was only a matter of time before Chris Heisey hit his first career walk-off homer in a major league game. "I'm kind of knocking them all out here in a short period of time," he said with a laugh. "It was definitely nice to finally hit one in the big leagues." Even nicer to do it in the bottom of the 16th inning of the craziest game just about everyone in a Nationals uniform...
Continue reading

How the Nats won "the craziest" game they'd ever seen

How the Nats won "the craziest" game they'd ever seen
Dusty Baker had played, coached or managed in precisely 4,405 major league games before what figured to be a run-of-the-mill series finale between the Nationals and Twins. Chris Speier has been involved in some capacity since 1971, with a few breaks scattered in there. Davey Lopes is 70 and hasn't missed a season since he was a rookie with the Dodgers during the Nixon administration. Ask any of them where today's 16-inning marathon, with all of its twists and turns and drama that ultimately...
Continue reading

First-inning success continues even without Harper (Nats win in 16)

First-inning success continues even without Harper (Nats win in 16)
No Bryce Harper? No problem for the Nationals, who continue to produce in the first inning even without their MVP slugger. Matt den Dekker, subbing in right field to give Harper his first day off this season, opened the bottom of the first this afternoon with a homer into the right field bullpen, giving the Nationals a quick lead on the Twins. den Dekker, who hammered a 3-1 fastball from rookie right-hander Tyler Duffey, became merely the latest member of the Nationals lineup to make a dent...
Continue reading

Why Harper sits today and why Scherzer starts Tuesday (updated)

Why Harper sits today and why Scherzer starts Tuesday (updated)
Bryce Harper is out of the Nationals lineup today for the first time this season, but don't start worrying about the MVP's health or any other ulterior motive for his absence. Manager Dusty Baker planned all along to sit Harper for his team's series finale against the Twins. Harper did appear to slightly tweak his ankle Saturday chasing down a foul ball in right field, but he played the rest of the game and showed no ill effects. Regardless, Baker had previously offered hints he planned to...
Continue reading

Game 18 lineups: Nats vs. Twins

Game 18 lineups: Nats vs. Twins
It's an absolutely gorgeous Sunday here in the District, where the Nationals wrap up their interleague series with the Twins, seeking the weekend sweep and a 14-4 record that would match the 2012 Nats for the best 18-game start in franchise history. Obviously, there's a very long way to go (and much tougher competition to face) but things worked out pretty well after that previous 14-4 start (at least, until October). Stephen Strasburg will be the guy on the mound for this one, looking to...
Continue reading

Friday morning Q&A from D.C.

Friday morning Q&A from D.C.
The Nationals are back home from a 4-3 road trip that very easily could have been better than that. Remember, they lost Sunday's finale in Philadelphia on Jonathan Papelbon's blown save, then they lost what looked like a favorable matchup yesterday (Max Scherzer vs. Tom Koehler) in Miami. That said, the Nats still return home with an 11-4 record, comfortably in first place in the NL East as the Twins come to town for a weekend interleague series. There are far worse positions to be in on...
Continue reading

Scherzer out of sync on "flat" day for Nationals

Scherzer out of sync on "flat" day for Nationals
MIAMI - Max Scherzer returned to the dugout after the second inning this afternoon, four runs already having crossed the plate against him, said a few words to Mike Maddux and then headed down the tunnel toward the clubhouse with his pitching coach for a few minutes, trying to figure out what exactly was going wrong in this game against the Marlins. When Scherzer returned for the third inning, he did look like a different pitcher. He retired six straight batters on a total of 21 pitches and, if...
Continue reading

Nats fall to Marlins 5-1 to split series

Nats fall to Marlins 5-1 to split series
MIAMI - When Bryce Harper launched his latest in a torrid string of home runs in the top of the first inning this afternoon, the Nationals had every reason to be optimistic about the early tone of their series finale against the Marlins. But when Max Scherzer took the mound for the bottom of the first and promptly served up a towering, three-run shot to Marcell Ozuna, the entire complexion of this game changed in a hurry. And it never tilted back in the Nationals' favor. Behind that...
Continue reading

Harper homers again, but Scherzer labors (Nats lose 5-1)

Harper homers again, but Scherzer labors (Nats lose 5-1)
MIAMI - Bryce Harper took Tom Koehler deep yet again. Unfortunately for the Nationals, somebody took Max Scherzer deep yet again, too, leaving them in an early hole and leaving Scherzer in a heap of trouble. Harper blasted a solo home run off Koehler in the top of the first inning of this afternoon's series finale at Marlins Park, sending the first pitch he saw over the recently shortened fence in center field. It was Harper's eighth homer of the season, temporarily leaving him tied with...
Continue reading

Werth sits, Taylor drops to seventh, Ross could miss start

Werth sits, Taylor drops to seventh, Ross could miss start
MIAMI - Jayson Werth is out of the lineup for the Nationals' series finale against the Marlins, though that was planned before the veteran left fielder felt tightness in his left hamstring and had to depart last night's game in the fifth inning. Both Werth and manager Dusty Baker continue to downplay the injury as minor and don't expect him to miss any significant time. "I think it was more precautionary than anything," Baker said this morning. "I didn't see it on the (daily injury)...
Continue reading

Game 15 lineups: Nats at Marlins

Game 15 lineups: Nats at Marlins
MIAMI - Hello one last time from Marlins Park, where the roof actually is open as I type this. (Don't worry, it'll be closed up in time for first pitch at 1:10 p.m. Wouldn't want to play a ballgame in, you know, sunlight, would you?) The Nationals and Marlins wrap up their four-game series, with the Nats looking to win three out of four and improve to a major league-best 12-3. They'll have Max Scherzer on the mound, looking to improve to 3-0 in his first start of the season against Miami....
Continue reading

More on Papelbon, Harper, Taylor and Werth

More on Papelbon, Harper, Taylor and Werth
MIAMI - Some leftover thoughts and observations to bridge the gap between last night's 3-1 victory and this afternoon's series finale at Marlins Park ... * Yusmeiro Petit got most of the attention last night, and deservedly so for his four innings of relief after Joe Ross departed with a blister on his middle finger. But let's not overlook the rest of the Nationals bullpen, which finished what Petit started. Oliver Perez retired the side in the seventh, striking out Giancarlo Stanton with a...
Continue reading

After Ross' early departure, Petit saves Nationals bullpen

After Ross' early departure, Petit saves Nationals bullpen
MIAMI - It's a thankless job, one that rarely places a guy in position to be the star of a ballgame. Yusmeiro Petit has made a good living out of long relief, though, and nobody takes more pride in doing that job well than the 31-year-old right-hander. So when he does get the rare opportunity to make a difference like he did tonight during the Nationals' 3-1 victory over the Marlins, tossing four innings of one-run ball after starter Joe Ross departed with a blister, Petit deserves all the...
Continue reading

Jayson Werth departs game with tight hamstring

Jayson Werth departs game with tight hamstring
MIAMI - Jayson Werth departed tonight's game at Marlins Park in the fifth inning with left hamstring tightness, an injury both the veteran left fielder and his manager downplayed as minor. "I'm fine," Werth said as he walked out of the Nationals clubhouse following a 3-1 victory over Miami. "I'll be fine." Neither Werth nor manager Dusty Baker specified how exactly the injury occurred, but Werth did cover a good amount of ground while tracking down two tough fly balls early in the game....
Continue reading

Nationals grind out workmanlike 3-1 win over Marlins

Nationals grind out workmanlike 3-1 win over Marlins
MIAMI - They lost their starting pitcher after two innings, then their starting left fielder after four innings. No matter, the Nationals still went about their business and beat the Marlins 3-1 tonight, thanks to some early clutch hits and some impressive relief work. Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper each delivered two-out RBI doubles to stake Joe Ross to an early lead, but the right-hander had to depart after that due to a blister on his right middle finger. Three innings later, Jayson Werth...
Continue reading

Ross departs after two innings with blister (Werth out, too)

Ross departs after two innings with blister (Werth out, too)
MIAMI - Joe Ross departed his start tonight against the Marlins after two scoreless innings after a blister developed on his right middle finger, the Nationals announced. Ross showed no obvious ill effects of the blister during his abbreviated, 33-pitch outing. He allowed one hit, one walk and hit one batter, but never let a Miami runner reach second base. Ross was allowed to hit for himself in the top of the third inning and wound up drawing a walk, then scoring on Bryce Harper's two-out...
Continue reading