After 0-for-13 opening slump, Werth delivers game-winning hit

After 0-for-13 opening slump, Werth delivers game-winning hit
The giant scoreboard in right-center showed it for all the world to see, but Jayson Werth didn't need it spelled out in print. As he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh this afternoon, the bases loaded with teammates, Werth knew his batting average contained nothing but zeroes. "I'm aware," the veteran outfielder said with a smirk an hour later in the Nationals clubhouse. The Marlins were aware, too, which is why they didn't hesitate to intentionally walk Daniel Murphy in...
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Early scoring chances missed (Nats win 4-2)

Early scoring chances missed (Nats win 4-2)
The Nationals are giving themselves plenty of chances to score runs. They just aren't converting on many of those chances so far. Despite racking up five hits and two walks off Tom Koehler through the first three innings of today's game, the Nats have scored just once, picking up on a theme they established during Thursday's home-opener loss to the Marlins. The saving grace: Miami missed an early opportunity to bust the game open as well. Giancarlo Stanton's one-out single through the left...
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Haphazard schedule throws wrench into Baker's plans

Haphazard schedule throws wrench into Baker's plans
The baseball schedule is a funny thing. The Nationals barely have been playing because of scheduled off-days and unscheduled rainouts, having taken the field only 12 times in the last 21 days. Now, though, they're looking at a grueling stretch in which they're scheduled to play 35 games in 36 days. With that in mind, manager Dusty Baker is trying to make plans to give many of his regulars a day off at some point in the next week. It begins today, with Ryan Zimmerman not in the lineup for the...
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Game 4 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Game 4 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins
If it feels like it has been a while since the Nationals last played a ballgame, it has been. They had Friday off. Then yesterday's game got rained/snowed/colded out. So it's been nearly 72 hours since their last game, which in baseball terms is an eternity. In fact, the Nats have only played a ballgame in 12 of the last 21 days, thanks to rainouts and off-days. That's pretty unusual. The good news: The sun is out today and they'll be able to play. The bad news: It's going to be quite cold...
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Next up for Harper: homer No. 100

Next up for Harper: homer No. 100
There surely will be far greater milestones for Bryce Harper to achieve before his career is complete, but the reigning National League MVP has a chance tonight to reach a significant number along the way faster than almost anyone else in baseball history. Harper's next home run will be the 100th of his career, no small achievement for a player with his limited experience. In fact, if Harper manages to homer at any point in the next eight days, he'll become the eighth youngest player in...
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A modest proposal to try to get Werth and Taylor going

A modest proposal to try to get Werth and Taylor going
It's only three games, and that caveat must be expressed before going any further. If the same results occurred over three games in May or June or August, you'd never bat an eyelash because it would be hidden among the player's broader performance of the season. Now, having made that disclaimer, there's no debating the Nationals' biggest concern at this very early stage of the season: Jayson Werth and Michael A. Taylor's 0-fers. Both outfielders have opened the season 0-for-11. Both have...
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Friday morning Q&A from D.C.

Friday morning Q&A from D.C.
So ... anything worth talking about this morning? The Nationals' season is only three games old, but there have been no shortage of compelling storylines already. There's Ben Revere's strained oblique on his very first swing as a National. There's Bryce Harper's two home runs, leaving him on the precipice of 100 for his young career. There's Daniel Murphy's impressive debut with his new team. There's Jayson Werth and Michael A. Taylor's 0-fers to begin their respective seasons....
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Exhausted lineup can't take advantage of scoring chances

Exhausted lineup can't take advantage of scoring chances
The ball came screaming off Daniel Murphy's bat, soaring over Giancarlo Stanton's head in right field. And when it caromed off the wall and back towards the infield, the sellout crowd of 41,650 at Nationals Park roared with delight as the home team turned the basepaths into a merry-go-round. Anthony Rendon scored. Bryce Harper scored. Ryan Zimmerman scored. And Murphy slid headfirst into third base, slapping his hands together and letting out a loud "Woo!" having just completed his first...
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After wild first inning, rain hits home opener (Nats lose 6-4)

After wild first inning, rain hits home opener (Nats lose 6-4)
The Nationals and Marlins took the field at 4:05 p.m. knowing they had a window of clear weather to begin today's game and probably get several innings in the books before the expected rain returned to the area. Turns out both lineups were just too darn productive out of the chute to get more than an inning and a half completed before the first delay of the afternoon. Both the Marlins and Nationals scored three runs in the first inning, turning the home opener into a slugfest. Miami got to...
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Rizzo on roster depth, payroll and relationship with Baker

Rizzo on roster depth, payroll and relationship with Baker
Mike Rizzo knows too much about injuries to his roster, having spent the majority of the 2015 season trying to patch and re-patch his Nationals club together for months after a host of key players went down. So when it happened again on opening day in Atlanta, when Ben Revere strained a right oblique muscle on his very first swing in the very first inning, Rizzo knew he'd be calling upon his organizational depth yet again. "We try and think of every different type of scenario for injuries,...
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Game 3 lineups: Marlins at Nats

Game 3 lineups: Marlins at Nats
And for the first time in 2016 (exhibition games excluded), hello from Nationals Park! The home opener has arrived at last, though this could end up being a long day of waiting around for a game that may or may not be played. I don't know any more than all of you do, but my trusty weather app is showing dry skies until about 6 p.m. So maybe we'll be alright after all. Once they do play, it's Tanner Roark on the mound for the Nationals against the fearsome Giancarlo Stanton and the rest of...
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den Dekker caps wild day with game-winning double

den Dekker caps wild day with game-winning double
ATLANTA - Matt den Dekker was at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse at 2:30 p.m. today, taking batting practice in 35-degree weather, when Chiefs manager Billy Gardner called him into his office. The Nationals were placing Ben Revere on the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle, Gardner explained, and were calling up den Dekker to take his place. The young outfielder needed to get back to his apartment ASAP, pack his bags and get to the airport so he could make a late-afternoon flight to...
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Strasburg is Nats' new all-time strikeout king (Nats win 3-1)

Strasburg is Nats' new all-time strikeout king (Nats win 3-1)
ATLANTA - Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann will forever be linked as the Nationals' two young aces who helped transform their rotation into one of baseball's best, and the right-handers in some ways had a friendly competition between them for the last six years. Well, with Zimmermann now wearing the old English D on his cap in Detroit, the competition is no more. Which leaves Strasburg free to pursue as many of Zimmermann's club records as he can reach before becoming a free agent...
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Revere lands on DL with oblique strain, den Dekker recalled

Revere lands on DL with oblique strain, den Dekker recalled
ATLANTA - The Nationals managed to stay remarkably healthy all spring, offering a glimmer of hope they would enjoy some better fortune this season than the last two. But that good luck didn't even last one batter into the 2016 campaign. The club was forced to place Ben Revere on the 15-day disabled list this afternoon with a right oblique strain, an injury the new leadoff man and center fielder suffered on his very first swing in the top of the first inning during Monday's opener at Turner...
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Game 2 lineups: Nats at Braves

Game 2 lineups: Nats at Braves
ATLANTA - Hello again from Turner Field, where tonight the Nationals and Braves wrap up their abbreviated, two-game series to open the season. Odd scheduling for this one, with the 4:10 p.m. start on Monday, then an off-day, then a 7:10 p.m. start tonight. The Nats aren't real happy this is a night game, what with their own home opener scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Thursday. All of this, of course, is weather permitting. Tomorrow's forecast in D.C. looks awful (90 percent chance of rain), so the...
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Ranking the Nationals' previous 11 home openers

Ranking the Nationals' previous 11 home openers
After an oh-so-quick, two-game road trip to Atlanta to open the season, the Nationals have returned to D.C. and today will get to celebrate their home opener. That's weather permitting, of course, and the forecast does not look good for today's scheduled 4:05 p.m. game against the Marlins, with heavy rain predicted pretty much all day. If this one gets postponed, look for it to be made up Friday (major league clubs purposely schedule an off-day following the home opener specifically for this...
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Nats' opening day payroll down for first time since 2007

Nats' opening day payroll down for first time since 2007
ATLANTA - For the first time in nine years, and for only the second time in club history, the Nationals' opening day payroll is down from the previous season. The Nationals' current roster (the 25 active players, plus those on the major league disabled list) is earning a combined $141,652,646 this season, ranking 11th in baseball, according to figures calculated by USA Today in its annual salary survey). That's down nearly $25 million from last year's opening day payroll, which ranked sixth...
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New takeout slide rule benefits Nats in opening day win

New takeout slide rule benefits Nats in opening day win
ATLANTA - To anyone who has watched baseball for the last, oh, century or so, it looked like just about every double play that has been attempted. In the bottom of the seventh inning Monday afternoon at Turner Field, Hector Olivera grounded to third. Anthony Rendon threw to second baseman Daniel Murphy to force out Nick Markakis, who slid into and then through the bag. Murphy's turn and throw to first was way too late to get Olivera. So just a typical 5-4 fielder's choice, right? Not...
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Scherzer dominates, but once again plagued by home runs

Scherzer dominates, but once again plagued by home runs
ATLANTA - Seven innings of three-hit ball shouldn't be a footnote, but given everything else that happened during the Nationals' wild opening day victory over the Braves, Max Scherzer's impressive start did kind of get lost in the shuffle. Let's give the man his due, though, because he pitched awfully well. Scherzer looked very much like the guy who dominated most of last season, keeping the opposition from stringing together hits and walks, using his deep repertoire of pitches to strike...
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Nats finally appreciate Murphy's performance for themselves

Nats finally appreciate Murphy's performance for themselves
ATLANTA - The Nationals had seen Daniel Murphy do this sort of thing to them plenty of times over the years. So when it happened Monday afternoon, when Murphy went 2-for-3 with a homer, two walks and the RBI double that ultimately gave them a 4-3, 10-inning victory on opening day, they relished the fact he's now doing this for their benefit, not detriment. "Psh, quite a debut," shortstop Danny Espinosa said. "What else is there to say? I mean, he's a special hitter, a very smart...
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