Gonzalez sharp, efficient early vs. Mets (Nats win 7-1)

Gonzalez sharp, efficient early vs. Mets (Nats win 7-1)
NEW YORK - Gio Gonzalez has been sharp early. And his Nationals teammates have scrapped their way to one early run off Bartolo Colon, thanks to a great at-bat by one of the veteran right-hander's former teammates. Gonzalez has posted three zeroes so far against the Mets, his only baserunner coming via a walk. The left-hander, who entered with a 1.93 ERA in seven starts, has continued to pitch efficiently (26-of-37 for strikes) while also putting away opposing hitters (three strikeouts of the...
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Nats pleased, but not satisfied at the quarter point of season

Nats pleased, but not satisfied at the quarter point of season
NEW YORK - The Nationals play game No. 40 tonight, a traditional milepost that represents the one-quarter point of the season and is viewed by some around the sport as the point in which you have a pretty clear idea whether a team is good or not. The Nationals reach this juncture in first place in the NL East, though only by percentage points over the surprising Phillies and 1/2-game over the Mets. They do so with one of the majors' best-performing pitching staffs, a couple of the majors'...
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Game 40 lineups: Nats at Mets

Game 40 lineups: Nats at Mets
NEW YORK - It's a new day at Citi Field, where the sun has come out and the Nationals hope their bats break out tonight against Bartolo Colon and the Mets. It's been a rough couple days for the Nats lineup, which over the last two games has scored a total of two runs while striking out 28 times. Of course, when the opposing pitchers those games are Jose Fernandez and Noah Syndergaard, it's a bit of a challenge scoring runs. So perhaps the task will be a bit easier tonight with Colon taking...
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For slumping Nats, offensive salvation must come from within

For slumping Nats, offensive salvation must come from within
NEW YORK - As the at-bats continue to be squandered and runners continue to be left on base, it becomes more and more appropriate to question what the Nationals can do to try to inject some life into a lineup that too often early this season has been anemic. Dusty Baker has tried to tweak his batting order. He swapped Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman. He swapped Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon. That hasn't made much difference so far. Ben Revere came back from an oblique strain, replacing the...
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Lack of execution, at plate and on mound, produces tough loss

Lack of execution, at plate and on mound, produces tough loss
NEW YORK - There are three conventional ways to score runs in baseball. You can string together several hits in an inning. You can try to manufacture with small ball. Or you can hit the ball out of the park. The Nationals proved adept at none of the three tonight. The Mets proved adept only at the latter. And that was this game in a nutshell: a 2-0 New York victory made possible by two solo homers off an otherwise dominant Max Scherzer, combined with no real offensive attack by Washington...
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Syndergaard outduels Scherzer, Mets take series opener 2-0

Syndergaard outduels Scherzer, Mets take series opener 2-0
NEW YORK - Max Scherzer was good. Not 20-strikeout good. But more than good enough to win most nights. Just not on nights when Noah Syndergaard is this good. Syndergaard tossed seven scoreless innings, striking out 10 without issuing any walks and outdueling Scherzer, whose two solo homers allowed proved the difference in the Nationals' 2-0 loss to the Mets in the first matchup of 2016 between the National League East's last two champions. The opener of this series, which also featured Daniel...
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Early homers plague Scherzer again (Nats lose 2-0)

Early homers plague Scherzer again (Nats lose 2-0)
NEW YORK - Max Scherzer is striking out opposing hitters again. Unfortunately, he's also giving up home runs again. Scherzer's return to the mound following his historic 20-strikeout performance last week has looked awfully familiar so far. Through three innings, he has struck out four, but Curtis Granderson's leadoff homer in the first and Michael Conforto's solo homer in the third have left the right-hander and the Nationals in a 2-0 hole. Granderson pounced on Scherzer's very first...
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Murphy on returning to Citi Field, Baker on lineup change

Murphy on returning to Citi Field, Baker on lineup change
NEW YORK - Daniel Murphy strolled into the visitors clubhouse at Citi Field today for only the second time ever - he made a cameo appearance there a couple years ago for a Mets fantasy football draft - and then he strolled into the nearby interview room to find a throng of New York reporters and photographers eagerly awaiting his return as a member of the Nationals. Murphy may not rate as one of the true superstars of baseball. But in these parts, he remains a main attraction after helping lead...
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Game 39 lineups: Nats at Mets

Game 39 lineups: Nats at Mets
NEW YORK - The first game of the season between the Nationals and Mets would be a big deal regardless, but there's added intrigue tonight because Max Scherzer is taking the mound for the first time since his record 20-strikeout game. That game on Wednesday, as you might expect, took a lot out of Scherzer, who threw 119 total pitches in beating the Tigers. How has his arm felt since? "Let's just say I'm happy that we had six days (between starts)," the right-hander said with a laugh. If...
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Plenty of storylines to first Nats-Mets series of the season

Plenty of storylines to first Nats-Mets series of the season
When last the Nationals and Mets faced each other in a game of actual significance, the lasting image was that of Yoenis Cespedes circling the bases while Drew Storen fumed on the mound, the final dagger of a miserable three-day stretch for the Nats having been delivered in the harshest possible manner. That scene pretty much encapsulated the 2015 pennant race between these two teams. A Nationals club that was supposed to run away with another National League East title instead wilted in...
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Revere, now hitting .093, tells fans: "Don't give up on me yet"

Revere, now hitting .093, tells fans: "Don't give up on me yet"
It's not at all uncommon for a player to miss a sizeable chunk of time early in the season due to injury, then struggle at the plate for a prolonged stretch even when healthy at last. Ben Revere, though, is testing the boundaries of that phenomenon right now, and the end result is one awfully frustrating leadoff man. In nine games since returning from a strained right oblique muscle, Revere is a scant 4-for-41 at the plate. When he looked up at the scoreboard following his final at-bat...
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Nationals turn sloppy in homestand-ending loss to Marlins

Nationals turn sloppy in homestand-ending loss to Marlins
There was a routine popup lost in the sun, letting two runs stroll across the plate. There was a clutch, two-run single by the opposing pitcher after the guy in front of him had been intentionally walked. And there were strikeouts, 15 of them in total, 10 of them with runners on base. Suffice it to say, the Nationals didn't do many things right this afternoon. And suffice it to say, all of that resulted in a 5-1 loss to the Marlins that never felt particularly close, given the manner in which...
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Early runs scoring in bizarre fashion (Nats lose 5-1)

Early runs scoring in bizarre fashion (Nats lose 5-1)
The Sun Monster has claimed its share of victims at Nationals Park over the years, most memorably Bryce Harper (who coined the scary-sounding term after losing a fly ball in the sun during his rookie season in 2012). This afternoon, it reared its ugly head again and found a new victim at a most inopportune moment: Stephen Drew. Drew couldn't see a routine popup to second base with two outs in the third inning, ultimately letting the ball bounce off his glove as two Marlins baserunners came...
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Robinson makes 2016 debut in outfield, Murphy out with illness

Robinson makes 2016 debut in outfield, Murphy out with illness
Two Nationals regulars are out of the lineup for today's series finale against the Marlins. One was planned, one was a last-minute change. Jayson Werth is sitting out this game, most likely a byproduct of his longstanding struggles against Jose Fernandez. (Werth is 1-for-16 in his career against the Miami ace.) That means Clint Robinson (who is 2-for-3 with a homer vs. Fernandez) gets the start in left field today, his first appearance in the outfield in any game so far this season. Robinson,...
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Game 38 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins (Murphy scratched)

Game 38 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins (Murphy scratched)
What a strange few weeks of weather the Nationals have experienced. It seems like the conditions have alternated just about every day, from warm and muggy to mild and rainy to cold and windy. We've got the latter this afternoon for the Nats' series finale against the Marlins, with temperatures in the 50s and a strong, steady wind blowing from left to right fields. That may help the ball carry for left-handed batters today, which might not be a bad thing for the Nationals, who are going up...
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Nationals mystified by Marlins' mastery of Roark

Nationals mystified by Marlins' mastery of Roark
If baseball truly is a game of adjustments, as they like to say, Tanner Roark has some major work staring him in the face before next weekend's series in Miami. Roark figures to start Friday night's opener at Marlins Park - unless Nationals manager Dusty Baker decides to bump him up to pitch against the Mets the night before instead of Stephen Strasburg - and that means the right-hander will have to figure out some way to beat a Miami lineup that has owned him for two seasons now. The latest...
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Nats get blown out 7-1 in second game of doubleheader

Nats get blown out 7-1 in second game of doubleheader
Doubleheader sweeps are no easy task. Certainly not when they require a Tanner Roark victory over the Marlins. Needing their otherwise effective right-hander to reverse his recent trend against Miami, the Nationals instead watched a familiar storyline play out tonight. They lost the nightcap of a split-doubleheader 7-1, with every run charged to Roark. The Nationals had taken this afternoon's opener 6-4 behind an effective start from Stephen Strasburg, some clutch hits from several members of...
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Roark still having trouble figuring out Marlins (Nats lose 7-1)

Roark still having trouble figuring out Marlins (Nats lose 7-1)
There's something about the Marlins that turns Tanner Roark from a dominant big league pitcher into just another guy on the mound. Who knows why this is, but facts are facts. And the fact is, the Marlins hit Roark like no other team in baseball. It's happening again tonight, with Miami plating three early runs off Roark to take a lead over the Nationals in the nightcap of their split doubleheader. Roark managed to get out of the first inning unscathed, which was no minor achievement for him....
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Nationals pick up Rizzo's option, keeping him as GM through 2018

Nationals pick up Rizzo's option, keeping him as GM through 2018
The Nationals have picked up the two-year option on Mike Rizzo's contract, keeping the longtime general manager in D.C. through at least the 2018 season, the club announced this evening. Rizzo was in the final year of a deal he signed in 2013, but the club held a two-year contract option for the 2017-18 seasons that needed to be picked up by June 15. "It feels good," Rizzo said following his team's 7-1 loss in the nightcap of a doubleheader against the Marlins. "We started from ground zero...
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Game 37 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Game 37 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins
And we're back for the nightcap of this day-night doubleheader. Game 1 ended in a downpour, with Jonathan Papelbon striking out Giancarlo Stanton to preserve a 6-4 victory for the Nationals. Game 2 will begin under blue skies, believe it or not, though the temperature has dropped considerably and it's going to be quite chilly throughout this one. The Nationals will be going for the doubleheader sweep with a depleted lineup. Bryce Harper is out after dropping the appeal of his one-game...
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