Ramos parlays video study with daughter into big day at plate

Ramos parlays video study with daughter into big day at plate
Wilson Ramos was playing with his 20-month-old daughter Saturday night, impressed with her ability to operate an iPad. Somehow, she managed to change the cartoon she was watching into a video clip of a certain Nationals catcher hitting a home run at Wrigley Field earlier this month. "For some reason, she was pointing it out and saying: 'Daddy! Daddy!' " Ramos said through interpreter Octavio Martinez. "Kind of like saying: 'This is you.' For whatever reason today, I took that same...
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Werth makes most of day off, launches grand slam off bench

Werth makes most of day off, launches grand slam off bench
Different players approach days off in different ways. Some like to take a full mental and physical break, and just watch the game from the dugout, available only in case of emergency. Others like to take the opportunity to work on something, maybe find what has been missing from their swing that perhaps provoked the day off. Jayson Werth has taken both approaches during his career, preferring rest when he's physically ailing but wanting to tinker when he's healthy and perhaps struggling. So...
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Harper, Ramos deliver during three-run rally (Nats win 10-2)

Harper, Ramos deliver during three-run rally (Nats win 10-2)
The Nationals have nearly been no-hit by Michael Wacha before. They certainly didn't want to find themselves in that same boat today, so it's safe to say they breathed a sigh of relief when Michael A. Taylor broke up the right-hander's shot at history before things started to get too serious. And then it's safe to say they were downright giddy when Taylor's double in the bottom of the fourth set the table for a three-run rally that has given them a 3-1 lead. Taylor's leadoff double...
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Belisle ready but expects to continue rehab at Harrisburg

Belisle ready but expects to continue rehab at Harrisburg
Matt Belisle believes he's ready to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Nationals bullpen. The club, however, wants the veteran right-hander to continue his rehab assignment. So after three appearances at high Single-A Potomac, Belisle is now expected to head to Double-A Harrisburg. Belisle, out since April 26 with a strained right calf, pitched two innings last night for Potomac, allowing two runs on four hits (one of them a homer). He also struck out three. That came after two...
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Game 51 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

Game 51 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals
Since the Nationals have lost only three series this season, this isn't a familiar position for them today, needing to beat the Cardinals to salvage a four-game split and avoid a 2-5 homestand. So there's a little bit of pressure on them this afternoon after back-to-back losses. The good news: Stephen Strasburg is pitching for the Nats, and he has been fantastic, with eight quality starts in 10 tries this season. In seven of those starts, he has allowed two or fewer earned runs. Five times he...
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Murphy sets new club record with 41 hits in a month

Murphy sets new club record with 41 hits in a month
It wasn't the prettiest hit he's recorded all season, and it probably should have been caught by Cardinals right fielder Stephen Piscotty, but Daniel Murphy won't complain about the second-inning single last night that gave him a new Nationals club record. That single, which came on a blooper to shallow right field that went in and out of a diving Piscotty's glove, was Murphy's 41st hit of May. And that's more hits than any player in Nationals history has ever recorded in a single...
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Gonzalez down on himself for inability to give bullpen a break

Gonzalez down on himself for inability to give bullpen a break
Pitchers can live with the hits they surrender, even the home runs. What they can't live with are the walks they issue that drive up their pitch count and prevent them from reaching the game's latter innings. So when Gio Gonzalez was upset with himself following the Nationals' 9-4 loss to the Cardinals tonight, it wasn't so much because of the six runs he surrendered via a flurry of two-out hits (including one by opposing pitcher Adam Wainwright). It was because he couldn't even complete...
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Cardinals pile up early runs off Gonzalez (Nats lose 9-4)

Cardinals pile up early runs off Gonzalez (Nats lose 9-4)
As he walked off the mound following a dominant top of the first, having struck out all three batters he faced on 15 pitches, Gio Gonzalez had the look of a pitcher primed for a big night. As he walked off the same mound following a disastrous top of the second, having allowed four runs on 40 pitches, Gonzalez had the look of a pitcher primed for a long night. Suffice it to say that things escalated quickly here at Nationals Park, where the Cardinals lead 5-2. The Cardinals rocked Gonzalez...
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Nationals hope Rendon stays red-hot after rare day off

Nationals hope Rendon stays red-hot after rare day off
Dusty Baker likes to plan days off for his regulars well in advance, giving them plenty of time to prepare. So there was nothing unusual about Baker's conversation with Anthony Rendon at the start of the week, during which the Nationals manager told his third baseman he'd be getting Saturday night off. "I told him Monday or Tuesday. I told him he'd be off Saturday," Baker said. "So I said: 'Give me all you've got until your day off on Saturday.' And he did." Did he ever. Rendon has...
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Game 50 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

Game 50 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals
It's a hot, muggy Saturday here in the District, as sure a sign as we've experienced yet that summer has arrived. Which, the Nationals can only hope, means the ball is going to fly out of the park tonight. Dusty Baker has insisted all along he thinks he's got a warm-weather lineup. We saw it earlier in the week when the Nats hit five homers on another warm night. We'll see if it holds true tonight. That Nationals lineup will be facing an ace in Adam Wainwright, though this isn't the...
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Baker, Scherzer take exception with ump's late timeout calls

Baker, Scherzer take exception with ump's late timeout calls
Max Scherzer likes to try to disrupt the timing of opposing batters and baserunners. He's perfectly content to hold the ball in the set position for three, four, even five seconds, hoping to catch somebody napping. Because of that, Scherzer has become quite accustomed to the opposition calling for time, stepping out of the box and hitting the reset button. And he takes no issue with any batter who does that. He did, however, take exception with plate umpire Alan Porter's decision twice during...
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Walks, grand slam define Scherzer's latest confounding start

Walks, grand slam define Scherzer's latest confounding start
Max Scherzer's postgame media sessions so far this season can easily be separated into two groups. He's either asked: 1) What allowed him to be so dominant on that particular night, or 2) Why does he continue to give up significant home runs at the worst possible time? There has been precious little middle ground with Scherzer through the first two months of 2016. Sometimes he looks like the best pitcher on the planet. Sometimes he looks like the most-hittable pitcher on the planet. He rarely...
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Scherzer in trouble after walks, grand slam (Nats lose 6-2)

Scherzer in trouble after walks, grand slam (Nats lose 6-2)
Home runs have been Max Scherzer's biggest bugaboo since late last summer. Walks? Not so much. But add a bunch of free passes to yet another bomb surrendered by Scherzer, and the Nationals ace really finds himself in trouble. The Cardinals pounced on Scherzer during a five-run top of the third tonight, the big blast coming via Stephen Piscotty's first career grand slam, taking control of this Friday matchup on South Capitol Street. The home run - the 15th Scherzer has surrendered in 69 1/3...
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With regular reps, Werth finally becoming comfortable in left field

With regular reps, Werth finally becoming comfortable in left field
It was a really nice play. Not a spectacular one that ends up on endless highlight-reel shows. Just a really nice play that leaves fans applauding. Jayson Werth's catch last night of Stephen Piscotty's second-inning sinking liner to left-center, requiring a lot of ground covered and then a slide to complete the maneuver, was the best defensive play of the Nationals' 2-1 victory over the Cardinals. It also represented merely the latest in a string of really nice plays Werth has made over the...
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Game 49 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

Game 49 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals
You wouldn't necessarily think it, given the number of potent left-handed bats in their regular lineup, but the Nationals actually are more productive when facing left-handed pitchers than right-handed ones this season. They enter play tonight with an .812 team OPS against lefties, fifth-best in baseball. It helps that the Nationals' two best lefty hitters (Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy) fare quite well against southpaws. And then, of course, it helps that right-handed hitters like Ryan...
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Papelbon impresses after long layoff, Rivero impresses in big spot

Papelbon impresses after long layoff, Rivero impresses in big spot
Jonathan Papelbon hadn't emerged out of the bullpen gate, Ric Flair's voice booming over the PA system, in a long time. It had been six days, in fact, since Papelbon last appeared in a game, 12 days since he had done it at Nationals Park. And now here the veteran closer was, asked to protect a 2-1 lead against the heart of the Cardinals lineup, cold as ice after the long layoff. Which didn't prove to be a problem at all. Papelbon retired the side in short order last night, inducing two...
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Harper, Espinosa snap out of funks with towering homers

Harper, Espinosa snap out of funks with towering homers
When Bryce Harper stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning tonight for his third at-bat of the game, something was noticeably missing: His batting gloves. Harper occasionally decides to hit without them, so the sight of the struggling Nationals slugger gripping the bat with his bare hands perhaps left many thinking he purposely was trying to shake things up, trying to find anything that might change his luck. And so, of course, when Harper proceeded to crush a baseball 434 feet...
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Rookie's homer off Ross gives Cards early lead (Nats win 2-1)

Rookie's homer off Ross gives Cards early lead (Nats win 2-1)
Joe Ross has pitched effectively so far against the Cardinals, just as he did when he faced this same team four weeks ago. Mike Leake also has pitched effectively so far against the Nationals, unlike he did the last time he saw this lineup. Aledmys Diaz's leadoff homer in the top of the fourth gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead, the lone run to cross the plate so far in tonight's series opener at Nationals Park. Ross already owns one win over the Cardinals this season, having held them to one run in...
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Dusty Baker encouraged by Nats' handling of losses

Dusty Baker encouraged by Nats' handling of losses
He has seen his team get off to a rousing start, taking advantage of some weak April competition. And he has seen his team battle its way through a much tougher May, with nearly every opponent presenting a significant challenge. The end result of all that for Dusty Baker's Nationals? A 28-19 record entering tonight's series opener against the Cardinals and a 1/2-game lead over the Mets in the NL East. And a recognition that there's still plenty of room for improvement. "We've got work to...
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Game 48 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

Game 48 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals
It was four weeks ago when the Nationals embarked on what looked like one of the toughest road trips they've ever faced, the first leg of a prolonged stretch of games against mostly tough competition. That trip began in St. Louis, previously a house of horrors for this team. But the Nats flipped the script, sweeping the Cardinals for the first time in their history and kicking off that tough stretch in impressive fashion. Now the Cardinals come to D.C. for a four-game weekend series in what...
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