An eventful debut for Enny Romero out of Nats bullpen

An eventful debut for Enny Romero out of Nats bullpen
Enny Romero's first pitch as a National didn't go quite where he wanted it to go. Nor did it produce the kind of reaction he or anyone else in the park Wednesday night could have foreseen. Summoned by manager Dusty Baker to pitch the seventh inning with his team up four runs, Romero threw his very first pitch inside to Derek Dietrich, striking the Marlins third baseman in the elbow with a 98 mph fastball. Dietrich, who was one of two Miami batters hit by starter Tanner Roark earlier in the...
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Rusty Roark still finds a way to pitch Nationals to victory

Rusty Roark still finds a way to pitch Nationals to victory
Two innings into his season debut, Tanner Roark might well have been forced into changing his goals for the night. His pitch count at 46, his command unusually off, he could have gone into survival mode and hoped simply to reach the fifth inning without the game getting out of hand. Fast-forward an hour or so, and there was Roark walking off the mound to a hearty ovation from the crowd at Nationals Park, having retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced and having turned what could have been a...
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Nats bounce back from shaky start to beat Marlins 6-4

Nats bounce back from shaky start to beat Marlins 6-4
Tanner Roark looked awfully rusty early in his first start of the season, but the right-hander settled down nicely and then watched as his Nationals teammates went to work against the Marlins pitching staff en route to their second win of the season. Behind Roark's quality start and a four-run rally in the bottom of the fourth, the Nats beat Miami 6-4 tonight and improved to a perfect 2-0 on the young baseball campaign. Bryce Harper followed up his opening day heroics with a pair of RBI hits,...
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How Baker and Maddux manage late-inning bullpen usage

How Baker and Maddux manage late-inning bullpen usage
For all the attention, ink and pixels devoted this spring to the question of who would be pitching the ninth inning for the Nationals in 2017, Dusty Baker knew all along that was a short-sighted take on the situation. "I'm always stressing to our guys: Let's win the seventh, eighth and ninth, if necessary," the manager said. "Which we did the other day." Indeed, the Nationals' opening day victory over the Marlins was made possible by their performance in the game's final three innings,...
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Game 2 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Game 2 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins
The hoopla of opening day is over. The frustration of the day-off-after-opening-day is over. Now we begin the grind of the baseball season, Game 2 of 162. For the Nationals, there is good news before they take the field tonight against the Marlins: Anthony Rendon is in the lineup, his left calf feeling better a full nine days after he fouled a ball off it in Florida. Not that there was ever serious concern about him, but as we've seen, until a guy is actually in the lineup, you just never know...
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Nats' $162 million opening day payroll ranks ninth in majors

Nats' $162 million opening day payroll ranks ninth in majors
The Nationals' opening day payroll was up 16 percent from last season and ranks ninth among all Major League Baseball clubs, according to figures compiled by USA Today. The players who made the Nats' opening day 25-man roster or disabled list have a combined salary of $162,742,157. That ranks ninth in the majors, behind the Dodgers, Tigers, Rangers, Giants, Mets, Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs. The Nationals' average salary of nearly $6.3 million ranks fifth in the sport, while their median...
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Tuesday morning Nats Q&A

Tuesday morning Nats Q&A
So, how did everybody out there enjoy opening day? On the field, you certainly couldn't have many complaints about the Nationals' performance in a 4-2 victory over the Marlins. In the stands, it sounds like there were some unfortunate issues with concessions and the distribution of the ballpark giveaway. On the air ... well, I can't speak to that since I was covering the game from the press box with my own eyes, but hopefully everything was smooth in that regard. Since today is an off-day -...
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Strasburg does his part with another effective opener

Strasburg does his part with another effective opener
Stephen Strasburg was still in the first base dugout at Nationals Park during the bottom of the seventh Monday afternoon, having only completed his work a few minutes earlier, when he watched with glee as Adam Lind's pinch-hit homer sailed over the fence, turning a 2-1 deficit to the Marlins into a 3-2 lead. Until that moment, Strasburg was staring at a hard-luck loss next to his name, his first in four opening day starts. And then in the blink of an eye, he was suddenly in line to take the...
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Lind debuts with a D.C. curtain call: "You can't really beat it"

Lind debuts with a D.C. curtain call: "You can't really beat it"
One has been hitting big home runs in front of big crowds seemingly from the moment he reached the big leagues, especially on opening day. The other, despite 186 career home runs to his name, had never before taken a curtain call. Bryce Harper and Adam Lind don't share a whole lot in common, either in baseball pedigree or off-field personality, but they will forever share the two biggest moments on this opening day, the pair of late home runs that propelled the Nationals to a 4-2 victory over...
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Late homers by Harper, Lind propel Nats to 4-2 win in opener

Late homers by Harper, Lind propel Nats to 4-2 win in opener
For five innings, the Nationals gave their opening day sellout crowd reason to get nervous about the long grind ahead. Despite countless opportunities to make a dent into Marlins starter Edinson Volquez, they simply could not produce a hit with a runner in scoring position, surely making fans (and manager Dusty Baker) cringe about the long-term prospects for this lineup. Turns out the Nats didn't need a big hit with men in scoring position. They just needed two big blasts off the Miami...
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Update on Rendon and the Nats' fifth starter options

Update on Rendon and the Nats' fifth starter options
The Nationals enjoyed a particularly healthy spring, enough to leave manager Dusty Baker as encouraged as he's ever going to be heading into a season. But not healthy enough to field their full starting lineup on opening day. Anthony Rendon, who fouled a ball off his left calf one week ago in Florida, was held out of today's season opener against the Marlins. Baker described this more as a precautionary move than anything, not wanting to take any chances the first week of April. "He's doing...
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Game 1 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Game 1 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins
The day has come at last. The 2017 season is here, and it all gets underway this afternoon on South Capitol Street when the Nationals host the Marlins in Game 1 of 162 (or more). There will be plenty of pomp and circumstance leading up to first pitch at 1:05 p.m., from the introduction of both teams to the ceremonial first pitches thrown by one member of each of the five branches of the military to the national anthem by the U.S. Army Brass Quintet and flyover by the F/A-18E Super Hornets to...
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2017 Nats media season predictions

2017 Nats media season predictions
OK, your long nightmare is over. It's no longer the offseason. It's no longer the preseason. It's officially baseball season again in Washington. Opening day is full of all kinds of traditions, and so it is that we present our own annual tradition: the Nationals media opening day season predictions. Now in its eighth year of existence, this feature has spanned three different websites and has had some revolving door participants, as the beat has changed over time. But it always makes for...
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25-man roster includes Difo and Taylor, no Ross or Guthrie

25-man roster includes Difo and Taylor, no Ross or Guthrie
The Nationals will open the season with only four starting pitchers but six bench players. The club announced its opening day roster this morning, and it does not include Joe Ross or Jeremy Guthrie. Ross, who had been tabbed all along as the No. 5 starter, was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. Guthrie, who was trying to make it as a long reliever, was reassigned to minor league camp, but he's expected to report to Syracuse to begin the season. With only four starting pitchers (Stephen Strasburg,...
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2017 MLB predictions

2017 MLB predictions
And so the time has come. Baseball season begins today for the Yankees, Rays, Giants, Diamondbacks, Cubs and Cardinals. It begins Monday for everybody else, including the Nationals. Which means it's time for some predictions. Don't worry, our annual Nats beat writer predictions will be posted Monday morning, an opening day tradition. For now, you'll just have to be satisfied with my own personal league-wide predictions. Who's going to win each division? Who's going to capture the wild...
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Nats savor the full Navy experience: "Today was awesome"

Nats savor the full Navy experience: "Today was awesome"
ANNAPOLIS - From the morning spent dining with a roomful of midshipmen and touring the United States Naval Academy grounds to the early afternoon spent dressing in a locker room in a football stadium down the road to the late afternoon spent playing an exhibition game in front of 1,030 fans (most of them in full dress uniform) in the tiniest ballpark most of them had seen in a long time, this was no typical day for the Nationals. Their spring training finale, which ended in a 4-4 tie with the...
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Scherzer closes out abbreviated spring (Scherzer to start Friday)

Scherzer closes out abbreviated spring (Scherzer to start Friday)
NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nats 4, Red Sox 4 Recap: Playing at Max Bishop Stadium in front of several hundred U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen, the Nationals and Red Sox wrapped up spring training in a unique setting. Max Scherzer had to work against Boston's grind-it-out lineup, but the right-hander got better as his afternoon progressed and finished with two runs allowed in five innings, throwing 91 pitches. The Nats got two quick runs in the bottom of the first off left-hander Eduardo...
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Final roster decisions come into focus with 48 hours to go

Final roster decisions come into focus with 48 hours to go
ANNAPOLIS - The focus of today's game at the United States Naval Academy is mostly on the setting and the hundreds of midshipmen who are getting the chance to watch major leaguers up close and personal. There is, however, still some business to attend to, and for the Nationals that means finalizing their opening day roster. They haven't made any formal announcement yet, but there does appear to be some more clarity to their 25-man roster. Jeremy Guthrie was the lone player still in big league...
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Starting lineups: Nats vs. Red Sox in Annapolis

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Red Sox in Annapolis
ANNAPOLIS - They say anytime you come to the ballpark, you have a chance to see something you've never seen before. Well, that's definitely going to be true today. Hello from Max Bishop Stadium at the United States Naval Academy, where this afternoon the Nationals and Red Sox are going to play a truly unique exhibition game. This is the first time a service academy has hosted anything like this, and the scene at this quant, 1,500-seat ballpark is going to be unlike anything we've ever...
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With closer named, Nats bullpen has chance to be exceptional

With closer named, Nats bullpen has chance to be exceptional
While everyone spent the last seven weeks - or, actually, the last 5 1/2 months - worrying about who was going to be the Nationals closer in 2017, a slightly more important fact might well have been glossed over: This team could have a really good bullpen in 2017. And that's not just touting the company line. Stop for a moment and consider the seven men most likely to comprise the Nats' relief corps come Monday afternoon ... Blake Treinen Shawn Kelley Koda Glover Joe Blanton Sammy Solís...
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