Game 110 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

Game 110 lineups: Nats vs. Giants
Is tonight's game more important than the typical game? Well, it could be. You see, with a win tonight the Nationals would win the season series from the Giants, and that could come into play this fall should the two teams end up tied in the standings. If you think it's pointless to consider such miniscule possibilities, just know the manager cares about these kinds of things. "This is big," Dusty Baker said. "For those of us that have been in the playoffs many times, you realize how...
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Zimmerman lands on DL, Nats recall Goodwin from Syracuse

Zimmerman lands on DL, Nats recall Goodwin from Syracuse
His left wrist still too sore to play six days after getting hit by a pitch, Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day disabled list this afternoon, with the Nationals promoting outfielder Brian Goodwin from Triple-A Syracuse to take his roster spot. Zimmerman hadn't been able to play since taking a fastball off his left wrist in the ninth inning of Sunday's game in San Francisco. X-rays taken that day came back negative for any fractures, but the wrist was badly bruised by the pitch. Because...
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No saves yet, but Melancon soaks in "special" D.C. debut

No saves yet, but Melancon soaks in "special" D.C. debut
At some point, Mark Melancon will come charging out of the Nationals bullpen with his team holding a slim lead and needing him to be perfect in order to save a game. Until then, the Nationals' new closer will just have to be content closing out lopsided victories. "I think that's a good thing, that there hasn't (been a save situation)," he said. "We're winning. It's a good thing. But it'll be nice to get that first one out of the way, for sure." Acquired from the Pirates exactly one...
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Gonzalez's midsummer surge coming just when Nats need it

Gonzalez's midsummer surge coming just when Nats need it
Gio Gonzalez has been something of the ugly duckling of the Nationals' rotation much of this summer, unable to keep up with the consistent dominance displayed by Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark. And that's been fine, because the Nationals have been winning and their rotation as a whole has been among the best in baseball throughout. But with Joe Ross' return now no longer in close-range view - the right-hander had to be pulled back from his rehab assignment with lingering...
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Behind Gonzalez's strong start, Nats cruise to 5-1 win over Giants

Behind Gonzalez's strong start, Nats cruise to 5-1 win over Giants
Gio Gonzalez's midsummer surge continued tonight with perhaps the left-hander's best start of the season. Combine that with another productive night at the plate from the Nationals' lineup and the result was their fourth straight win, this one by a 5-1 margin over the Giants to open a long homestand. Gonzalez tossed seven innings of two-hit ball in his latest strong outing - he's now 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA in his last five starts - and was finally afforded the run support that eluded him in...
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Zimmerman out for fourth straight game (Nats win 5-1)

Zimmerman out for fourth straight game (Nats win 5-1)
Ryan Zimmerman is out of the Nationals lineup for the fourth straight game, his left wrist still too bruised from the fastball that struck it Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. Zimmerman initially was hopeful he wouldn't need to miss more than a day or two after getting hit by Santiago Casilla's pitch in the ninth inning at AT&T Park. He has participated in some drills during batting practice, but he's still experiencing pain when swinging a bat. Multiple X-rays taken the day of the...
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Sore shoulder ends Ross' rehab, Drew has inner ear issue

Sore shoulder ends Ross' rehab, Drew has inner ear issue
Joe Ross won't be rejoining the Nationals' rotation nearly as soon as initially thought, not after the right-hander was pulled off his rehab assignment due to lingering shoulder soreness. Ross was due to pitch for one of the club's minor league affiliates this weekend, his third rehab start since going on the disabled list July 3 with right shoulder inflammation, and manager Dusty Baker indicated earlier this week he would probably be ready to return to the team after that. But Ross...
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Game 109 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

Game 109 lineups: Nats vs. Giants
How long has been since the Nationals last played at home? Well, in their most recent game at Nationals Park, Lucas Giolito started and lasted only 3 1/3 innings, Michael A. Taylor started in center field, Jonathan Papelbon took the loss, Trea Turner in center field was in its early experimental phase and the Nats held a 4 1/2-game lead in the National League East. As the late, great Troy McClure said on the The Simpsons' 138th Episode Spectacular: "Ha ha ha, they haven't changed a...
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Nats adjust weekend rotation, will stick with four starters

Nats adjust weekend rotation, will stick with four starters
The Nationals have adjusted their rotation for the weekend, electing to bump everyone up a day, have them pitch on normal rest and skip over the fifth starter's spot for now. The club had initially left Friday night's starter against the Giants as "TBD" but now Gio Gonzalez will start the opener at Nationals Park, with Stephen Strasburg on Saturday and Tanner Roark on Sunday. All three will be pitching on normal four days' rest, thanks to today's day off-day for the team. With two more...
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Thursday Q&A from 36,000 feet above America

Thursday Q&A from 36,000 feet above America
This turned into quite an eventful road trip for the Nationals. It began in Cleveland last week with a blown save by Jonathan Papelbon and a huge escape act by Blake Treinen the next night. It continued in San Francisco over the weekend with dominant performances by Tanner Roark and Max Scherzer, the official yanking of Papelbon from the closer's role, the acquisition of Mark Melancon as his replacement and a historic triple play that was necessary to escape a huge jam. And then it wrapped up...
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Scherzer finishes strong, leads Nats to trip-ending sweep

Scherzer finishes strong, leads Nats to trip-ending sweep
PHOENIX - Max Scherzer doesn't like to evaluate his starts by what happens in the first inning, the second inning or just about any inning he takes the mound. For Scherzer, it's not about how he starts. It's about how he finishes. "I always say you can usually define your outing by the last 15 pitches that you throw," the right-hander said. "That's usually when the outing is decided, when you're going to either win or lose a ballgame. And today was a case of that." The final score - an...
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Behind Scherzer's arm and bat, Nats win 8-3 to sweep Arizona

Behind Scherzer's arm and bat, Nats win 8-3 to sweep Arizona
PHOENIX - He pitched eight strong innings, given a chance to stay on the mound longer than most modern starters might, given the situation. And he also delivered the two-run single that proved the margin of difference for most of the game. Needless to say, it was Max Scherzer's afternoon at Chase Field, and the rest of the Nationals just went along for the ride en route to an 8-3 victory over the Diamondbacks that completed a series sweep. Scherzer allowed just four hits and struck out 11 over...
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Ross won't return Friday, starter still TBD (Nats win 8-3)

Ross won't return Friday, starter still TBD (Nats win 8-3)
PHOENIX - The Nationals haven't announced who will start Friday night against the Giants, but it won't be Joe Ross. Manager Dusty Baker said today that Ross still needs to make another minor league rehab start before coming off the disabled list to face big league hitters. The time and place of that start is still being sorted out. "We're not sure yet," Baker said. "He'll probably go out and throw again. We'll see how he comes out of that. We need to get him some length and some quality...
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Murphy, Strasburg are latest Nationals to win monthly awards

Murphy, Strasburg are latest Nationals to win monthly awards
PHOENIX - Two more Nationals players added pieces of hardware to their growing shelves today when Daniel Murphy was named National League Player of the Month and Stephen Strasburg was named NL Pitcher of the Month for July. Murphy, who previously won NL Player of the Month honors in May, hit .372 with 12 doubles, six homers, 26 RBIs and a 1.144 OPS in July, compiling those numbers despite playing in only 24 games (he was out of the lineup for five games due to a lingering hamstring injury...
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Game 108 lineups: Nats at Diamondbacks

Game 108 lineups: Nats at Diamondbacks
PHOENIX - The Nationals have already secured a winning road trip. Now they'll try to sweep the Diamondbacks and head home with a 6-3 record after their long and eventful swing through Cleveland, San Francisco and Arizona. Max Scherzer takes the mound against the club that drafted him way back in 2006. He's been on quite a run lately: 3-1 with a 1.09 ERA in his last six starts. He may need to be in top form again today, because the Nationals are fielding a lineup that is lacking Ryan...
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Rookies Turner, Difo step in and make big contributions in win

Rookies Turner, Difo step in and make big contributions in win
PHOENIX - When the Nationals took the field for batting practice Tuesday afternoon, Trea Turner was expecting to take grounders at second base, where he was scheduled to start. Wilmer Difo was already preparing mentally to come off the bench, perhaps in a key pinch-hitting situation or a double-switch. Then manager Dusty Baker passed along word that Bryce Harper was sick, battling a stomach virus that required IV fluids. So Turner was going to need to play center field, with Difo getting the...
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Nationals bats come alive again in 10-4 rout of Arizona

Nationals bats come alive again in 10-4 rout of Arizona
PHOENIX - Turns out Monday night's offensive explosion wasn't a complete aberration for the Nationals, because they nearly duplicated the feat tonight against the Diamondbacks. Wilson Ramos, Chris Heisey and Jayson Werth all clubbed home runs to lead another potent offensive attack, carrying the Nats to a 10-4 victory at Chase Field. Combined with their lopsided win in Monday's series opener, the Nationals have now outscored Arizona 24-5 over the last two nights, putting their offensive...
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Harper scratched with illness, Zimmerman still out (Nats win 10-4)

Harper scratched with illness, Zimmerman still out (Nats win 10-4)
PHOENIX - The stomach bug that has been making its way around the Nationals clubhouse over the last two weeks appears to have gotten Bryce Harper now. Harper had to be scratched from tonight's lineup with an illness, the club announced about an hour before scheduled first pitch against the Diamondbacks. Harper was due to bat third and start in right field, hoping to pick up where he left off Monday night when he reached base three times during the Nationals' 14-1 victory at Chase Field. But...
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Williams turns page on Nationals, glad to be back in Arizona

Williams turns page on Nationals, glad to be back in Arizona
PHOENIX - If there was such a thing as a perfect landing spot for Matt Williams after the disappointing and abrupt conclusion of his tenure as Nationals manager, this was it. Back in Arizona, where he has lived since his playing days, coaching third base for a Diamondbacks organization that has always valued his presence. "It's great," Williams said this afternoon, seated in the third base dugout at Chase Field. "I'm home. I've been here 30 years, and certainly I enjoy the community....
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Game 107 lineups: Nats at Diamondbacks (Harper scratched)

Game 107 lineups: Nats at Diamondbacks (Harper scratched)
PHOENIX - The Nationals lineup exploded for 14 runs on 19 hits (none of them homers) last night in their rout over the Diamondbacks. They certainly didn't wind up needing that much offense to win the series opener, but Dusty Baker wasn't concerned about that. "I know a lot of people say, 'Why don't you save some runs for tomorrow?' " the manager said. "But I hope that they memorize how to do that." We'll see if there's any carryover effect tonight against left-hander Robbie Ray, who...
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