LaRoche, Strasburg start off well (Phillies win 9-8 in 11 innings)

LaRoche, Strasburg start off well (Phillies win 9-8 in 11 innings)
There was some question prior to Friday's series opener against the Phillies whether or not first baseman Adam LaRoche would be able to play. He admitted during pregame that he has been battling back pain, elbow soreness and flu-like symptoms since early in the week. Facing the Dodgers on Wednesday, LaRoche managed to battle through the pain to put together a two-hit five RBI performance, including his 20th homer of the season, in a 8-5 14-inning victory over Los Angeles. LaRoche told manager...
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Opposite dugout: Phillies hope to stay hot in Washington

Opposite dugout: Phillies hope to stay hot in Washington
Manager: Ryne Sandberg, second year Record: 64-75 Last 10 games: 7-3 Who to watch: RF Marlon Byrd (.266/.314/.463, 24 doubles, 25 HR, 78 RBIs); 1B Ryan Howard (.224/.308/.379, 20 HR, 87 RBIs); LHP Cole Hamels (8-6, 2.50 ERA, 1.15 WHIP); RHP Jerome Williams (3-0, 2.03 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) Season series vs. Nats: 8-8, 56 runs scored, 72 runs allowed Pitching probables Sept. 5: Jerome Williams vs. Stephen Strasburg, 7 p.m., MASN HD Sept. 6: A.J. Burnett vs. Tanner Roark, 4 p.m., MASN HD Sept. 7: Cole...
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A pair of left-handers battle in Philly (Phillies win 4-3)

A pair of left-handers battle in Philly (Phillies win 4-3)
A pair of southpaws doing battle tonight in Philadelphia. Cole Hamels was off to smooth start with two quick outs in the first. Against Anthony Rendon, a grounder to third base was fielded by Andres Blanco, who threw to first for the out. But first base umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled that first baseman Darin Ruf drifted off the bag and called Rendon safe. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg requested a video review. The video replay in New York overturned the call and Rendon was out. Nationals...
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Opposite dugout: Last-place Phillies starting to play spoiler for postseason contenders

Opposite dugout: Last-place Phillies starting to play spoiler for postseason contenders
Manager: Ryne Sandberg, second year Record: 58-72 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: RF Marlon Byrd (.269/.317/.466, 24 doubles, 23 HR, 75 RBIs); 2B Chase Utley (.280/.349/.428, 29 doubles, 11 HR, 69 RBIs); CF Ben Revere (.314/.333/.368, 58 R, 38 SB); LHP Cole Hamels (7-6, 2.53 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) Season series vs. Nats: 5-8, 41 runs scored, 63 runs allowed Pitching probables Aug. 25: A.J. Burnett vs. Tanner Roark, 7 p.m., MASN HD Aug. 26: Cole Hamels vs. Gio Gonzalez, 7 p.m., MASN HD Aug. 27: Kyle...
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Zimmermann, Rendon and Span after 11-0 shutout of Phillies

Zimmermann, Rendon and Span after 11-0 shutout of Phillies
Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon had three hits, including a double and a three-run shot, with four RBIs in an 11-0 shutout of the Phillies Saturday night. Rendon needed a triple in one of his final two at-bats to hit for the cycle, but grounded out and flew out. "I heard people in the stands, 'Get the triple, get the triple.' I didn't want to. That means I've got to run more," Rendon smiled. "So I can just stop at second base." Rendon was happy to be able to get just one base...
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Gonzalez, Ramos and Frandsen on loss to Phillies

Gonzalez, Ramos and Frandsen on loss to Phillies
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez was looking to build off a seven-inning, one-run performance Saturday at Cincinnati. He took a hard luck 1-0 loss, but still managed to pitch well, allowing the Reds only four hits and striking out eight. But in his first game back at Nats Park since July 20, Gonzalez struggled against the Phillies, giving up five runs in 3 2/3 innings in a 10-4 Nationals loss. He allowed eight hits and recorded only 11 outs. In the five-run fourth inning, the Phillies were able to get...
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Phillies pouring it on (Nats fall 10-4)

Phillies pouring it on (Nats fall 10-4)
The Nationals have finally returned home for the first time since July 20 and left-hander Gio Gonzalez looked to get off to a good start in front of the Nationals Park faithful. He started that last game at home and recorded a no-decision in a 5-4 win over the Brewers. Despite falling to the Reds on Saturday, Gonzalez allowed only one run on four hits over seven frames. Against the Phillies with one away in the first, Gonzalez surrendered a hit to Jimmy Rollins but then recorded a pair of outs...
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Opposite dugout: Phillies aim to keep Nats on toes with top four starters slated to pitch

Opposite dugout: Phillies aim to keep Nats on toes with top four starters slated to pitch
Manager: Ryne Sandberg, second year Record: 47-61 Last 10 games: 4-6 Who to watch: RF Marlon Byrd (.270/.318/.477, 22 doubles, 20 HR, 60 RBIs); 2B Chase Utley (.289/.355/.436, 26 doubles, 9 HR, 54 RBIs); LHP Cole Hamels (6-5, 2.55 ERA, 1.13 WHIP); LHP Cliff Lee (4-5, 3.78 ERA, 1.41 WHIP) Season series vs. Nats: 3-6, 29 runs scored, 43 runs allowed Pitching probables July 31: Cliff Lee vs. Gio Gonzalez, 7 p.m., MASN2 HD Aug. 1: Roberto Hernandez vs. Doug Fister, 7 p.m., MASN HD Aug. 2: A.J....
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Opposite dugout: Phillies aim to build on sweep of Brewers with Nats in town

Opposite dugout: Phillies aim to build on sweep of Brewers with Nats in town
Manager: Ryne Sandberg, second year Record: 41-51 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: 2B Chase Utley (.294/.352/.452, 24 doubles, 8 HR, 46 RBIs, 50 R); RF Marlon Byrd (.261/.313/.481, 19 doubles, 18 HR, 52 RBIs); LHP Cole Hamels (3-5, 2.87 ERA, 1.23 WHIP); RHP A.J. Burnett (5-8, 3.92 ERA, 1.34 WHIP) Season series vs. Nats: 2-4, 17 runs scored, 26 runs allowed Pitching probables July 11: A.J. Burnett vs. Jordan Zimmermann, 7 p.m., MASN2 HD July 12: Cole Hamels vs. Stephen Strasburg, 7 p.m.,...
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Utley gives Phillies first lead of series (LaRoche homers, Nats win 4-2)

Utley gives Phillies first lead of series (LaRoche homers, Nats win 4-2)
The Phillies have lost five in a row and needed to at least start off their final game of the series with the Nationals well. Veteran Chase Utley answered the bell. In the top of the first, following a leadoff double by Ben Revere and a sacrifice that moved him to third, Utley delivered a run-scoring single past starter Doug Fister into center field to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead, their first of the series. Fister got out of the inning without any further damage. He is seeking his fourth...
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Nats and Phillies lineups as Strasburg opposes Burnett

Nats and Phillies lineups as Strasburg opposes Burnett
Not a bad pitching matchup for us tonight here at Nationals Park, as Stephen Strasburg will oppose Phillies righty A.J. Burnett. Strasburg hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 21 innings against the Phillies. He went 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in two home starts against the Phils last season. Ryan Zimmerman is making his second big league start in left field tonight and again hitting fifth. The Nationals' lineup from 1-8 looks exactly as it did yesterday. So does the Phillies', in fact. For...
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Opposite dugout: Struggling Phils look to get on track in D.C.

Opposite dugout: Struggling Phils look to get on track in D.C.
Manager: Ryne Sandberg, second year Record: 24-31 Last 10 games: 4-6 Who to watch: 2B Chase Utley (.319/.378/.517, 30 XBH, 27 RBIs); RF Marlon Byrd (.274/.330/.476, 8 HR, 17 doubles, 32 RBIs); 1B Ryan Howard (.226/.300/.428, 11 HR, 40 RBIs); RHP A.J. Burnett (3-4, 3.79 ERA) Season series vs. Nats: 2-1, 11 runs scored, 7 runs allowed Pitching probables June 3: David Buchanan vs. Jordan Zimmermann, 7 p.m., MASN HD June 4: A.J. Burnett vs. Stephen Strasburg, 7 p.m., MASN HD June 5: Kyle Kendrick...
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Span on Cliff Lee quick-pitching him up and in: "I didn't like that at all"

Span on Cliff Lee quick-pitching him up and in: "I didn't like that at all"
PHILADELPHIA - While there was minimal pushing and shoving in the top of the fifth inning when benches cleared between the Nationals and Phillies, and while the game went on without further incident, tonight's Denard Span-Cliff Lee spat might be something to keep in mind the next 18 times these teams play each other in 2014. Bad blood can build quickly between division rivals. Span came up in the fifth with runners at second and third and one out. He stepped into the batter's box and started...
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Opposite dugout: Up-and-down Phillies sending their best to hill vs. Nats

Opposite dugout: Up-and-down Phillies sending their best to hill vs. Nats
Manager: Ryne Sandberg, second year Record: 13-13 Last 10 games: 6-4 Who to watch: 2B Chase Utley (.355/.408/.570, 3 HR, 11 doubles, 14 RBIs); 1B Ryan Howard (.255/.333/.469, 5 HR, 14 RBIs); RHP A.J. Burnett (1-1, 2.15 ERA); LHP Cliff Lee (3-2, 3.29 ERA, 40 K) Season series vs. Nats (2013): 8-11, 56 runs scored, 94 runs allowed Pitching probables May 2: Cliff Lee vs. Stephen Strasburg, 7 p.m., MASN HD May 3: A.J. Burnett vs. Tanner Roark, 7 p.m., MASN HD May 4: Cole Hamels vs. Gio Gonzalez, 3...
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Phillies' actions with college players likely won't benefit other teams

Phillies' actions with college players likely won't benefit other teams
The Phillies' decision to turn in an unsigned college draft pick to the NCAA for engaging the services of an agent acting as an advisor appeared this week to at least temporarily hurt their standing in the eyes of some agents who take care of those college baseball players. It also might, in turn, have an adverse effect on their opportunities to sign some players later. One agent had said the "Phillies are out." The Phillies apparently alerted the NCAA that Oregon State left-hander Ben...
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Are the Nats the team to beat in the NL East?

Are the Nats the team to beat in the NL East?
I went into spring training this year feeling that the Nationals were the favorites in the National League East by a pretty wide margin. I wasn't alone in this line of thinking. In fact, I believe the vast majority of the baseball world was with me. The Nats, after all, were coming off a 98-win season and their first division title in team history, had seemingly improved their roster with the additions of Dan Haren, Rafael Soriano and Denard Span, and would go into the 2013 season having...
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A hodgepodge of morning notes (instant update)

A hodgepodge of morning notes (instant update)
The Manager of the Year awards were handed out last night, and they went to Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle and the Indians' Terry Francona, giving both men their first such honor. Hurdle received 25 of the 30 possible first-place votes for National League Manager of the Year after leading the Pirates to their first above-.500 record since 1992. Pittsburgh finished the regular season with 94 wins and then beat Cincinnati in the Wild Card play-in game before losing to the Cardinals in the...
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Moore starts at first vs. Hamels

Moore starts at first vs. Hamels
With the Nationals facing Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels tonight, Adam LaRoche will get the night off and Tyler Moore will start for the Nats at first base in the second game of this three-game set. LaRoche actually has pretty good numbers in his career against Hamels (.294 with four homers in 34 at-bats), but manager Davey Johnson will give the right-handed-hitting Moore the start at first in LaRoche's place tonight. Moore is 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a walk against Hamels. Bryce...
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Harper in Nats lineup

Harper in Nats lineup
PHILADELPHIA - Bryce Harper remains in the Nationals' lineup despite being bothered by what we learned last night is a hip injury. Harper said that he's fine and wants to continue playing through the ailment, and manager Davey Johnson will allow him to do so. Gio Gonzalez (8-6, 3.56 ERA) takes the ball for the Nats tonight, with right-hander Ethan Martin (2-3, 6.39 ERA) going for the Phillies. For the Nats CF Denard Span 3B Ryan Zimmerman LF Bryce Harper RF Jayson Werth SS Ian Desmond...
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Quite a pitchers' duel here in Philly (Nats lose 3-2)

Quite a pitchers' duel here in Philly (Nats lose 3-2)
PHILADELPHIA - Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels are locked in a pitchers' duel through six innings. Each All-Star has allowed just one run on two hits. Strasburg has struck out 10 and allowed just three balls out of the infield. Hamels has allowed just two baserunners since the first inning. The difference in this 1-1 game is that Strasburg is going to need to exit after six innings, while Hamels should be good for a little while longer. Strasburg was mowing Phillies batters down with...
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