A whole lot of nothing against Kyle Kendrick (we're through seven)

A whole lot of nothing against Kyle Kendrick (we're through seven)
Through five innings, the Nationals have not managed a single run and have put up just three base hits - all singles - off Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick, who the Nats lit up on Wednesday, has let just four balls out of the infield. Of the 15 outs he's retired, 12 have been via the ground ball, and the Nationals' best threat so far only came after the Phillies starter chucked a pickoff throw down the right field line, allowing Kurt Suzuki to move from first to third. The play brought a large crowd...
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Remembering 2010: Nationals have chance to turn tables on Phillies

Remembering 2010: Nationals have chance to turn tables on Phillies
The Phillies defeated the Nationals 8-0 on September 27, 2010, before 14,309 at Nationals Park, to clinch the NL East crown. The Nationals managed just two hits that day, as Roy Halladay tossed a complete game for his 21st win. A look back at the starting lineups that day: Phillies Victorino CF Polanco 3B Utley 2B Howard 1B Werth RF Ibanez LF Ruiz C Valdez SS Halladay P Subs: Wilson Nationals Espinosa 2B Morgan CF Desmond SS Dunn 1B Morse RF Bernadina LF Ramos C Gonzalez 3B Lannan...
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Suzuki gets 10th straight start

Suzuki gets 10th straight start
Kurt Suzuki has told manager Davey Johnson in the past that he has no problem starting every single game. Until the Nationals clinch the NL East title, Johnson is taking Suzuki up on his offer. Suzuki's getting the start behind the plate for the 10th straight day, a very lengthy streak for a catcher. In the last nine games, Suzuki is batting .294 with a home run and seven RBIs, so Johnson doesn't want to go away from the hot hand. He'll stick with Suzuki until the Nats are able to lock up...
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Lannan gets the call to clinch division for Nationals on Monday

Lannan gets the call to clinch division for Nationals on Monday
It is with a bit more than just a little irony that the Nationals have three chances to clinch their first NL East title, at home, against the Phillies, and with none other than left-hander John Lannan getting the call. Lannan gets the start because it is his turn in the rotation in a season where he has made only five starts with the Nationals. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg? No, he reached his innings limit. Gio Gonzalez? He gets the chance Tuesday. Edwin Jackson, Jordan Zimmermann and...
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This, that and tonight's lineups

This, that and tonight's lineups
PHILADELPHIA - In New York, R.A. Dickey is in line for his 20th win of the season, which would tie him with Gio Gonzalez for the most in the majors. Dickey notched 13 strikeouts through 7 2/3 innings of work, allowing three runs. The NL Cy Young race between Gonzalez, Dickey and Braves closer Craig Kimbrel looks like it'll come down to the wire. Gonzalez will have a chance to bolster his chances tonight when he faces the Phillies in the series finale between these two teams. The Reds beat...
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The Phillies keep chipping away (Nats win a thriller 8-4)

The Phillies keep chipping away (Nats win a thriller 8-4)
PHILADELPHIA - What was a 5-0 lead after the top of the second inning has become a tight ballgame as we go to the eighth. Nothing's been easy for the Nationals this season, has it? The Nats' lead is down to two, as the Phillies have chipped into the Washington advantage with single runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings. Jimmy Rollins' solo homer off Ryan Mattheus made it 5-3, but it's the Nationals' inability to do anything off the Philadelphia bullpen which has let the home...
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Espinosa out of Nats' lineup

Espinosa out of Nats' lineup
PHILADELPHIA - A day after Nationals manager Davey Johnson said that all hands would be on deck until the Nationals clinched the division, Danny Espinosa is out of the lineup. Espinosa got a cortisone shot in his aching shoulder last Monday and has played in all eight games (with seven starts) since then, batting .348 with two RBIs and three doubles. His production has returned, and Espinosa told me yesterday that his shoulder was feeling fine. That all makes it a bit surprising that he's...
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Detwiler on his performance: "It was embarrassing"

Detwiler on his performance: "It was embarrassing"
PHILADELPHIA - Ross Detwiler is usually pretty tough on himself after a poor outing. Tonight, given how close the Nationals are to clinching the National League East and how few starts he has left this season, Detwiler didn't hold back when asked about his performance in the Nationals' 6-3 loss to the Phillies. "It was embarrassing," a dejected Detwiler said after the game. The Nationals have watched the Phillies celebrate in person three times in the last five years. In both 2007 and...
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Johnson discusses Nats' 6-3 loss

Johnson discusses Nats' 6-3 loss
PHILADELPHIA - The combination of the Nationals' loss to the Phillies and the Braves' dramatic walk-off win over the Marlins leaves Washington's lead in the NL East at four with eight games to go in the regular season. Your thoughts, Davey Johnson? "Just got to win tomorrow," the Nationals' skipper said. "We lost a battle today, we've got to win a battle tomorrow. Want to win the war." The Nats aren't panicking yet. They would've liked to keep pace with Atlanta today and cut into...
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Lannan heating up, Phils looming down the stretch

Lannan heating up, Phils looming down the stretch
John Lannan is starting to heat up at the right time. The expected replacement for Stephen Strasburg in the Nationals rotation (once Strasburg is shut down) was named the International League Player of the Week for August 20-26. Lannan, who has spent nearly this entire season with Triple-A Syracuse, threw a complete-game, three-hit shutout Saturday in a 1-0 win over Gwinnett. The left-hander threw just 87 pitches, walked one and struck out two. Over his last four starts for Syracuse, Lannan...
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During losing string, bullpen having trouble bridging

During losing string, bullpen having trouble bridging
One reason for the Nationals' four-game losing streak is the bullpen's inability to hold the game at one or two runs. In every one of the four games the Nationals have lost since Wednesday, relievers have allowed at least one run. On Thursday, the Braves scored three runs in the ninth to extend a 2-1 lead to 5-1. Atlanta won the game by that score. On Friday, the Phillies tallied a crucial run in the eighth after the Nats had pulled with 3-2 on a Tyler Moore two-run homer just an inning...
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Addressing a few key topics after a weekend to forget

Addressing a few key topics after a weekend to forget
If it's not too painful, let's take a little time to nibble on some leftovers from this weekend's three-game sweep in Philadelphia. Settle in. Grab some coffee. There are a few topics to discuss. Topic No. 1: Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson met after yesterday's game and Johnson was heard getting a bit heated during the discussion in his office, shouting, "You come down and manage the team!" Yes, this happened. Is this a big deal? Is it a sign of the team morale deteriorating or an...
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Nats far from concerned over three-game mini-skid

Nats far from concerned over  three-game mini-skid
PHILADELPHIA - Look out, everyone. The Nationals have lost three games in a row. The best team in baseball is starting to fall apart. "Three! Ugh. We're ready to quit," Ryan Zimmerman said last night, tongue firmly planted in cheek. "Everything's going to go into shambles." In all seriousness, from the reaction of many fans on Twitter last night, you'd think the Nationals' season was crumbling to the ground. They've dropped three straight games, yes, but still hold the best...
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Nats can't touch Kendrick (Nats lose 4-2)

Nats can't touch Kendrick (Nats lose 4-2)
PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals just can't seem to solve Kyle Kendrick this season. Against teams who don't wear a Curly W on their helmets, Kendrick has been average at best, making 15 starts and pitching to a 4.52 ERA. In starts against the Nationals, Kendrick has put up a 1.50 ERA over 18 innings. The Phillies right-hander has now made three starts against the Nats this season. Tonight, he's thrown six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits in the process. Overall, Kendrick has been...
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Suzuki, Desmond both in Nats lineup

Suzuki, Desmond both in Nats lineup
PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals kick off a brief five-game road trip tonight against the Phillies, who come into this three-game set riding a bit of an emotional high after last night's walk-off win over the Reds. The Cincinnati loss puts the Nats three games up on the Reds in the loss column for the best record in baseball. The Nats also got some help from the Giants last night, as the Braves dropped a game out west to push them 6 1/2 games back in the National League East. The Nats will send...
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Revisiting a couple of criticized spring predictions

Revisiting a couple of criticized spring predictions
Before the start of the 2012 season, a late-August series between the Nationals and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park might have sounded like a highly dramatic divisional clash. Instead, this upcoming three-game series in the City of Brotherly Love will pit a first-place team against one which sits 19 1/2 games back in the National League East. Given the Phillies' issues this season and the tear the Nats have been on, I wouldn't be surprised to see a good amount of Curly Ws in the stands over...
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Even with Phillies down, Nats know journey to pennant goes through Philly

Even with Phillies down, Nats know journey to pennant goes through Philly
The Nationals head on the road to Philadelphia and Miami for the next six days, but they have felt right at home living out of a suitcase this season. Another major component of why the Nationals are so good this year has been their ability to play their best baseball on the road. The 41-23 record (.641) is six victories better than their nearest competition. Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Cincinnati all have 35 wins away from home. The Nationals have won 14 of their last 17 games on the...
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Upon further review, Nationals have really gotten to those Phillies

Upon further review, Nationals have really gotten to those Phillies
The Nationals have become a machine. Rolling through the National League, they have amassed 70 wins, the first team in the majors to do so. With Jayson Werth back in the lineup and Michael Morse swinging the hottest of bats, the Nationals have added consistent offense to what has been the best pitching in the league for the first 100 games. And then there are the Phillies. Wait a minute, you mean, and then there are the Braves. Absolutely, the Braves are also humming along. They have...
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A few bad pitches, a few missed opportunities

A few bad pitches, a few missed opportunities
The Phillies hit so many balls hard off Edwin Jackson tonight that the Nationals starter initially thought he might have been tipping his pitches. After going back and watching some film, Jackson shot down that theory. He came away from that mini film session with a new idea of why he surrendered three home runs and gave up eight hits over 5 2/3 innings. "I just got hurt on balls up in the zone," Jackson said. Yeah, that'll usually do it. "Got behind in some counts," Jackson...
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Bats absent in Nationals' 3-2 loss

Bats absent in Nationals' 3-2 loss
In the 18 innings played so far in this series, the Nationals have scored just two runs off Phillies pitching. Think they miss Ryan Zimmerman, who has been out of the starting lineup for both of these games because of a back injury? The Nats dropped their second straight contest to the rival Phils tonight, this one by a 3-2 score. Phillies starter Vance Worley held the Nationals to just two runs (both unearned) on six hits over his seven innings of work. He walked just one and needed only 86...
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