Opposite dugout: Phillies hope second-half momentum carries into 2018

Opposite dugout: Phillies hope second-half momentum carries into 2018
Manager: Pete Mackanin (3rd season) Record: 62-94 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: 1B Rhys Hoskins (.278 with 18 HR, 46 RBIs); 1B Tommy Joseph (.238 with 22 HR, 68 RBIs); 3B Maikel Franco (.231 with 21 HR, 70 RBIs); RHP Aaron Nola (12-10, 3.56 ERA); RHP Héctor Neris (3.18 ERA, 23 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 6-10 Pitching probables: Sep. 25: RHP A.J. Cole vs. RHP Aaron Nola; 7:05 p.m., MASNSep. 26: LHP Gio Gonzalez vs. RHP Jake Thompson; 7:05 p.m., MASNSep. 27: RHP Tanner Roark vs....
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Youth serves as Nats secure back-to-back division titles

Youth serves as Nats secure back-to-back division titles
The Nationals won their second consecutive division title Sunday with a 3-2 win over the Phillies and a 10-8 Braves win in 11 innings that eliminated the Marlins. And it wasn't lost on the players during their celebration that the Sunday clinching lineup included recent prospects, youngsters and guys who have never played in the majors until this season. Sunday's lineup included regular Trea Turner, but also Adrián Sanchez, Wilmer Difo, Victor Robles, Andrew Stevenson, Pedro Severino and...
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Strasburg on target again (Nats win 3-2)

Strasburg on target again (Nats win 3-2)
The combination of Stephen Strasburg and a young lineup desperate to show they belong could be a recipe for difficulty for the Phillies. Strasburg has struck out five in three innings. He has also enjoyed fine catches by right fielder Rafael Bautista and a Sun Monster-conquering catch from rookie Victor Robles. Ben Lively has kept pace for the Phillies. Wilmer Difo doubled in the first and Andrew Stevenson walked in the second, but the Nats have been unable to plate a run through three frames...
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Game 143 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

Game 143 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies
Manager Dusty Baker said Saturday he was going to start the youngsters in Sunday's series finale against the Phillies so his regulars can have two full days off before the Braves arrive Tuesday night. And with a win and a Marlins loss today, the Nationals will lock up their second consecutive National League East crown, and fourth in six seasons. Monday is a scheduled day off. The only regular starter in the lineup is Trea Turner. The big deal is that top prospect Victor Robles makes his first...
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Phillies able to solve Jackson early in 5-4 win over Nats

Phillies able to solve Jackson early in 5-4 win over Nats
Edwin Jackson did not receive a very kind birthday present from the Phillies on Saturday night. They were able to see his pitches very well in a 5-4 setback. The right-hander, now 34 years of age, allowed two early homers to Rhys Hoskins and Maikel Franco that set the tone. The Phillies added three more runs in the fourth. The Nationals battled back from a 5-1 deficit to cut the lead to 5-4, thanks to a two-run shot and RBI single from Michael A. Taylor. Even with the loss, the Nats' magic...
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One-run wins build character, show quality Nats bullpen

One-run wins build character, show quality Nats bullpen
The Nationals are now 25-17 in one-run games after Thursday's 4-3 victory over the Phillies. The victory was the Nats' 34th comeback win of the season. Three of the Nats' last five wins have come by a single run. They have gone 30-16 in series openers this season, as well. These are statistics that could be beneficial come playoff time. There will be opportunities against good teams, most likely in the postseason, where the Nats will be down by one run, or up by one run, in the late...
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Roark, Turner and bullpen lift Nats past Phillies 4-3

Roark, Turner and bullpen lift Nats past Phillies 4-3
Nationals starter Tanner Roark kept his club in the game long enough for a comeback, and then the bullpen shut the door again for three innings in a 4-3 win over the Phillies on Thursday night. The Nats' magic number to clinch the National League East has dropped to four, thanks to the Braves' comeback 6-5 win over the Marlins in Atlanta. Roark went six innings, allowing three runs, and Trea Turner came through with a two-run single in a three-run sixth-inning rally for the Nats' 86th win of...
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De Aza helps Roark's cause (Nats win 4-3)

De Aza helps Roark's cause (Nats win 4-3)
The Nationals got on the board first against the Phillies and Aaron Nola in the first of four games Thursday night at Nats Park. With one out in the second, Michael A. Taylor reached on a throwing error by first baseman Tommy Joseph and promptly stole second base. With two outs, Alejandro De Aza lined a single to left field to score Taylor for a 1-0 Nationals lead. Tanner Roark allowed a solo homer off the bat of Jorge Alfaro in the third. It was Alfaro's second homer of the season and came on...
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Game 140 lineups: Nats. vs Phillies (Victor Robles selected)

Game 140 lineups: Nats. vs Phillies (Victor Robles selected)
The Nationals return home to begin a 10-game home stand with the magic number to clinch the National League East at six as they begin four games against the Phillies. The club made a major announcement prior to the game that their top prospect, center fielder Victor Robles has had his contract selected from Double-A Harrisburg. Also called up are outfielders Andrew Stevenson and Rafael Bautista. The 20-year-old Robles, ranked the No. 4 prospect in the game by MLB.com, hit .344 over his last 10...
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Opposite dugout: Phillies hope Hoskins continues to shine in September

Opposite dugout: Phillies hope Hoskins continues to shine in September
Manager: Pete Mackanin (3rd season) Record: 53-86 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: LF Rhys Hoskins (.309/.425/.734 with 12 HR, 27 RBIs), CF Odúbel Herrera (.288/.333/.465 with 12 HR, 48 RBIs), 1B Tommy Joseph (20 HR, 65 RBIs), RHP Aaron Nola (10-10, 3.72 ERA), RHP Héctor Neris (3.02 ERA with 19 saves)Season series vs. Nationals: 5-7 Pitching probables: Sept. 7: RHP Aaron Nola vs. RHP Tanner Roark, 7:05 p.m., MASNSept. 8: RHP Jake Thompson vs. RHP Max Scherzer, 7:05 p.m., MASN2Sept. 9: RHP...
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Looking at closer issues around baseball

Looking at closer issues around baseball
The Nationals lead the National League East despite a bullpen that brings daily turbulence. This week at Nationals Park they will see first-hand that they aren't the only team with late-inning issues. The Nationals' bullpen ERA (5.40) is 29th in baseball. Seattle's bullpen has the highest ERA in the majors at 5.44, while San Diego is 27th at 5.04. The Mariners and Padres play in D.C. this week. Edwin Díaz, and his blazing fastball, was the Mariners closer at the season's start, but he...
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Harper hurts the Phillies again (Nats fall 4-3, allow three in ninth)

Harper hurts the Phillies again (Nats fall 4-3, allow three in ninth)
The Nationals' Bryce Harper continues to make baseball life difficult for the Phillies. In the bottom of the first, Harper hit a scorching line drive over the right-center field wall to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. The homer was his 12th of the season and came on a 2-1 pitch. He has now hit 20 homers off the Phillies, second most to the 21 he has hit off the Marlins. Anthony Rendon hit his first triple of the season in the next at-bat, but the Nats were unable to bring him home. Left-hander...
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Game 36 lineups: Phillies at Nats Game 1 (Werth update)

Game 36 lineups: Phillies at Nats Game 1 (Werth update)
Still basking in the glow of another Bryce Harper walk-off gem against Philadelphia, the Nationals and Phillies embark on a day-night doubleheader on Mother's Day in the nation's capital. The two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth Saturday night was Harper's second walk-off this season against the Phillies and fifth of his career. Game 1 features left-hander Gio Gonzalez against right-hander Jeremey Hellickson. Manager Dusty Baker has elected to rest left fielder Jayson Werth, who has dealt...
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Opposite dugout: Phillies simultaneously rebuilding and imploding

Opposite dugout: Phillies simultaneously rebuilding and imploding
Manager: Pete Mackanin (3rd season) Record: 13-19 Last 10 games: 2-8 Who to watch: LF Aaron Altherr (.351 with 7 HR), 2B César Hernández (.324 with 5 SB), 3B Maikel Franco (5 HR, 25 RBIs), RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.49 ERA), RHP Héctor Neris (3 saves)Season series vs. Nationals: 4-5 Pitching probables: May 12: RHP Nick Pivetta vs. RHP Tanner Roark, 7:05 p.m., MASNMay 13: RHP Vince Velasquez vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez, 7:05 p.m., MASNMay 14: RHP Jeremy Hellickson vs. RHP Max Scherzer, 1:35...
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Opposite dugout: Phillies coming along, but have plenty to work on

Opposite dugout: Phillies coming along, but have plenty to work on
Manager: Pete Mackanin (3rd season) Record: 12-15 Last 10 games: 4-6 Who to watch: 2B César Hernández (.336 average with 39 hits), 3B Maikel Franco (.231 average with 5 HR, 25 RBIs), RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.18 ERA), RHP Héctor Neris (0-1, 3 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 3-3 Pitching probables: May 5: RHP Stephen Strasburg vs. RHP Nick Pivetta, 7:05 p.m., MASNMay 6: TBA vs. RHP Vince Velasquez, 7:05 p.m., MASNMay 7: RHP Tanner Roark vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson, 2:35 p.m.,...
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Harper homers again for 6-4 walk-off win

Harper homers again for 6-4 walk-off win
Both teams jump on the board quickly in the Sunday finale. The Phillies' César Hernández slammed a 2-0 Gio Gonzalez offering over the left field wall to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. He now has homers in his last two at-bats in the series, three for the season. The Nationals' Adam Eaton answered with a double to begin the bottom of the first. Anthony Rendon then bounced a ground-rule double over the left-center field wall to score Eaton and tie the game at 1-1. In the third with one...
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Pitchers in control early on (Phillies win 4-2)

Pitchers in control early on (Phillies win 4-2)
Right-handers Tanner Roark and Jeremy Hellickson are in a Saturday afternoon pitchers' duel between the Nationals and Phillies. Roark has not allowed a baserunner in the first three innings, retiring nine straight batters. He struck out the last two he faced in Freddy Galvis and Hellickson. Hellickson also did well in the first two frames, although the Nats have reached deep right field on lineouts by Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy and a flyout by Ryan Zimmerman. With one out in the third, the...
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Opposite dugout: Phillies coming off three-game sweep by Mets

Opposite dugout: Phillies coming off three-game sweep by Mets
Manager: Pete Mackanin (4th season) Record: 3-6 Last 10 games: 3-6 Who to watch: LF Howie Kendrick (.355, 5 RBIs), CF Odúbel Herrera (.313/.421/.375), SS Freddy Galvis (2 HR), 3B Maikel Franco (2 HR, 8 RBIs), RHP Aaron Nola (1-0, 4.50 ERA), RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-0, 0.90 ERA), RHP Joaquín Benoit (0.00 ERA in 4 games) Season series vs. Nationals: 2-1 Pitching probables: April 14: RHP Aaron Nola vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg, 4:05 p.m., MASN April 15: RHP Jeremy Hellickson vs. RHP Tanner...
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Opposite dugout: Rebuilding Phillies could pose a pesky problem

Opposite dugout: Rebuilding Phillies could pose a pesky problem
Manager: Pete Mackanin (4th season) Record: 1-2 Last 10 games: 1-2 Who to watch: 3B Maikel Franco (25 HR, 88 RBIs), 2B César Hernández (.294/.371/.393 with 17 SB), CF Odúbel Herrera (.296 with 15 HR, 25 SB), 1B Tommy Joseph (21 HR), SS Freddy Galvis (21 HR), RHP Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 3.71 ERA), RHP Jeanmar Gómez (43 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: First meeting (5-14 in 2016) Pitching probables: April 7: RHP Max Scherzer (20-7, 2.96 ERA) vs. RHP Vince Velasquez (8-6, 4.12...
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What each NL East team needs this offseason

What each NL East team needs this offseason
The Chicago Cubs' agony is over. They are celebrating their first World Series championship since 1908 after beating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings at Progressive Field in Cleveland. And this might not be a one-time thing for the franchise of Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg and Ferguson Jenkins. The Cubs are built for the long haul. The Cubs have two free agents - Aroldis Chapman and Dexter Fowler - and plenty of money to retain them. They also have their entire infield - Kris Bryant,...
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