Opposite dugout: Rays' bats show improvement as team emerges from rough patch

Opposite dugout: Rays' bats show improvement as team emerges from rough patch
Manager: Joe Maddon, ninth year Record: 32-48 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: 3B Evan Longoria (.264/.330/.405, 10 HR, 37 RBIs); 1B James Loney (.289/.344/.381, 21 XBH, 38 RBIs); RF Kevin Kiermaier (.300/.354/.567, 8 doubles, 4 HR, 9 RBIs); RHP Alex Cobb (2-6, 4.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) Season series vs. O's: 1-7, 18 runs scored, 35 runs allowed Pitching probables June 27 (Game 1): Alex Colome vs. Kevin Gausman, 1 p.m., MASN2 HD June 27 (Game 2): Jake Odorizzi vs. Chris Tillman, 7 p.m., MASN2...
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Opposite dugout: Health issues, offensive ineffectiveness lead Rays to worst record in baseball

Opposite dugout: Health issues, offensive ineffectiveness lead Rays to worst record in baseball
Manager: Joe Maddon, ninth year Record: 27-43 Last 10 games: 4-6 Who to watch: 3B Evan Longoria (.265/.331/.397, 8 HR, 32 RBIs); OF Kevin Kiermaier (.333/.391/.651, 12 XBH, 4 RBIs); LHP Erik Bedard (3-4, 3.83 ERA); RHP Alex Cobb (2-4, 3.99 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) Season series vs. O's: 0-5, 8 runs scored, 22 runs allowed Pitching probables June 16: Jake Odorizzi vs. Wei-Yin Chen, 7 p.m., MASN HD June 17: Erik Bedard vs. Miguel Gonzalez, 7 p.m., MASN HD June 18: Alex Cobb vs. Kevin Gausman, 1 p.m.,...
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Opposite dugout: Rays' bats helping to compensate for pitching injuries

Opposite dugout: Rays' bats helping to compensate for pitching injuries
Manager: Joe Maddon, ninth year Record: 15-17 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: 3B Evan Longoria (.276/.333/.409, 3 HR, 17 RBIs); CF Desmond Jennings (.294/.386/.505, 4 HR, 9 doubles, 6 SB, 10 RBIs); LHP David Price (3-2, 4.44 ERA, 55 K); LHP Cesar Ramos (1-1, 2.91 ERA) Season series vs. O's: 0-2, 1 run scored, 10 runs allowed Pitching probables May 6: Chris Archer vs. Chris Tillman, 7 p.m., MASN2 HD May 7: Cesar Ramos vs. Bud Norris, 7 p.m., MASN HD May 8: David Price vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, 7...
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Opposite dugout: Same old Rays ride arms into first meeting with O's

Opposite dugout: Same old Rays ride arms into first meeting with O's
Manager: Joe Maddon, ninth year Record: 7-6 Last 10 games: 6-4 Who to watch: OF Matt Joyce (.355/.475/.613, 2 HR, 7 RBIs); 2B Ben Zobrist (.277/.382/.489, 3 HR, 6 RBIs); LHP David Price (2-0, 2.91 ERA, 21 2/3 IP, 22 K, 2 BB); RHP Grant Balfour (4 saves, 0.00 ERA, .071 BAA) Season series vs. O's (2013): 13-6, 104 runs scored, 86 runs allowed Pitching probables April 14: Chris Archer vs. Wei-Yin Chen, 7 p.m., MASN HD April 15: Jake Odorizzi vs. Miguel Gonzalez, 7 p.m., MASN HD April 16: David...
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Report: Nats and Rays discussing Lobaton-for-Karns trade

Report: Nats and Rays discussing Lobaton-for-Karns trade
VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have been interested in Rays catcher Jose Lobaton for a little while now. A report late this afternoon tosses out right-hander Nathan Karns as a guy who might be able to help the Nats land Lobaton in a deal with Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the Nats and Rays are talking about a Lobaton trade, with Karns serving as part of Tampa Bay's potential return for the 29-year-old catcher. Other players could be involved in the trade, according to the...
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Nats acquire lefty Matthew Spann from Rays, completing DeJesus trade

Nats acquire lefty Matthew Spann from Rays, completing DeJesus trade
The Nationals acquired left-hander Matthew Spann from the Rays today, completing the trade that sent outfielder David DeJesus to Tampa Bay for a player to be named. Spann, 22, went 4-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 19 games (four starts) for Bowling Green of the Single-A Midwest League this season. After working primarily as a starter the last two seasons, Spann was moved to the bullpen most of this year, and posted a 2.50 ERA in 15 relief appearances. The lefty had just 35 strikeouts and 21 walks in...
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Espinosa comes through in the clutch (Nats win 5-2)

Espinosa comes through in the clutch (Nats win 5-2)
Danny Espinosa has gotten a handful of big hits this season. Not many of them have come when he's been hitting left-handed. The dramatic difference in Espinosa's lefty/righty splits has been well-documented, but tonight, the Nationals second baseman came through with a monster hit in the sixth inning, plating two runs with a double to right. And the go-ahead knock came from the left side of the plate. It gave the Nats a 4-2 lead as we go to the seventh, and put Gio Gonzalez in line for the...
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Peralta suspended, Storen to face hitters tomorrow

Peralta suspended, Storen to face hitters tomorrow
The Major League Baseball league office has spoken. Joel Peralta has been suspended eight games for having an illegal substance in his glove Tuesday night. The Rays reliever will appeal the suspension, meaning he's still available to be used tonight in the series finale against the Nationals. Peralta faced two hitters last night and retired them both. Keeping on the reliever topic, Nats closer Drew Storen has now thrown a handful of bullpen sessions, the latest of which was yesterday....
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Nady back in lineup, Moore at first (Meyer to play in Futures Game)

Nady back in lineup, Moore at first (Meyer to play in Futures Game)
Facing Rays lefty Matt Moore, Xavier Nady is back in the Nationals' lineup tonight, playing left field and hitting seventh. The veteran outfielder will look to improve his .143 average on the season. Adam LaRoche will also get a day off, with the right-handed hitting Tyler Moore starting at first base. LaRoche has been nursing an oblique issue for much of the season and also fouled a ball off his right foot a little over a week ago. Against a lefty, manager Davey Johnson apparently feels...
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Nats lean on their "true No. 1" yet again

Nats lean on their "true No. 1" yet again
Stephen Strasburg's outing tonight started in a somewhat bizarre fashion. As the Nationals ace was preparing to step onto the mound and throw his first pitch to the Rays' Desmond Jennings, home plate umpire Jeff Nelson came walking out to the mound. After all that went on yesterday with GloveGate, Strasburg assumed that Nelson was going to check his glove for a foreign substance. Turns out, the ump just wanted to see if the ball in Strasburg's hand had been scuffed up on catcher Jesus...
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Nationals' Harper and Lombardozzi showcase bat and glove to topple Rays

Nationals' Harper and Lombardozzi showcase bat and glove to topple Rays
The Nationals' young tandem of left fielder Steve Lombardozzi and center fielder Bryce Harper haven't had that much time to play together in the outfield, but their defensive play and timely early offense was enough to lift the Nationals past Tampa Bay 3-2, snapping a four-game skid. Might be hard to believe the duo has played all of 69 games in the outfield at the major league level, with 63 starts. Harper has made 45 starts this season with 109 putouts, one assist, one double play and four...
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Clinging to a late-inning lead (Nats win 3-2)

Clinging to a late-inning lead (Nats win 3-2)
As Joel Peralta starts to get loose in the Rays bullpen ... Yes. That's actually happening. Peralta still hasn't been suspended yet, and is eligible to pitch tonight. I'm sure his glove is squeaky clean. The Nationals have a 3-2 lead as we go to the eighth inning, even though they haven't recorded a hit since the first. Washington struck for three runs on three hits in that first inning, battering Rays rookie Chris Archer, who looked shaken and uncomfortable. That didn't last long,...
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Rizzo supports Johnson's decision to have Peralta checked (plus game update)

Rizzo supports Johnson's decision to have Peralta checked (plus game update)
In this entry, I'll have quotes from the Nationals general manager, who responded to quotes from the Rays manager, who responded to quotes from the Nationals manager, who responded to quotes from the Rays manager. GloveGate just keeps on going. Shortly after Rays skipper Joe Maddon came down on the Nationals (again), saying that if he was a player, he'd think twice before signing with the Nats after last night's pine tar incident, Rizzo responded to that take. "I don't agree with it,"...
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Rays' Maddon advises future players to reconsider signing with Nats

Rays' Maddon advises future players to reconsider signing with Nats
The war of words in Pine Tar Gate escalated following Tuesday's incident where Rays reliever and former Nationals pitcher Joel Peralta was ejected for an "excessive amount of a foreign substance in or around his glove", according to the umpiring crew. The umpires were tipped off when Nationals manager Davey Johnson asked that Peralta's glove be checked for pine tar. Apparently, Davey found out through someone in the Nationals dugout that Peralta may have pine tar in his glove, which is...
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Nats lineup vs. Rays rookie Chris Archer

Nats lineup vs. Rays rookie Chris Archer
In his first major league start, Rays right-hander Chris Archer will get tossed right into a potentially volatile situation. After last night's GloveGate, tensions might be high tonight as the Nationals and Rays meet up in game two of this three-game series. Archer was called up from Triple-A to start tonight after Tampa Bay's original starter, Jeremy Hellickson, was scratched because of a shoulder injury. The 23-year-old Archer came over to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, and has posted a...
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Nats react to Peralta's pine tar incident

Nats react to Peralta's pine tar incident
You've seen the quotes from the Rays' side about the Joel Peralta ejection due to illegal use of pine tar, courtesy of MASNsports.com's Pete Kerzel. Now let's hear from the Nationals. Manager Davey Johnson said postgame that he had gotten word from people within the organization that Peralta (who pitched for the Nats in 2010) is fond of putting pine tar in his glove, which can help create a better grip on the baseball during a hot night like tonight. "He pitched here. I don't think...
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Rays' Peralta ejected for "foreign substance" on glove (Nats lose 5-4)

Rays' Peralta ejected for "foreign substance" on glove (Nats lose 5-4)
Weird, wild stuff is happening here in D.C. as we get ready to start the eighth inning of a 5-4 ballgame. Rays reliever Joel Peralta, who pitched for the Nationals during the 2010 season, was ejected for having an "illegal substance" on or in his glove. The ejection happened before Peralta threw a single pitch in the eighth inning. All four umpires came out to the mound, as did the entire Rays infield and manager Joe Maddon. The umpires, including crew chief and home plate umpire Tim...
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It doesn't get any easier

It doesn't get any easier
I can't believe I'm actually asking this question right now, but is there a better starting pitcher in baseball as of today than R.A. Dickey? The guy who spent time with four organizations over a five-year span from 2006-2010, the guy who two years ago started the season in Triple-A, the guy who throws a knuckleball for God's sake, is the pitcher who no one in the majors wants to face right now. Dickey dominated the Nationals nearly two weeks ago, holding them scoreless over 7 1/3 innings...
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LaRoche after sweep by Yankees: "We got some work to do"

LaRoche after sweep by Yankees: "We got some work to do"
The Nationals rolled back into town after sweeping six in a row on the road. With the Yankees arriving just as hot, there was anticipation the Nats had a chance to make a statement. This statement would not just be to the mid-Atlantic region, but to the nation, if they could compete and beat the team that usually sets the tone for all of Major League Baseball. The Nationals competed for sure, but came up short, scoring just six runs in the series and falling in all three games. Panic time?...
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Catch him if you can: Burns flying in Hagerstown

Catch him if you can: Burns flying in Hagerstown
Outfielder
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