#TBT to “Nationals Classics”: A nice mix of offensive and mound highlights

Few things in baseball are better than a home run.

Face it, the second you hear the ball ricochet off the bat and start tracking the trajectory of the missile, your heart starts beating a little bit faster. Even if you can’t quite focus on the cowhide, you can always check out the positioning of the outfielder. When he doesn’t turn, you know good things are coming.

So this week’s smattering of “Nationals Classics” on MASN will provide plenty of offensive fireworks. Round-trippers, homeric hoists, taters, blasts, circuit clouts, quadrangulars - whatever you call them, we’ll have plenty this week. If you’ve got to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic, might as well settle back in your comfy recliner and watch baseballs sailing over the fences.

And the folks who favor pitching won’t be unhappy with some of the best mound highlights in Nationals history. We’ve got shutdown performances, milestone wins and strikeouts galore.

Enjoy this week’s “Nationals Classics” on MASN!

Thursday, April 30 - 9 a.m. - In his seven seasons with the Nationals, slugger Bryce Harper accumulated 219 home runs, but this May 6, 2015 game against the Marlins stands out. Harper went deep three times in three at-bats, the only time in his Nationals career he recorded a trifecta.

Thursday, April 30, 7 p.m. - Game 4 of the 2017 National League Division Series provided highlights for both pitching and offensive aficianados. Stephen Strasburg spun seven shutout innings of three-hit ball to force a winner-take-all Game 5 and Michael A. Taylor’s grand slam powered the Nationals to a 5-0 victory.

Thursday, April 30 - 11:30 p.m. - Our tripleheader wraps up with one of the top offensive performances in Nationals history. On July 7, 2018, Mark Reynolds was a one-man wrecking crew, going 5-for-5, swatting two home runs and driving in 10 runs as the Nats walloped the Marlins 18-4.

Saturday, May 2 - 10 a.m. - Strasburg’s start against the Reds on July 3, 2016 was about as good as it gets. The right-hander went 6 2/3 innings and failed to allow a hit, but having thrown 109 pitches, yielded to the bullpen to finish out a 12-1 romp. Danny Espinosa homered twice in support of Strasburg, and Wilson Ramos, Harper, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Drew also connected.

Saturday, May 2 - 7 p.m. - Strasburg may not have been at his best versus the White Sox on June 4, 2016, surrendering five runs on five hits over five innings, but the offense was supportive enough to help him record his 100th career victory. Rendon and Victor Robles homered in a six-run fifth that propelled the Nats to a 9-5 interleague triumph.

Sunday, May 3 - 3:30 p.m. - What’s a roundup of “Nationals Classics” without a Ryan Zimmerman game-winning homer? On June 24, 2014, Rendon’s eighth-inning homer at Miller Park in Milwaukee knotted the score at 2-2 - and that’s the way it stood until the 16th inning, when Zimmerman blasted a two-run shot to deep left-center to give the Nats a 4-2 victory.

Sunday, May 3 - 11:30 p.m. - Zimmerman was the hero on July 6, 2010, walking off the Padres in the bottom of the ninth. Zimmerman struck on an 0-1 Luke Gregerson offering, depositing the ball over the fence in center field for a 6-5 Nationals win.

Monday, May 4 - 9 a.m. - Start your “Star Wars” Day celebration with this extra-inning victory over the Cardinals from April 21, 2015. The Redbirds scratched a run off Drew Storen in the ninth to deadlock the game at 1-1. Then, in the home 10th, Yunel Escobar stepped to the plate and ended things with a two-out solo homer to left-center.

Monday, May 4 - 7 p.m. - Juan Soto’s homer against the Padres on May 21, 2018 was his first as a starter, a three-run shot that was part of a four-homer Nationals barrage in a 10-2 shellacking of the Padres. Reynolds had a pair of home runs and Harper’s solo shot completed the power parade against Padres pitching.

Tuesday, May 5 - 1 p.m. - What’s better than a grand slam? How about a pair of salamis? On July 27, 2009, Josh Willingham hit two four-run four-baggers in a 14-6 rout at Milwaukee. Zimmerman also homered for Washington.

Wednesday, May 6 - 12:30 p.m. - We close this week’s “Nationals Classics” with another tripleheader. Adam Dunn was swinging the hot stick on May 24, 2009 against the Orioles, homering twice, including a grand slam, to power an 8-5 win for the Nationals in the Battle of the Beltways.

Wednesday, May 6 - 7 p.m. - Max Scherzer’s outing against the Marlins on Sept. 25, 2018 put the finishing touches on quite a spectacular season. Scherzer fried the Fish, striking out 10 over seven innings and reaching the 300-strikeout plateau in a 9-4 victory for the Nats.

Wednesday, May 6 - 11 p.m. - Trailing 5-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth on July 31, 2010, the Nationals rallied against Phillies closer Brad Lidge. Michael Morse singled, Adam Kennedy drew a one-out walk and Zimmerman did the rest, crushing a three-run walk-off homer to give the Nats a 7-5 triumph.

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