With the new year here and spring training hopefully right around the corner, we’re ramping up this week’s “Nationals Classics” on MASN to examine some of the strongest performances ever by guys with a curly W on their caps.
When talking about the club’s great pitchers, Stephen Strasburg is always mentioned - and with good reason. Two of his finest performances - a sparking debut and a playoff clincher - are among this week’s broadcasts.
Ditto for Ryan Zimmerman, the Nats’ first draft pick after their arrival in D.C. in 2005. It didn’t take long before the former University of Virginia star was earning his keep as a major league slugger and rightfully earning the moniker of “Mr. Walk-off.”
So ward off the winter chill with some Nationals highlights from days gone by.
Thursday, Jan. 14 - 9 a.m. - On Sept. 10, 2017, Strasburg took the hill as the Nationals faced the Phillies on South Capitol Street on Sept. 17, 2017. A 3-2 victory clinched Washington’s fourth National League East crown in six years and Strasburg allowed two hits with 10 strikeouts through eight scoreless innings.
Thursday, Jan. 14 - 7 p.m. - This July 31, 2010 game against the Phillies was also a Nationals win, a 7-5 triumph courtesy of Zimmerman’s three-run walk-off homer against Brad Lidge.
Friday, Jan. 15 - 1 p.m. - When Max Scherzer gets rolling, no one can hit him. The Royals found that out on July 6, 2019 as Mad Max scattered four hits over seven scoreless frames, fanning 11 in a 6-0 whitewashing. Kurt Suzuki and Juan Soto drove in two runs apiece.
Friday, Jan. 15 - 7 p.m. - the Nats rallied from a four-run deficit against the Yankees on May 19, 2015, claiming an 8-6 triumph in 10 innings. Zimmerman again played the hero, taking Andrew Miller deep down the right field line for a two-run walk-off homer.
Saturday, Jan. 16 - 7 p.m. - Another day, another Zimmerman walk-off blast. This time, the Marlins were the victims in a 5-4 Washington victory. The Fish took a 4-2 lead with a two-run ninth, but Willie Harris led off the home half of the inning with a solo blast, Christian Guzmán doubled and Zimmerman crushed a Juan Carlos Oviedo pitch over the wall in left-center for the game-winner.
Sunday, Jan. 17 - 11:30 p.m. - After blowing a save against the Reds in the ninth inning on April 12, 2012, the Nats didn’t wait long to end the game. Zimmerman led off the home 10th with a single, moved to third on Werth’s one-out single and scored on a wild pitch,
Monday, Jan. 18 - 11:30 p.m. - The Reds and Nats engaged in a pitchers’ dual on April 26, 2013, with Jordan Zimmermann’s complete-game one-hitter and Jayson Werth’s RBI single giving the home team a 1-0 win in its home opener.
Tuesday, Jan. 19 - 3 p.m. - In the first of two games against the Braves on Sept. 17 2013, a three-run ninth inning provided a 6-5 victory. Craig Kimbrel couldn’t close out a 5-3 win, allowing a pair of walks and a single to load the bases before a run-scoring groundout by pinch-hitter Chad Tracy before shortstop Andrelton Simmons’ fielding error plated the tying and winning runs.
Tuesday, Jan. 19 - 7 p.m. - We promised you Strasburg’s strikeout-packed debut from June 8, 2010, and here it is. The Pirates didn’t have a lot of success against the right-hander, who checked them on two runs on four hits through seven frames with 14 punchouts in a 5-2 victory. Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham homered for the Nats.
Tuesday, Jan. 19 - 11:30 p.m. - A couple of weeks before Strasburg’s electrifying first major league game, the Nats beat the Orioles in 10 innings in interleague action on May 23, 2010. Willingham’s blast to left-center was the decisive run in a 4-3 victory.