Opposite dugout: Cubs host streaking Nats in Windy City for three-game weekend series

Opposite dugout: Cubs host streaking Nats in Windy City for three-game weekend series
Manager: Joe Maddon (4th season) Record: 66-48 Last 10 games: 6-4 Who to watch: 2B Javier Báez (25 HR, 88 RBIs, 19 SB), LF Kyle Schwarber (20 HR, 48 RBIs), 1B Anthony Rizzo (17 HR, 74 RBI), 3B David Bote (.338), RHP Pedro Strop (2.74 ERA, 8 SV) Season series vs. Nationals: 0-0 Pitching probables: Aug. 10: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (5-2) vs. RHP Kyle Hendricks (8-9), 2:20 p.m., MASNAug. 11: RHP Tanner Roark (6-12) vs. LHP Jon Lester (12-4), 4:05 p.m., MASNAug. 12: RHP Max Scherzer (15-5) vs. LHP...
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Liz Barr: Resurgent Roark getting second-half results

Liz Barr: Resurgent Roark getting second-half results
He stumbled, but he got back up again. Many lost faith in him, but he proved them wrong. Tanner Roark is back and better than ever, and it appears he's re-finding the form he had in 2016, the year in which he came in 10th place in National League Cy Young Award voting. Whether or not he's that good again has yet to be seen, but nevertheless, Roark has found brand-new second-half life. Throughout his career, Roark has always been a second-half pitcher. His career first-half ERA is 4.05, while...
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Opposite dugout: Braves aim to stay in the thick of NL East race

Opposite dugout: Braves aim to stay in the thick of NL East race
Manager: Brian Snitker (3rd season) Record: 60-48 Last 10 games: 6-4 Who to watch: 1B Freddie Freeman (.316 average with 18 HR, 69 RBIs), RF Nick Markakis (.319 average with 68 RBIs, 135 hits), CF Ender Inciarte (.253 average with 105 hits, 23 stolen bases), 2B Ozzie Albies (.276 average with 20 HR, 123 hits), LHP Sean Newcomb (10-5, 3.23 ERA), RHP Mike Foltynewicz (8-7, 3.04 ERA), CL A.J. Minter (2.98 ERA, 8 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 7-5 Pitching probables: Aug. 7: LHP Max Fried...
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Marty Niland: Nats need streak like they had in 2014 to get back in the race

Marty Niland: Nats need streak like they had in 2014 to get back in the race
The Nationals have played their best baseball of the season since the All-Star break, and especially since Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline, yet they're still looking up at Atlanta and first-place Philadelphia in the National League East standings. What they really need right now is a winning streak, one like the amazing 10-game run they put together four years ago this month that secured their place at the top of the division. Like this season, the Nats were under the guidance of a...
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Ryan Sullivan: Max Scherzer is a diamond in a rough season

Ryan Sullivan: Max Scherzer is a diamond in a rough season
The 2018 season for the Nationals can best be summarized thus far with the words frustrating and disappointing. There have been lengthy injuries to players like Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman, and mediocre on-field performances from others. Just this week, Washington traded a player due to reported clubhouse issues and designated another for assignment for bizarrely slamming his glove in anger during a 25-4 victory. A team that was supposed to coast to the National League East...
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Rendon, teammates visit Nationals Youth Baseball Academy

Rendon, teammates visit Nationals Youth Baseball Academy
Before they took the field against the Reds tonight to start a four-game series, third baseman Anthony Rendon and some of his Nationals teammates spent time this afternoon visiting with scholar-athletes at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. Rendon was joined by Juan Soto, Tanner Roark, Spencer Kieboom and other members of the Nationals. The visit highlighted the historic championship by the Mamie Johnson Little League 12-U team and the end of the summer programming at the Youth...
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Opposite dugout: Reds headed toward yet another last-place finish

Opposite dugout: Reds headed toward yet another last-place finish
Manager: Jim Riggleman (1st season) Record: 48-60 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: 3B Eugenio Suárez (.300 with 24 HR, 81 RBIs); 1B Joey Votto (.289 with 109 hits, 22 2B); 2B Scooter Gennett (.313 with 17 HR, 67 RBIs); SS José Peraza (.284 with 118 hits, 17 SB); RHP Matt Harvey (5-4, 4.44 ERA); RHP Tyler Mahle (7-8, 4.53 ERA); RHP Raisel Iglesias (2.11 ERA, 21 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 0-3 Pitching probables: Aug. 2: RHP Tyler Mahle (7-8) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (14-5); 7:05 p.m.,...
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Liz Barr: Nationals rotation getting back on track

Liz Barr: Nationals rotation getting back on track
The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Nationals are still finding out who they are. The road has been a little bit rocky, but of late, the starting pitching seems to have found its footing, and over the last week, the pitchers have been dynamite and have been doing their best to lead the Nationals to success. It all started with Tanner Roark turning it around and having one of the best games of his life. After working with the now-traded Brandon Kintzler on his pitches, Roark faced the...
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MASN brings Fan Challenge back to Nats fans

MASN brings Fan Challenge back to Nats fans
Attention all Nationals fans: The CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Fan Challenge is back, and we want you to challenge rookie sensation Juan Soto to anything! You know that Soto is confident. The 19-year-old is probably better than you at hitting homers and chasing down balls in the outfield, but can you beat him in a cook-off, cornhole or a round of putt-putt? Whatever your challenge it is, tweet it to @masnNationals using #GoJuan. He'll pick a winner to face off in a head-to-head...
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Marty Niland: Hall of Fame still elusive for ex-Senators manager Gil Hodges

Marty Niland: Hall of Fame still elusive for ex-Senators manager Gil Hodges
Sunday's Hall of Fame inductions made it a great day for anyone who was a baseball from the 1980s through the 2000s. Seeing the enshrinement of Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Jack Morris, Jim Thome and Alan Trammel brings back decades of memories. And while a few recent inductees, such as former Nationals catcher Iván Rodríguez and former commissioner Bowie Kuhn, have Washington connections, it's been quite a few years since anyone who has worn a Washington uniform...
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Opposite dugout: Mets close out July looking toward future

Opposite dugout: Mets close out July looking toward future
Manager: Mickey Callaway (1st season) Record: 44-59 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: 1B Wilmer Flores (.262/.318/.440, 34 RBIs), LF Michael Conforto (14 HR, 39 RBIs), CF Brandon Nimmo (13 HR, 31 RBIs), RF José Bautista (24 RBIs), RHP Noah Syndergaard (6-1, 2.89 ERA), RHP Anthony Swarzak (3 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 6-4 Pitching probables: July 31: LHP Steven Matz (5-8) vs. RHP Tanner Roark (4-12), 7:05 p.m., MASN2Aug. 1: RHP Noah Syndergaard (6-1) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (0-0), 12:05...
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Ryan Sullivan: Nationals should be sellers at trade deadline

Ryan Sullivan: Nationals should be sellers at trade deadline
The 2018 season has been a constant struggle for the Nationals due to injuries to key performers and subpar performance from others. Presently, the Nationals have a record of 51-51 and are seven games behind Philadelphia in the National League East and 4 1/2 games back for a wild card berth. With the news of Stephen Strasburg returning to the disabled list, Washington's playoff chances are dwindling by the day. The stark reality is general manager Mike Rizzo and the Nationals should probably...
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Opposite dugout: Despite absence of stars, Marlins still competing

Opposite dugout: Despite absence of stars, Marlins still competing
Manager: Don Mattingly (3rd season) Record: 44-59 Last 10 games: 6-4 Who to watch: 2B Starlin Castro (.287 with 116 hits, 60 runs); 1B Justin Bour (16 HR, 47 RBIs); RF Brian Anderson (.285 with 113 hits, 23 2B); C J.T. Realmuto (.304 with 49 RBIs); RHP Dan Straily (4-4, 4.02 ERA); CL Kyle Barraclough (2.45 ERA, 10 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 1-6 Pitching probables: July 26: RHP Stephen Strasburg (6-7) vs. RHP Dan Straily (4-4); 7:10 p.m., MASNJuly 27: RHP Max Scherzer (13-5) vs. RHP...
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Liz Barr: Shawn Kelley and Matt Grace have been quietly effective

Liz Barr: Shawn Kelley and Matt Grace have been quietly effective
Are the Nationals doing well? To put it simply, no. But if we keep focusing on the negatives, we will all drive ourselves crazy. So instead, we're going to focus on a few bright spots, and today we're going to look in an unorthodox place at a few guys who have had some under-the-radar good years: in the bullpen at Shawn Kelley and Matt Grace. Kelley has gotten a little bit of a bad rep in town, especially coming off his poor 2017 season. Fans feared that 2018 would be more of the same, and it...
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Marty Niland: Hail to "The Chief": Remembering dominant closer Chad Cordero

Marty Niland: Hail to "The Chief": Remembering dominant closer Chad Cordero
Many Nationals fans were dismayed by Sunday's news that closer Sean Doolittle will remain on the disabled list for a few more weeks after a setback in his recovery from a left foot injury. Although Doolittle has excelled as a closer since coming in trade from Oakland last season, he still has a way to go to catch the most dominant closer Washington has ever seen, Chad Cordero. The 36-year-old former Nat was one of the most popular former players at the autograph tables during All-Star FanFest...
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Opposite dugout: Playoff-minded Brewers want to be buyers at deadline

Opposite dugout: Playoff-minded Brewers want to be buyers at deadline
Manager: Craig Counsell (4th year) Record: 56-45 Last 10 games: 2-8 Who to watch: LF Christian Yelich (.303 with 12 HR, 47 RBIs), 1B Jesús Aguilar (.293 with 25 HR, 71 RBIs), CF Lorenzo Cain (.293/.391/.421 with 18 SB), RHP Jhoulys Chacin (8-3, 3.68 ERA), LHP Josh Hader (1.44 ERA, 93 Ks), RHP Corey Knebel (12 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: First meeting (4-3 in 2017) Pitching probables: July 23: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6) vs. RHP Jhoulys Chacin (8-3), 8:10 p.m., MASN2 July 24: RHP Jeremy...
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Opposite dugout: Braves looking to carry momentum into second half

Opposite dugout: Braves looking to carry momentum into second half
Manager: Brian Snitker (3rd season) Record: 52-42 Last 10 games: 3-7 Who to watch: 2B Ozzie Albies (.281 with 20 HR, 55 RBIs); RF Nick Markakis (.323 with 61 RBIs, 120 hits); 1B Freddie Freeman (.315 with 61 RBIs, 114 hits); CF Ender Inciarte (88 hits, 23 SB); RHP Aníbal Sánchez (4-2, 2.60 ERA); LHP A.J. Minter (3.20 ERA, 4 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 6-4 Pitching probables: July 20: RHP Aníbal Sánchez (4-2) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (6-6); 7:05 p.m., MASN2July 21: LHP Sean...
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Some random thoughts about the All-Star festivities in D.C.

Some random thoughts about the All-Star festivities in D.C.
Some random observations about the All-Star Game festivities at Nationals Park from a writer covering his first Midsummer Classic ... * Though I really hate it when I see a team's jersey that's not one of the teams playing in a game - say, an interloper in Yankees pinstripes at a Reds-Nationals game - it's been fun to see jerseys from all 30 major league teams already at Nationals Park. I've even seen a few retro throwbacks - think Senators, Browns, Expos, Pilots - for teams who have long...
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Ryan Sullivan: Garcia offers a glimpse at Nationals' future

Ryan Sullivan: Garcia offers a glimpse at Nationals' future
One of the many terrific events that occur during All-Star Game week is the Futures Game, an annual exhibition consisting of the top prospects in baseball. The Futures Game began in 1999 and the rosters consist of a team of prospects from the United States against a team of players from other countries. Major League Baseball, MLB.com and Baseball America decide the teams and the Nationals will be represented by infielders Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia on Sunday. I wrote about Kieboom a few...
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Special jersey has special meaning for Senators' Logan Darnell

Special jersey has special meaning for Senators' Logan Darnell
When Double-A Harrisburg lefty Logan Darnell pulls on his home jersey for the Senators' game against Bowie on July 26 at FNB Field, it'll mean a little more than usual. That's the night the Senators will don special jerseys on End Alzheimer's Night. Darnell lost his mother, Caye, 59, to Alzheimer's disease on April 13, and has been working with team management to come up with creative ways to mix his mound work and the need to raise funds and awareness. The jerseys from End Alzheimer's...
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