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Johnson discusses Nats’ 11-3 loss

As Davey Johnson walked into the press conference room following tonight’s 11-3 Nationals loss, he delivered a one-liner with as much sarcasm as a one-liner can possibly have attached to it. “That was fun,” Johnson said. Tonight’s blowout defeat was anything but fun for the Nats, not just because of the manner in which it happened but also because of its implications on their playoff

The old Dan Haren returns for a night (Nats lose 11-3)

Since returning from the disabled list in early July, Dan Haren has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. He’s put up a 2.53 ERA in 10 games since that DL stint in late June, and held opposing hitters to a .208 batting average in that span. That batting average against is going to rise quite a bit after tonight. Haren is done

Johnson: Harper might need offseason knee surgery

After leaving last night’s game in the fourth inning due to a bout of dehydration, Davey Johnson will be back in the Nationals dugout tonight. Johnson said he made sure to drink lots of water, got a good night’s sleep last night and is feeling rejuvenated. He declared himself good to go for tonight. “I’m feeling like my old ornery self,” said Johnson, who joked

A few Werth notes (plus Mets-Nats lineups)

It’s taken Jayson Werth a little while to build his plate appearances up to the level needed to qualify among the league leaders, but he has finally gotten there. And he now finds himself in the top three among National League players in three major categories. Werth’s .325 batting average ranks third in the National League behind just Yadier Molina (.330) and Chris Johnson (.326).

On last night and the Nats’ issues with Gee

A couple of hours after the Nationals fell to the Mets in a tight 3-2 ballgame last night, the Reds also lost, keeping the Nats 6 1/2 games back in the National League wild card chase. Does the Nats’ loss sting even more knowing that they could have made up more ground on Cincinnati with a victory last night, or do you find yourself just

Harper on lack of hustle in eighth inning: “I guess I’ll learn from it”

Bench coach Randy Knorr had some critical comments in regards to Bryce Harper’s hustle, or lack thereof, on an eighth-inning groundout to second base in tonight’s 3-2 loss to the Mets. Knorr said that even if Harper sprinted out his grounder at Daniel Murphy with two outs in the eighth, Murphy probably collects the ball after his initial bobble and throws Harper out. But in

Johnson battling illness; Knorr discusses Harper’s hustle, Nats’ loss

Nationals manager Davey Johnson left the dugout around the fourth inning of tonight’s 3-2 loss to the Mets due to dehydration, although Johnson said afterwards that he’ll be fine. The 70-year-old Johnson had been feeling under the weather today, and when he started feeling light-headed a few innings into tonight’s game, he decided to head up into the Nats’ clubhouse to get some medical treatment.

Gee continues his dominance of Nationals (Nats lose 3-2)

For whatever reason Dillon Gee has the Nationals’ number. Gee has a career 3.94 ERA. He’s a solid pitcher, for sure, and has put together a nice season for the Mets. But when Gee faces the Nationals, he turns into Cy Young. The Nats have just two hits and a run off Gee through five innings tonight, and they’ve gotten just three balls out of

Ohlendorf starting Sunday, Morse dealt to Orioles

Unfortunately for Tanner Roark, his two dominant scoreless innings of work last night will prevent him from making his first major league start on Sunday. Nationals manager Davey Johnson had thoughts about tabbing Roark as his starter for Sunday against the Mets, pushing Ross Ohlendorf to the bullpen, but with the ‘pen being pretty worn down lately, Roark was needed to close out yesterday’s 9-0

Nats lineup vs. Mets

After finishing off a three-game sweep over the Marlins, who occupy the cellar in the National League East, the Nationals welcome the fourth-place Mets to town. Then it’s off to Philadelphia for three against the third-place Phillies. The tour of mediocre division opponents continues. The Mets come to D.C. having lost 11 of their last 17. They’ll send right-hander Dillon Gee to the mound tonight,

A look into the recent offensive explosion

You wonder whether hitting is contagious? Through their first 114 games of the season, the Nationals were averaging just 3.67 runs per game. They were batting a collective .240 as a team, had a lowly .299 on-base percentage and were slugging just .384. Over the last three weeks, things have turned in a major way. In their last 19 games, the Nats are averaging 5.53

Gio Gonzalez: “It just seems like we’re getting our groove back”

This recent strong run by the Nationals, who are 14-5 in their last 19 games, has started to bolster the confidence of the guys in the Nats clubhouse. That’s not to say that they had ever lost confidence, per se, or that they’d given up on the season. It’s not to say that they’re blind to the 6 1/2-game deficit they face in the race

Johnson on chances of a postseason run: “Strange things happen in this game”

It probably isn’t stretching things to say that this is the most upbeat the Nationals clubhouse has been in months. The Nats picked up their 14th win in 19 games tonight with a 9-0 rout of the Marlins, finishing off a three-game sweep and getting back to three games over .500 for the first time since July 10. After tonight’s win, the Nats trail the

Middle of Nats order bringing the thunder (Nats sweep Marlins)

It’s a party at Nationals Park tonight, and Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond are providing the fireworks. Each guy has homered tonight, with Harper’s two-run shot putting the Nats on the board, Werth’s three-run bomb pushing that lead to 5-0 and Desmond’s moonshot making it a 9-0 Nats advantage. Desmond’s homer came in the seventh, and it was a sky-high blast that seemed

Nats’ left-handers getting it done early on (more of the same from Werth)

A recent hot streak has gotten Bryce Harper’s batting average and on-base percentage moving in the right direction. But Harper’s power numbers have shot up over the last couple weeks, as well. Harper lifted an opposite-field two-run homer off Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler in the fourth, giving the Nationals a 2-0 lead. It’s Harper’s 19th homer of the season, and second in his last four

Strasburg to stay on turn, Ohlendorf likely to start Sunday

Despite some talk from manager Davey Johnson about Young, Chris:”>Stephen Strasburg possibly getting moved up in the rotation and starting Sunday after his rain-shortened start last night, Johnson said today that Strasburg will stay on his current turn and pitch Monday against the Phillies. As for Sunday’s starter, Johnson isn’t able to settle on a guy just yet, needing to see how things play out

Nationals lineup for finale vs. Marlins

The Nationals are fielding the same lineup for tonight’s series finale against the Marlins with one exception. Anthony Rendon is back at second base instead of Steve Lombardozzi. Rendon has struggled of late, going 5-for-29 (.179) over his last nine games after recording hits in 13 of his previous 14 contests. Gio Gonzalez is on the mound looking to rebound from one of his worst

Werth’s stellar 2013 just keeps getting better

It might have gotten overlooked a little bit last night because of some of the weird plays that went on in the Nationals’ 4-3 win over the Marlins, but Jayson Werth continued to rake, homering again to give him 20 longballs on the season. It also might have gotten overlooked because, well, Werth raking is pretty much just commonplace at this point. After his effort

Hearing from Storen and Desmond after Nats’ win

Steve McCatty is a jokester, a guy never afraid to make one of his pitchers smile to lighten the mood in a big spot. He’s also a bit of a disciplinarian at times, scolding pitchers who he feels aren’t working to their strengths. So what type of speech did McCatty give Drew Storen tonight, when the Nationals’ pitching coach came out of the dugout in

Johnson discusses Nats’ 4-3 win

Tonight’s ballgame ended more than four hours and 10 minutes after it began, with a 72-minute rain delay in there, 11 total pitchers making an appearance and the Nationals and Marlins combining to go 3-for-23 with runners in scoring position. Not the prettiest of games, that’s for sure. But don’t tell Davey Johnson that. “It was a nice ballgame, since we won it,” Johnson said.

Stanton does it again, but so does Werth (Nats win 4-3)

Giancarlo Stanton kills the Nationals. Just kills them. He might not kill them like Andrew McCutchen kills them. But Stanton still kills them. You get the idea. The Marlins’ right fielder absolutely obliterated a 2-2 slider from Ryan Mattheus to dead center leading off the sixth, tying the game 2-2. It was Stanton’s 17th homer in 47 career games against the Nats. The ball was

Nats take lead into early rain delay (Harper stays hot)

Stephen Strasburg is starting for the Nationals tonight, which meant that rain would play a factor at some point. It sure seems like every time Strasburg takes the mound, rain makes an appearance. It started pouring here at Nats Park in the bottom of the second inning, and within minutes, the tarp was on the field and we were in a rain delay. Looking at

Johnson on his eating habits, Mattheus’ return, Garcia’s lost season

A reporter for a national outlet is at Nationals Park today doing a story on how some major league teams are putting more of an emphasis on eating healthy these days and hiring specialty chefs for their clubhouses. The reporter tried to get Nationals manager Davey Johnson to compare the food that players ate in his days to what players are eating in the Nats’

Nats lineup vs. Marlins

Steve Lombardozzi gets the start at second base tonight for game two of this three-game set against the Marlins, with Anthony Rendon getting a day off. Stephen Strasburg (6-9, 3.00 ERA) will get the start for the Nationals tonight, opposing Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez (2-3, 3.86 ERA) The 23-year-old Alvarez came to the Marlins in the monster trade with the Blue Jays this winter, and

A hodgepodge of morning notes and quotes (with promotional note)

The deficit is down to seven. It’s at six in the loss column. The Nationals’ hottest stretch of the season has gotten them back on the fringe of the playoff conversation. They’ve won 12 of their last 17, and coupled with the Reds now having lost five of their last eight, the Nats are finding a way to close ground in the race for the

Hearing from Desmond, Roark and Clippard

Entering tonight, the Nationals had won only six of the 65 games this season in which they’d scored two runs or fewer. They got just two runs tonight, and it was just enough. The Nats plated both their runs in the first inning against Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi and then held on for a 2-1 win, with Tanner Roark, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael

Johnson discusses 2-1 win and a potential change to Nats rotation

Ross Ohlendorf improved to 3-0 on the season with today’s 2-1 Nationals win, this after the veteran righty allowed just one run over five-plus innings, lowering his ERA to 2.49. What did it get him? Well, it might have gotten him knocked from the Nats rotation. Tough crowd. Ohlendorf was pulled by manager Davey Johnson just one batter into the sixth inning tonight, having thrown

Ohlendorf on cruise control (Nats win 2-1)

In Ross Ohlendorf’s first start off the disabled list, he appeared to run out of gas in the fifth inning, when he allowed three hits and three runs in what eventually turned into an 11-6 Nationals win over the Cubs. Tonight, Ohlendorf is through five - and he’s still going strong. The veteran right-hander has delivered five scoreless frames, allowing just two hits thus far.

Boras on Espinosa’s struggles, contract possibilities for Strasburg and Harper

Mega-agent Scott Boras is at Nationals Park tonight to take in the Marlins-Nats game, and he held court with reporters during batting practice, talking everything from free agent draft pick compensation to long-term contract ideas for a couple of the Nats’ young stars to Danny Espinosa’s health. Espinosa is batting just .208 with two home runs, 19 RBIs, 96 strikeouts and 18 walks in 69

Nats recall Ryan Mattheus, option Xavier Cedeno

The Nationals made a roster move before today’s game, recalling right-hander Ryan Mattheus from Triple-A Syracuse and optioning left-hander Xavier Cedeno to Syracuse. Mattheus was sent down on August 15 after posting a 14.09 ERA in his last 10 games with the Nats, but he allowed just one earned run in his five appearances (spanning 5 1/3 innings) at Syracuse, striking out three and walking

Detwiler probably won’t return this season, plus Harper and Werth notes

Ross Detwiler hasn’t pitched in a game since July 3, and it appears unlikely that he’ll be back on a mound in a big league game again the rest of this season. Detwiler has been out more than seven weeks with a herniated disc in his back, and while the left-hander was back out at Nationals Park running with resistance bands around his waist and

Full Nats lineup in place for series opener vs. Marlins

The Nationals open a three-game set with the Marlins tonight, as Ross Ohlendorf squares off against Miami right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. All eight starting Nats position players will be in there today despite bumps and bruises to Jayson Werth (infected right foot), Bryce Harper (left foot), Ian Desmond (back, hamstring) and Ryan Zimmerman (shin). This time of year, everyone’s battling something. Ohlendorf is 2-0 with a

The road ahead gets a little smoother

Believe it or not, the Nationals’ second-to-last homestand of the 2013 season begins today. In some ways, it feels like we just left Viera, Fla., a week ago. In others, it feels like the season has been going on for 2 1/2 years. The Nats open a three-game set with the Marlins tonight, followed by three against the Mets. Then it’s off on a 10-game

Seeing changes in the second half

What a weekend it was for Roger Bernadina. The former Nationals outfielder, now with the Phillies, went 2-for-8 with a home run and a double in the Phillies’ 18-inning marathon win on Saturday, and then had another double, two RBIs and two really impressive defensive plays yesterday. If you didn’t happen to see Bernadina’s glovework from yesterday afternoon, here you go. I wonder if they

Another comeback in Kansas City (Nats lose 6-4)

The Nationals came back from a 6-0 deficit to the Royals on Friday. They’ve now come back after trailing 4-0 this afternoon and battled to tie this game 4-4 in the seventh. A three-run seventh inning has knotted things up, with Denard Span getting it started with a solo homer to right-center and Bryce Harper then following with a two-run shot to left-center. The three

A hairy first inning for Haren (Desmond goes yard again)

Once the major league leader in home runs allowed, Dan Haren had allowed just four homers in 50 innings since coming off the DL. Haren hadn’t allowed more than two runs in an outing since July 22. In the first inning of this afternoon’s game alone, Haren allowed two homers and four runs, and the Nationals trail 4-0 early. Alex Gordon got things started for

Werth in Nats lineup as designated hitter

Jayson Werth missed yesterday’s game with an infection in his right foot, but the Nationals’ hottest hitter is back in the lineup today, serving as the designated hitter. Werth is batting a ridiculous .384/.481/.661 since the All-Star break, so the Nationals will be plenty happy to have him back in the cleanup spot today. Tyler Moore will get his third straight start in left field,

Trending upward

The chances of the Nationals making the playoffs are still very, very low. I’m talking incredibly low. According to Baseball Prospectus’ playoffs odds report, the Nats have just a 1.9 percent chance of earning a postseason berth. This is after the Nats’ five-game winning streak, making them 11-4 in their last 15 games. It’s after they got back over .500 for the first time in

Nats win 7-2, have a five-game streak going

As rocky as things have been at times lately, the Nationals have now tied their longest winning streak of the season. Tonight’s 7-2 win over the Royals gives the Nats their fifth straight win, matching streaks put together from May 4-10 and Aug. 9-14. Jordan Zimmermann went 7 2/3 strong innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. He gets

The little things add up (the runs keep on coming)

In the Nationals’ four-run fourth inning, they did a lot of little things right, things that they haven’t done much of this season. They had examples of nice situational hitting, like Wilson Ramos staying on a 1-2 cutter from Wade Davis and lifting a fly ball to right that went as a sacrifice fly to plate Ryan Zimmerman. Driving in runners from third with less

Werth, Rendon out of Nats lineup

Ian Desmond is in the Nationals lineup despite a stiff back and what manager Davey Johnson said after yesterday’s game was a tight hamstring. Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon, however, are not in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Royals. Werth served as the designated hitter yesterday, but Ryan Zimmerman will fill that role tonight. Bryce Harper will play right field for a second

Taking the bad with the good

Following Thursday night’s game, in which the Nationals blew a four-run lead and saw the Cubs tie things up with two outs in the bottom of the ninth before finally prevailing in 13 innings, I asked Anthony Rendon a question that Nats fans have probably been wondering for weeks now. Why can’t the Nats just have a nice, quiet, 5-0 win one of these days?

Not the best start (Nats win 11-10)

This sure isn’t how the Nationals wanted to start their three-game set with the Royals after winning the last three against the Cubs. Gio Gonzalez has looked totally out of sorts through the first two innings, allowing six runs on seven hits. Five of those hits have been for extra-bases, including two homers, one by Eric Hosmer and one by former National Justin Maxwell. Gonzalez

Desmond returns, Werth DHing

After getting double-switched out of Wednesday’s game in the fifth inning and missing yesterday’s game due to back stiffness, Ian Desmond is back in the Nationals’ lineup for tonight’s game against the Royals. Yesterday marked just the third game that Desmond has missed all season. His back originally tightened up on him during batting practice Wednesday. Jayson Werth will serve as the designated hitter for

Rays acquire DeJesus from Nats (Solano, Cedeno officially recalled)

David DeJesus has another new team. Just days after joining the Nationals, DeJesus has been acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays. DeJesus joined the Nationals on Monday, only to be put on revocable trade waivers just hours later. The Rays put in a claim and the teams were able to work out a deal before Friday’s 1 p.m. Eastern time deadline. The Tampa Bay Times

Looking back on a wacky week (Suzuki trade official)

The Kurt Suzuki trade is now official. The Nationals announce they’ve sent Suzuki to the Athletics for right-handed pitching prospect Dakota Bacus, who will report to low Single-A Hagerstown. Jhonatan Solano will join the Nats in Kansas City and become the new backup catcher to Wilson Ramos. What a wacky road trip this has already been for the Nationals. Three rain delays in seven days,

Nats send Kurt Suzuki back to Athletics (Nats get pitching prospect)

A little over a year ago, the Nationals acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki in a trade with the Athletics. Now, Suzuki is heading back to Oakland. The Nats have traded Suzuki to the A’s, a team source confirmed late tonight, a deal that sends the 29-year-old catcher back to the team that drafted him and the only other team he’s known. It’s unknown at this time

Strasburg: “Kind of the story of the year, to be honest”

CHICAGO - Eight stellar innings, one disastrous inning, given the circumstances. Stephen Strasburg saw both ends of the spectrum tonight, as the Nationals’ right-hander had dominated the Cubs going into the ninth only to see Chicago put up three runs to tie the game, with Donnie Murphy’s two-run shot pushing the game into extra innings. “I feel like I can look at it two ways:

Johnson discusses Nats’ 5-4, 13-inning win

CHICAGO - Chad Tracy joined MASN’s Julie Alexandria for a walk-off interview on the field at Wrigley after today’s 5-4, 13-inning win. Tracy’s 50-foot swinging bunt RBI groundout ended up bringing in the game-winning run, so he was tabbed as the guy to get the questions on the field. “I know he was on the after-game show as the hero. But we gotta do better

To the 11th (Nats win 5-4 in 13 innings)

CHICAGO - I feel like we’ve been down this road before. Fairly recently. Maybe, say, five days ago. Let’s hope this one doesn’t go 15 innings. The Nationals and Cubs are still playing as we go to the 11th inning. The Nats left Kurt Suzuki stranded in scoring position in the top of the 10th, with Denard Span striking out and Steve Lombardozzi flying out

Strasburg back on track (Cubs tie it in the 9th, we go to extras)

CHICAGO - One start after completely losing his control against the Braves and getting ejected following seven straight balls to begin the second inning (the final two of which were behind Andrelton Simmons), Stephen Strasburg has been totally locked in against the Cubs. Through three innings, Strasburg has struck out five, allowed one hit and two walks and thrown just 42 pitches, 27 for strikes.

Updates on Desmond, Haren and a funny clip from last night (we’re under way)

CHICAGO - After three straight gorgeous days in Chicago, the rain has hit Wrigley Field this afternoon. The tarp is on the field with about a half-hour to go until the scheduled time for first-pitch, and the radar isn’t looking good for the next couple hours. We might be here for a while. Ian Desmond is out of the Nationals’ starting lineup today due to

DeJesus claimed off revocable trade waivers

CHICAGO - David DeJesus’ wild week continues. Hours after being acquired by the Nationals in a trade with the Cubs on Monday, DeJesus was placed back on revocable trade waivers by the Nats. Today, DeJesus heard multiple reports that he’d been claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Nationals have three options when it comes to DeJesus now that he’s been claimed: They

Desmond, LaRoche, Span out of Nats lineup

CHICAGO - The Nationals’ lineup for this afternoon’s series finale in Chicago is without three regulars - Ian Desmond, Adam LaRoche and Denard Span. Desmond felt his back tighten up on him during batting practice yesterday and was pulled from last night’s game as a precaution as part of a double-switch in the fifth inning. He said after the game last night that he was

For Hairston, a step in the right direction

CHICAGO - In the three days before he was shipped from the Cubs to the Nationals in a July 8 trade, Scott Hairston hit two home runs over just five at-bats. Then, the power disappeared for a little while. Hairston got off to a slow start with the Nats, hitting just .200 with a .529 OPS over 37 plate appearances entering last night. He wasn’t

Hearing from Roark, Hairston and Ohlendorf

CHICAGO - If you were walking the streets of Chicago tonight between the hours of 7 p.m. and 10:25 p.m. local time, you probably heard Tanner Roark’s personal fan club cheering him on from the right field bleachers of Wrigley Field. Roark, who hails from nearby Wilmington, Ill., made his first ever appearance at Wrigley tonight, and it just so happened to come on the

Johnson recaps Nats’ 11-6 win

CHICAGO - The self-deprecating one-liners from Davey Johnson in relation to the Nationals’ offense keep on coming. “Eleven runs? You’d think it’s Christmas!” Johnson quipped after tonight’s 11-6 Nats win over the Cubs. The Nationals jumped out on top of the Cubs 6-1 tonight, only to see their hosts even things up with a five-run fifth inning. Ross Ohlendorf - making his first start back

The lead is gone, Desmond leaves (Nats win 11-6)

CHICAGO - What was a five-run lead is now gone. And we have a tie ballgame. The Nationals had a comfortable 6-1 advantage going to the bottom of the fifth, and just like that, the Cubs have come back to knot this game 6-6. The Cubs batted around in the fifth, sending 10 hitters to the plate and notching seven hits. Ross Ohlendorf surrendered a

Squeezing out some runs (Werth keeps on crushing)

CHICAGO - Last night, the Nationals put 21 runners on base and just four of them came around to score. Through two innings tonight, they’ve put four runners on and plated three of them. That’s a much better ratio there, fellas. The Nats have a 3-1 lead going to the third thanks to a couple hard-fought at-bats, a hot-shot Kurt Suzuki groundball that got under

On Espinosa and a possible September call-up (plus Roark note)

CHICAGO - When the Nationals optioned Danny Espinosa to Triple-A Syracuse in mid-June, they certainly hoped that the struggling second baseman would be able to get on track in the minors and then come back up to help the big league club in some capacity this season. At this point, however, it’s not looking likely that we’ll see Espinosa in the majors the rest of

Bernadina signs with Phillies, Ohlendorf returns (plus Nats lineup)

CHICAGO - Roger Bernadina was released by the Nationals on Monday, but he won’t be going too far, either geographically or within the realm of Major League Baseball. Bernadina has signed with the Phillies, the team announced today, meaning the Nats will see the speedy outfielder in about a week and a half when they head to Philadelphia for a three-game set against their division

Haren’s turnaround and its implications beyond this season

CHICAGO - It really wasn’t too long ago that Dan Haren could have, based on the numbers, been legitimately considered the worst starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. As of June 22, Haren led the majors in home runs allowed and had the highest ERA of any qualified starter in the National League. His WHIP was 1.43 (in other words, he was allowing an average

Johnson, Desmond and Span talk missed chances, clutch hits late in 4-2 win

CHICAGO - It’s easy to chuckle about the fact that the Nationals put 21 runners on base and scored just four runs now that tonight’s 4-2 win is in the books. Had the end result been different, Davey Johnson and the guys in the Nats clubhouse wouldn’t have been laughing. The Nats had 14 hits and drew seven walks off Cubs pitching tonight. But somehow,

Nats option Krol to make room for Ohlendorf

CHICAGO - Needing to clear a roster spot for right-hander Ross Ohlendorf, who will come off the disabled list and start tomorrow, the Nationals have optioned left-handed reliever Ian Krol to Triple-A Syracuse. Krol got off to a tremendous start with the Nats after his promotion from Double-A Harrisburg in early June, throwing 9 2/3 scoreless innings to start his big league career, with 12

Missed chances galore for both sides (Nats win 4-2)

CHICAGO - Call this the game of missed opportunities. And not just for the Nationals, for once. For both teams. The Nats and Cubs have combined to go 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position through the first four innings tonight. Seven of those missed chances have fallen at the feet of the Cubs, who have put runners on early in innings but haven’t been able

Pregame notes on Moore, Storen, Harper

CHICAGO - Adam LaRoche is making the most of his day off today, as the first baseman spent part of batting practice getting some ground balls at shortstop, rotating in with Ian Desmond. LaRoche was casually scooping grounders with his first baseman’s mitt and then whipping the ball across the diamond to first. It’s a bit weird seeing a left-hander on the left side of

Source: Strasburg, Johnson won’t be suspended for Atlanta incident

According to a Major League Baseball source, neither right-hander Stephen Strasburg nor manager Davey Johnson will be suspended for Saturday’s incident in Atlanta during which the Nationals starting pitcher hit Justin Upton with a first-inning pitch and later threw behind Andrelton Simmons, earning ejections for both himself and Johnson. After Strasburg drilled Upton with a first-pitch fastball in the first inning, home plate umpire Marvin

Moore, Hairston starting for Nats

CHICAGO - Davey Johnson is again loading up his lineup with right-handed hitters against a left-handed starter, leaving Adam LaRoche and Denard Span on the bench in favor of Tyler Moore and Scott Hairston. Moore will play first base and bat sixth, while Hairston will play left field and bat eighth. Bryce Harper will slide over and play center field tonight and hit leadoff as

A twist in the DeJesus saga

CHICAGO - As reported by FOXsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal last night, just hours after the Nationals acquired David DeJesus in a trade with the Cubs, they placed him back on revokable trade waivers. In essence, that means DeJesus might not be around for all that long, after all. This is a strange bit of news, and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it, but

Already reaching one 2012 mark

CHICAGO - I failed to mention this here on the blog last night, but if you’re able to stomach a depressing stat, I’ve got one for you. Last night’s loss marked the 64th defeat for the Nationals this season. That evens their number of losses from all of 2012. In other words, in order for the Nats to match their record from last season, they’ll

Hearing from Zimmermann, Zimmerman, Ramos and DeJesus

CHICAGO - Jordan Zimmermann has had a couple solid starts since the All-Star break, throwing six scoreless against the Brewers and allowing just one run over seven innings against the Giants. Both those strong outings have been sandwiched by a number of poor starts, which are rare to see from a starter as consistent as Zimmermann. Tonight’s five-inning, eight-run outing was the third time in

Johnson discusses Nats’ 11-1 loss

CHICAGO - Coming into today, the Cubs had only scored 10 or more runs once this entire season. They had scored one run or fewer in four of their last six games. They put up 11 on Jordan Zimmermann and company tonight. The Cubs had nine hits today, five of which left the ballpark. Three of those longballs came off Zimmermann, who worked just five

Cubs teeing off on Zimmermann (Nats lose 11-1)

CHICAGO - The Cubs are absolutely laying into Jordan Zimmermann. Three home runs, two of them three-run shots, have been hit off the Nationals’ right-hander, who now trails 8-0 after five innings. Nate Schierholtz crushed a three-run shot to right four batters into the bottom of the first. Donnie Murphy smoked a solo shot to right leading off the fourth. And three batters into the

DeJesus recaps a wild day after learning of trade to Nats (game update)

CHICAGO - At around 1 p.m., David DeJesus looked down at his cell phone and saw that he had a missed call from Cubs team president Theo Epstein. DeJesus and his wife Kim were out getting green juice at the time, and DeJesus mentioned who the missed call was from. “You probably got traded,” Kim DeJesus joked. They weren’t laughing a few minutes later. DeJesus

Rizzo and Johnson discuss DeJesus addition and Bernadina release

CHICAGO - The Nationals came into this year feeling like they had a solid, well-rounded bench, based largely upon what guys like Roger Bernadina, Chad Tracy, Tyler Moore and Steve Lombardozzi had done in 2012. After watching those guys struggle for much of this season, however, the Nats made another deal with the Cubs to add a bench player today (their second such deal with

Zimmmerman back in Nats lineup, hitting second

CHICAGO - Ryan Zimmerman was held out of the Nationals’ lineup in yesterday’s series finale at Atlanta due to a bruised left shin, but he’s back in there today. Zimmerman is hitting second today, with Anthony Rendon moving down to the No. 8 spot in the order. Wilson Ramos is back behind the plate after getting yesterday off to recover from catching all 15 innings

Nationals acquire DeJesus from Cubs, release Bernadina (updated)

CHICAGO - The Nationals this afternoon acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for a player to be named. DeJesus, 33, was claimed off waivers by the Nationals. Ironically, since the Nationals open a four-game series at Wrigley Field tonight, DeJesus will only need to switch clubhouses to meet up with his new team. To make space on the 25-man roster for

Back in the Windy City, Roark and Krol living a childhood dream

CHICAGO - For Tanner Roark and Ian Krol, two rookie relievers, the Nationals’ four games at Wrigley Field this week don’t just represent four more big league contests that they can put under their belts. They represent the realization of a childhood dream. Roark and Krol both grew up in the suburbs outside of Chicago - Roark in Wilmington, Ill., 75 minutes from Wrigley, and

Breaking down the head-to-head beatdown

CHICAGO - Why do I have a feeling the Nationals are plenty happy to be out of Atlanta and done with trips to Turner Field for the rest of the season? The Braves have absolutely dominated the Nats this season, and if that wasn’t already evident just by watching the games, you can look down at the game logs and see that yesterday’s 2-1 Braves

Harper on Braves fans: “I love these fans. I really do”

ATLANTA - Bryce Harper got a villain’s welcome in Atlanta this weekend. He got hit by two pitches in the first game of the series. He heard fans applaud after those two plunkings, even the one that came on a pitch near his head. He got booed every time he came to the plate or recorded an out in the field. But all that didn’t

Johnson discusses Nats’ 2-1 loss to Braves

ATLANTA - In many ways, today’s 2-1 Nationals loss was a microcosm of their season to this point. The Nats got pretty solid starting pitching, as Gio Gonzalez allowed two runs over seven innings. They gave themselves chances to do damage offensively, putting 12 runners on base and getting 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position. And yet, they drove in a single run and

Nats’ offensive futility hits a new low (Nats lose 2-1)

ATLANTA - The Nationals haven’t had a problem getting runners on base today. That’s been relatively easy. The problem has been doing anything at all with the scoring opportunities that have presented themselves. The Nats are a ridiculous 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position through just three innings this afternoon. They’ve put the first two runners on base in every inning so far, and have

Jordan reflects on his 2013 campaign, wants to add to his arsenal (the rain is gone)

ATLANTA - Apparently Davey Johnson isn’t the only guy who is unsure of how exactly Taylor Jordan suffered the lower back injury that landed him on the disabled list yesterday, essentially bringing his 2013 season to an end. Jordan isn’t entirely sure, either. The rookie right-hander first felt the back issue (diagnosed by the Nationals as a lower right back strain) after he got out

Notes on Ramos, Roark and LaRoche a day after the marathon (it’s pouring)

ATLANTA - While everyone around him in the Nationals clubhouse was dragging this morning - players, coaches and reporters included - Kurt Suzuki was bouncing around looking ready to play at about 10:45 a.m. I guess that’s what happens when you’re the only position player on either team not to see action in the 15-inning marathon that went on last night. Suzuki will be behind

Harper and Werth playing, Zimmerman sitting

ATLANTA - Who’s ready for some more baseball? The Nationals will take on the Braves this afternoon, about 13 hours after yesterday’s game ended. Three players who played all 15 innings last night are in the Nats lineup today: Denard Span, Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon. Jayson Werth (back stiffness) and Bryce Harper (left triceps bruise) are both in the lineup, as well. Harper was

Notes and quotes from the wildest game of the season

ATLANTA - The Nationals and Braves played 15 innings last night. The game lasted 5 hours, 29 minutes, making it the longest game, time-wise, in Nats team history. Eighteen pitchers were used, including four starting pitchers. The only position player on either roster that didn’t see action was Nats catcher Kurt Suzuki. The guy must have felt pretty left out. Everyone else was taking part

Strasburg and others discuss the Upton plunking and the ejection

ATLANTA - Perhaps not surprisingly, Stephen Strasburg didn’t have much to say about his plunking of Justin Upton in the bottom of the first inning tonight (or should I say, last night, given that it’s 3:00 a.m.) or his ejection after throwing behind Andrelton Simmons in the second. Asked bluntly whether he intended to hit Upton in the first, when he drilled the Braves’ top

Johnson and Knorr discuss Nats’ 15-inning win

ATLANTA - Anything to discuss after this one tonight? Pretty boring night of baseball, eh? The Nationals didn’t just beat the Braves 8-7 in 15 innings tonight. They outlasted them. Neither starting pitcher tonight went more than two innings. Stephen Strasburg hit Justin Upton in the first and then was ejected in the second for throwing behind Andrelton Simmons. The Nats blew a 6-2 lead

To the 12th we go (Nats win a marathon, 8-7 in 15 innings)

ATLANTA - This game is just nuts. We head to the 12th inning tied 7-7 here at Turner Field after Ian Krol delivered two scoreless frames working for the second straight day. This comes after the rookie right-hander allowed a walk-off homer to Justin Upton in the bottom of the 10th last night. Quite a strong bounce-back performance from Krol, who has been mentally beaten

The Tanner Roark show (Soriano blows another save)

ATLANTA - Not only has Tanner Roark come on and delivered four scoreless innings in relief of Stephen Strasburg after Strasburg was ejected in the second inning, but Roark has delivered with the bat, as well. Quite a night for the rookie right-hander. Up for his second career major league at-bat with two outs in the top of the fifth, Roark smoked an RBI double

Strasburg drills Justin Upton with first-pitch fastball (Strasburg ejected)

ATLANTA - Well, there we go. Stephen Strasburg drilled Justin Upton with a first-pitch 97 mph fastball in the backside in the bottom of the first inning, prompting warnings to be issued to both the Nationals and Braves by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson. The plunking came immediately after Jason Heyward hit a solo shot to right-center on a 3-2 Strasburg pitch. Upton stepped in,

Tyler Moore: “I’m very confident in myself. I just want to help this team”

ATLANTA - It’d be pretty tough to argue that Tyler Moore didn’t earn his promotion back to the big leagues. After getting optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on July 8 following another tough stretch with the Nationals, Moore caught fire. He hit .367/.442/.664 over 33 games, with eight home runs, 12 doubles and 38 RBIs. During that stretch, Moore walked 18 times compared to 24 walks,

Harper scratched with triceps bruise, plus retaliation talk

ATLANTA - Bryce Harper was originally written into the Nationals lineup as their leadoff hitter and center fielder. That has since changed. Harper has been scratched from today’s lineup due to a bruised left triceps, suffered last night when he was hit by a 91 mph fastball from Braves left-hander Luis Avilan. Harper had a bandage on the triceps after last night’s game, and while

Taylor Jordan shut down for 2013

ATLANTA - The final outing of Taylor Jordan’s 2013 season will be the six innings he threw against the Braves last night, in which he allowed just two unearned runs. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said before tonight’s game against the Braves that Jordan, who was put on the disabled list today with a right lower back strain, will not pitch again this season. The combination

Moore playing first, Harper scratched (updated)

ATLANTA - In his first game back from the minors, Tyler Moore is starting at first base against Braves left-hander Mike Minor. Also, Bryce Harper is playing center field with righty Scott Hairston in left for the Nationals. Update: After meeting with a trainer and manager Davey Johnson, Harper has been scratched from tonight’s game. Denard Span will now hit leadoff and play center. Harper

Nats place Taylor Jordan on DL, recall Tyler Moore from Triple-A

ATLANTA - The Nationals announced this afternoon that they’ve placed right-hander Taylor Jordan on the 15-day disabled list with a right lower back strain, and recalled outfielder/first baseman Tyler Moore from Triple-A Syracuse. Manager Davey Johnson told reporters on Wednesday that Jordan had suffered some kind of back injury while at the dentist. The rookie right-hander worked six innings last night, allowing two runs (both

On the potential for retaliation, Krol’s struggles and Storen’s return

ATLANTA - There’s one key factor in whether the Nationals can, or choose to, use tonight to retaliate to the multiple plunkings of Bryce Harper by Braves pitchers over the last two weeks. That factor is whether or not the umpires issue warnings before the first pitch of tonight’s game is thrown. If the umpires try and take matters into their own hands and prevent

Hearing from Werth, Krol and Jordan after another loss in Atlanta

ATLANTA - Through a team spokesman, Bryce Harper declined to talk to reporters after tonight’s 3-2 loss to the Braves. When it came to the topic of Harper twice getting hit by Braves pitchers tonight, his teammates weren’t willing to say all that much, either. “You know, that’s one of those things we take care of in-house,” Jayson Werth said. “That’s just part of the

Johnson on the Harper plunkings and the walk-off loss

ATLANTA - In the last 28 or so hours, the Nationals have lost on a go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth and a walk-off solo homer in the 10th. The tough 2013 season gets tougher. The Nats came back to tie tonight’s game 2-2 in the top of the eighth inning and were able to get it to extras, but Ian Krol surrendered a walk-off

Harper plunked for second time tonight (Nats lose 3-2 on Upton walk-off)

Bryce Harper has been hit twice tonight. The first time came on the first pitch thrown by Alex Wood in a fourth-inning Harper at-bat, a breaking ball that got Harper in the back. Harper calmly turned around and trotted to first base. Braves fans cheered that plunking with gusto. The second time came on the first pitch thrown by Luis Avilan in an eighth-inning Harper

Defensive miscues continue to hurt Jordan (bring on the bullpens)

Despite having worked just 49 2/3 major league innings this season, Taylor Jordan has allowed the second-most unearned runs of any Nationals pitcher. The Nats have made 11 errors behind Jordan this year, and it seems those errors always come back to hurt him. Tonight, two throwing errors have led to two Braves runs, and Atlanta has a 2-1 lead after four innings. In the

Notes on Ramos, Ohlendorf and the late-relievers

ATLANTA - The Nationals might be 14 1/2 games back of the Braves in the National League East entering this three-game set in Atlanta, but Davey Johnson still views this as a big series. “We’ve lost 10 out of 13 (to Atlanta). We need to show them they’re not better than us,” Johnson said. “Need to stand up and return the favor. Had our way

Werth and Johnson on Manuel’s firing and chances he joins Nats

ATLANTA - The news of Charlie Manuel’s firing by the Phillies this afternoon made its way through the Nationals’ clubhouse prior to tonight’s game against the Braves, and one guy had a lot more to offer on the topic than anyone else. Jayson Werth played under Manuel in Philadelphia for four seasons from 2007-2010, and it’s evident from talking with Werth how much he cares

Ramos back in Nats lineup

ATLANTA - As expected, Wilson Ramos is back in the lineup today as the Nationals open a three-game series against the Braves. Ramos had missed the Nats’ last two games after suffering a left hamstring injury in Tuesday’s win over the Giants. This marked the third time this season that Ramos has injured his left hamstring, but this issue was lower down in the hamstring

As shutdown approaches, Jordan staying focused

ATLANTA - It’s a good thing I looked at the weekend forecast for Atlanta before packing a bag last night. It’s most certainly not in the 90s down here, which is what I had expected. It’s rainy and cool in Atlanta this morning, a sample of what it looks like we’re going to get through the entire weekend. I’ll take the temperatures in the 70s

The streak - and the momentum - come to an end

You know how they always say the difference between winning and losing in Major League Baseball is so miniscule? Let’s look back to yesterday evening, if it isn’t too painful. The Nationals were one pitch, one called strike that wasn’t, away from sweeping the Giants, winning their sixth game in a row (which would have been their longest winning streak of the season) and heading

Davey Johnson: “That one hurt”

The 2013 Nationals have experienced a number of crushing losses. Today’s can be added to the list. Rafael Soriano gave up a three-run homer to Hector Sanchez with two outs and two strikes in the top of the ninth inning, turning a 3-1 Nationals lead into a 4-3 loss. It’s Soriano’s fifth blown save of the season, one that snaps the Nats’ five-game winning streak

Haren’s amazing resurgence continues (Soriano blows save in 4-3 loss)

Prior to going on the disabled list in late June, Dan Haren had pitched to a 6.15 ERA, put up a 1.44 WHIP and allowed 2.1 home runs per nine innings. Haren has since said that he wasn’t even really hurt when he went on the DL. He just used that time to reset and fix whatever mental issues he had going on after his

The timely hitting continues (Nats get to the San Francisco ‘pen)

Two more two-out, run-scoring hits. Multiple knocks with runners in scoring position. Hitters fouling off two-strike pitches to get something better to handle. Not sure where this Nationals team has come from, but I bet Davey Johnson is hoping this group stays around for a while. The Nats have taken a 3-0 lead on Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants through 3 1/2 innings thanks to

Storen on his return: “I’m pretty damn happy about it, to be honest with you”

Nearly three weeks ago, Drew Storen was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse after a stretch that saw him allow 14 earned runs over 11 appearances. It was the first time Storen had been optioned to the minor leagues since his initial promotion to the bigs in May of 2010, and it hit him hard. He had lengthy conversations with manager Davey Johnson, pitching coach Steve McCatty

Haren takes the hill vs. Giants

Dan Haren will try to continue his recent success when he takes the hill for the Nationals in the finale of their three-game series against the Giants. The right-hander has lowered his ERA from 6.15 to 4.99 since coming off the disabled list July 8, allowing 10 earned runs over his past six starts (and half of them came in one outing on July 22).

Nationals recall Storen, send struggling Mattheus to Triple-A Syracuse

When Nationals manager Davey Johnson indicated yesterday that he hasn’t been pleased with the bullpen’s performance of late, he wasn’t kidding. This afternoon, the Nats made a roster move they hope will shore up their relief corps. Right-hander Drew Storen was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse, where he’s been doing well of late. In his past three outings, covering 2 1/3 innings, Storen has struck out

Nats sign Dominican third baseman Anderson Franco

The Nationals have been hesitant to dish out large contracts to international free agents since the Esmailyn Gonzalez incident, but they made a splash in the international signing pool today, signing 16-year-old Dominican third baseman Anderson Franco for $900,000, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler. Franco was ranked as the 29th-best international prospect in this year’s class by Baseball America. He became eligible to sign

Taking the good with the bad

What’s been different over the last six days that has allowed the Nationals to rattle off five straight wins following an embarrassing three-game sweep at the hands of the Braves? Well, part of what’s been different has been the competition. The Braves have the best winning percentage in baseball, while the Phillies and Giants are a combined 29 games under .500. That’ll certainly play a

Span on his game-saving catch: “There’s no better feeling”

There were actually a few factors working against Denard Span as he tried to track down Hunter Pence’s liner in the left-center field gap with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. First of all, Span was shading Pence towards right-center field, increasing the amount of ground he had to cover in order to prevent the ball from dropping in, tying the game

Johnson on Span’s catch, bullpen issues in dramatic 6-5 win

Davey Johnson didn’t just let out a figurative sigh of relief after Denard Span made a game-saving catch in the top of the ninth, laying out in the left-center field gap to rob Hunter Pence of a hit that would have at least tied the game and possibly given the Giants a lead. Johnson literally let out a sigh of relief as he met with

Zimmermann puts in seven strong (Span saves the day in 6-5 win)

On a night when the Nationals needed a lengthy start from Jordan Zimmermann, having used four relievers after a rain delay last night, Zimmermann delivered. It wasn’t the right-hander’s finest outing, as he threw 82 pitches in his first four frames and needed to finagle out of a couple of jams. But Zimmermann has found a way to get through seven innings, needing just 30

Desmond continues to dominate Lincecum (spring training note, game update)

Glancing down at the batter-pitcher matchups before tonight’s game, it wasn’t hard to spot Ian Desmond’s career batting line against Giants starter Tim Lincecum. Desmond was 9-for-11 off Lincecum entering tonight, with one homer, two doubles and five RBIs. We can now boost those numbers up a bit. Leading off the bottom of the second, Desmond demolished a 2-2 Lincecum changeup way out to left-center

Ramos’ injury not serious (Gonzalez, Zimmermann, Strasburg updates)

Wilson Ramos was wearing a smile this afternoon, something you don’t often see on a player’s face the day after he needed to leave a game due to the aggravation of a previous injury. Turns out, Ramos’ left hamstring is not seriously injured, and will likely only knock him from the Nationals’ lineup for a couple of days. “(I’m) a little bit happy because it’s

Harper returns, Ramos out

After being out of yesterday’s starting lineup due to the flu, Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals lineup tonight, hitting third and playing left field. Harper pinch-hit in the eighth inning last night and was intentionally walked. He’ll try and go a full nine innings tonight. As expected, catcher Wilson Ramos is out of the lineup after aggravating a left hamstring injury last night.

Going streaking

Coming into the season, the Nationals felt like they had a team that was capable of running off numerous lengthy winning streaks. Players and front office staffers believed that with the starting rotation being structured the way it was, with four very talented, young starters and one proven veteran, and with a seemingly improved back of the bullpen, wins would come in bunches. Fast forward

Postgame reactions to the win and the Gonzalez/Werth dugout spat

Before we get into the 4-2 Nationals victory, let’s hear from the guys involved in, and close to, the first-inning dugout confrontation between Jayson Werth and Gio Gonzalez that was seen on the MASN broadcast. Well, we’ll hear from some of the guys involved in the incident. Werth declined to comment after the game, and Gonzalez was only willing to say that what happened “stays

Ramos re-injures hamstring, Gonzalez dealing with tight back

The Nationals picked up their fourth straight win with tonight’s 4-2 victory over the Giants, but they suffered a loss, as well. Catcher Wilson Ramos re-injured his left hamstring, which has already twice landed him on the disabled list this season, during tonight’s game. The good news is that this time, the hamstring doesn’t appear to be severely strained, but manager Davey Johnson said that

LaRoche LaRocks one (Nats win 4-2)

That headline was terrible. I’m truly sorry. It’s 10:30 p.m. and we’re only in the sixth inning and I’ve had three cups of coffee. The rest of the night could be interesting. Adam LaRoche has given the Nationals a 3-1 lead after six innings thanks to his two-run homer that was demolished way out to right. The ball was hit with such force that it

Gonzalez, Werth involved in dugout dispute (Giants tie it up)

Gio Gonzalez and Jayson Werth were involved in a bit of a confrontation in the Nationals dugout after the top of the first inning tonight, presumably because of Gonzalez’s failure to cover first base on a ground ball to the right side. The play in question came on a Buster Posey ground ball to first base with runners at first and second with one out.

Nats and Giants share frustrations on disappointing 2013 campaigns

Earlier this afternoon, before sitting down with reporters for his daily pregame press conference, Nationals manager Davey Johnson met up with Giants manager Bruce Bochy and some of the San Francisco coaches. Johnson has struggled to come up with answers for why his offense has struggled this season, but he’s not alone. While the Nats rank fourth-worst in the majors in runs scored this season,

Harper battling the flu, plus Ohlendorf, Detwiler updates

Davey Johnson is feeling much more spry today than he did Sunday, when he spent the final two innings of the Nationals’ win over the Phillies on a training table with back pain. Johnson got a couple of shots in his back yesterday to numb the affected area and then an injection of cortisone, and that seems to have done the trick. The 70-year-old skipper

Harper out of Nats’ lineup against Bumgarner

The Nationals’ lineup against Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner does not feature Bryce Harper. Scott Hairston will play left field and hit eighth tonight, with Harper getting the day off. We can assume that the reason for Harper’s absence is his struggles against left-handed pitching this season. Harper has hit just .172/.270/.276 against southpaws in 2013, while Hairston has a career .268 batting average and .817

A Drew Storen update

The Nationals welcome the San Francisco Giants to town today for the first of three games at Nats Park. Let’s just call it the Battle of the Underachievers. These two teams rival the Angels and maybe the Blue Jays in the most disappointing department this season, with the Giants in last place in the National League West, sitting 13 games under .500, and the Nats

Offensively, Nats showing signs of life

Individually, you can decide how much you choose to make out of the Nationals’ offensive explosion this weekend. Yes, it came against the Phillies, who own the fifth-worst team ERA in the majors. Yes, it was just three games, which in no way means that the Nats have snapped out of their season-long offensive funk and gotten on track. Some of you might choose to

Johnson discusses Strasburg’s gem and Werth’s injury after 6-0 win

Davey Johnson couldn’t bear to watch Stephen Strasburg finish off his shutout in tonight’s 6-0 Nationals win. That had nothing to do with Strasburg or anything Johnson was seeing on the field. Turns out, Johnson’s back was acting up so much that the Nats’ 70-year-old skipper had to head back to the trainer’s room to apply some heat packs and watch the final two innings

Strasburg on first career shutout: “My stuff was just on today”

When discussing his individual goals for this season back in spring training, Stephen Strasburg would often come back to one word that he hoped would eventually be used to describe him. Workhorse. After a 2012 season in which he never worked longer than seven innings and was shut down during a pennant race after 159 1/3 innings, Strasburg was determined to become the guy that

Could Strasburg tally another career first? (Strasburg shuts out Phillies)

Through seven scoreless innings tonight, Stephen Strasburg has thrown just 82 pitches. He’s struck out 10, surrendered just four hits and a walk and failed to allow a runner into scoring position. Strasburg has notched a number of firsts this season, and he could be in line for another. His first career complete game is well within reach. This is now Strasburg’s 10th career double-digit

Werth keeps on raking, Strasburg is cruising (the lead increases)

I’ve never been too good at math, but I’m pretty sure Jayson Werth now has 1,001 hits for his career. End one game at 1,000 hits and deliver an RBI single to center in your first at-bat the next night, and I think that leaves us at 1,001. Feel free to double-check the numbers for me. Werth continues to rake, delivering a run-scoring single off

A handful of pregame notes

OK, one more Jayson Werth stat, and then I’m done for now. Since July 1, Werth has a .404 batting average, which is the best in the majors by quite a wide margin. The Rangers’ Adrian Beltre ranks second in batting average since July 1 with a .372 mark, and the Tigers’ Victor Martinez is right behind Beltre at .371. But Werth’s hot streak over

Lombardozzi starting at second base as Nats go for sweep

The Nationals will shoot for the sweep in this three-game series against the Phillies this evening, with Stephen Strasburg (5-9, 3.01 ERA) taking the ball for the Nats and right-hander Kyle Kendrick (9-8, 4.29) going for the Phils. Steve Lombardozzi will play second base for the Nats today, with Anthony Rendon getting a day off. This will be Wilson Ramos’ eighth time starting behind the

Examining some remarkable Werth numbers

Stop whatever it is you’re doing, folks. I’ve got some shocking news to pass along. The Atlanta Braves actually lost a game yesterday, snapping their 14-game winning streak. Apparently the Upton brothers and their teammates are human, after all. With that Atlanta loss and the Nationals’ win over the Phillies, yesterday marked the first time since all the way back on July 25 that the

Werth and Harper on the homer, the squeeze and the Gatorade attack

Batting practice pitcher Ali Modami informed Jayson Werth after his sixth-inning single that the outfielder was one hit away from 1,000 for his career. Werth didn’t need to wait long before putting himself in that thousand-hit club. Just an inning later, Werth launched a two-run homer to left, giving the Nationals their first lead of the game and pushing Werth into four-digit-hit territory for his

Johnson discusses Nats’ 8-5 win

As if it wasn’t enough that Jayson Werth continued his lengthy hot streak with a two-run go-ahead homer in the seventh that lifted the Nationals to victory tonight, it just happened to be Werth’s 1,000th career hit and it just happened to come against the 34-year-old’s former team. Quite a memorable set of circumstances for Werth, who earned a curtain call after the home run

Werth’s 1,000th career hit is a doozy (Nats win 8-5)

Just one pitch after Bryce Harper’s popped-up bunt turned into a game-tying safety squeeze, Jayson Werth reached the 1,000-hit mark in style. Werth lofted the first pitch of Zach Miner’s outing just over the left field wall, giving the Nationals a 6-4 lead. The Nats right fielder got greeted warmly upon his return to the dugout, and the fans got in on the act, as

A Ruf inning for Jordan (the deficit is trimmed further)

After facing the minimum in his first inning of work tonight, Taylor Jordan nearly didn’t get out of the second. Jordan allowed four runs on five hits in the second inning, allowing nine Phillies hitters to come to the plate and forcing the Nationals bullpen into action early. Darin Ruf delivered the big blow for the Phillies, crushing the first pitch he saw from Jordan

On Jordan’s innings limit and plans for Ohlendorf

Two years ago, in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery, Jordan Zimmermann was shut down at 161 1/3 innings. Last season, Stephen Strasburg was shut down after 159 1/3 innings. This year, it’s Taylor Jordan that the Nationals are putting on an innings limit as he comes back from 2011 Tommy John surgery. Jordan, the 24-year-old right-hander who gets the ball for

Nats, Phillies lineups

Taylor Jordan gets a tough test tonight, matching up against Phillies starter Cliff Lee and his 3.13 ERA in game two of this three-game set between the Nationals and Phils. Lee has fared well against the Nats over the course of his career, but the Nats got to him for four homers (all solo shots) the last time they faced the left-hander, in Philly back

Some leftovers from last night

Dan Haren’s 2013 season is starting to directly mirror his 2012 campaign. Awful start to the season, DL stint in June/July, really strong finish. It was that strong finish last season (Haren pitched to a 2.76 ERA over his final seven starts with 34 strikeouts to five walks) that convinced the Nationals that Haren still had plenty of left in the tank and led to

Haren: “I was a bad start or two away from getting released. That’s just the truth”

When you look at the numbers, the about-face really is remarkable. In his first 15 starts of the season, Dan Haren posted a 6.15 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and was averaging 2.09 home runs per nine innings. He went on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, got a cortisone shot, and took some time to get right mentally. In his last six starts for the Nationals,

Johnson on Haren’s turnaround, offensive breakthrough

The happy moments have been few and far between for the Nationals lately, but tonight was a chance to revel in an offensive explosion and another stellar outing from a well-liked guy who has completely turned his season around in the last month. The Nats pounded out nine runs on 12 hits in tonight’s 9-2 win over the Phillies, and they got seven innings of

Lannan getting a rude welcome back to D.C. (Nats win 9-2)

Coming into tonight’s game, John Lannan had allowed just two runs in 13 innings against the Nationals this season. Back in D.C. for the first time since being non-tendered by the Nats last winter, Lannan is getting smacked around pretty good early on. The Nats have put up four runs on six hits through just three innings, with Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman combining to

Johnson on failing to meet expectations, where blame should lie

After Wednesday’s loss to Atlanta, a defeat that wrapped up a three-game sweep at the hands of the Braves, we started to see the tone change in comments by Nationals players. Gone was the talk about how the Nats had too much talent to be playing at such a mediocre pace for much longer. Gone were the comments about how the National League East title

Updates on LaRoche, Ohlendorf, Detwiler and Porter

A handful of Nationals players and staff used their off day yesterday to hit the links, playing in a tournament hosted by the Lerner family. Manager Davey Johnson was one of those who participated, and he struck it pretty well, posting four bogeys and a birdie on the front nine. “Just sweet-stroking it,” Johnson said. Johnson had to take the last few holes off because

LaRoche in lineup against Lannan (updated)

The Nationals will face old buddy John Lannan again tonight. But, first baseman Adam LaRoche will take a seat against the lefty. Chad Tracy will play first base tonight. Without Tyler Moore around, the Nats lack a right-handed complement to LaRoche at first base. Lannan returns to D.C. today for the first time since being non-tendered by the Nats this winter. Update: Change of plans.

Talking Haren and the waiver wire

Tired of the doom and gloom talk? Had enough of discussions about the Nationals’ “World Series or Bust” season looking a lot like “bust” with a quarter of the schedule still remaining? How about some good news, then? Ready? Dan Haren gets the ball for the Nats tonight when they open a three-game series with the Phillies. A month ago, fans probably wouldn’t have seen

Zimmermann, lefties starting to struggle

I mentioned last night that Jordan Zimmermann has hit a pretty rough patch since the All-Star break, posting a 6.75 ERA and a 1.929 WHIP in four starts after his first Midsummer Classic. This comes after Zimmermann was one of the most consistent starters in baseball in the first half of the season. He allowed more than three runs in an outing just three times

Reality starting to set in

For months now, Nationals players, coaches and front office personnel have countered questions about the team’s continued struggles by saying that they have a talented roster and that there was plenty of time left for things to turn and for talent to show through. Well, there’s no longer plenty of time left for things to turn. And so far, the talent still hasn’t shown through.

Hearing from Zimmermann, Krol, Mattheus and Roark

You’ve already seen Jordan Zimmermann’s quotes where he denied that he was feeling tightness in his neck, as manager Davey Johnson had indicated. So if it wasn’t the neck, why was Zimmermann so off tonight, allowing seven hits, two walks and two runs in just four innings of work? “I had really, really good stuff today,” Zimmermann said. “I just either was 0-2 and I

Johnson discusses sweep at the hands of Atlanta

Prior to tonight’s 6-3 loss to the Braves, a defeat that resulted in the second Atlanta sweep at Nationals Park this season, Davey Johnson threw his back out. He appeared fine after the game, but in the 70-year-old skipper’s mind, that injury was symbolic of how this season has gone for his club. The Nats came into this series against Atlanta hoping to, at the

A heck of a debut from Roark (Nats lose 6-3, swept by Braves)

Tanner Roark outpitched Jordan Zimmermann by a wide margin today. Baseball can be a funky game. Making his major league debut, Roark, who was called up from Triple-A Syracuse yesterday, pitched two scoreless innings, keeping this game tied 2-2. Roark worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning, his first in relief of Zimmermann (who left after allowing seven hits over four frames), and after surrendering a leadoff

A whole lot of nothing (Werth knots it up with a bomb)

Dating back to last night, the Nationals are 0-for-their-last-15 with 10 strikeouts. Somehow, some way, it keeps finding a way to get worse. The Nats trail 1-0 after three innings tonight and have been set down in order by Kris Medlen to this point. Nine up, nine down. Four strikeouts, five groundouts. Not a single ball hit out of the infield. How much of that

Johnson doesn’t expect Nats to retaliate after benches-clearing incident

A day after Bryce Harper was drilled on the thigh by a Julio Teheran fastball and voiced his displeasure with what he felt was an uncalled-for plunking and saw both benches empty, the chatter about the incident continues. Nationals players continue to believe that Teheran intentionally hit Harper two innings after Harper took Teheran deep and made a slower-than-usual trot around the bases. That hasn’t

Span leading off as Nats try to avoid sweep (Heyward in Braves lineup)

Denard Span is back leading off for the Nationals as manager Davey Johnson produced yet another lineup this afternoon. Ryan Zimmerman will hit second. The Braves are 9-3 against the Nats this season and 5-0 at Nats Park. The Nats will try and take a stand in the home-field advantage department tonight. Jason Heyward is back in the Braves lineup tonight after leaving yesterday’s game

Questioning the interpretation of one of baseball’s unwritten rules

Is this what the game has come to? Are we really at the point in today’s game that when a player looks at a home run for a second or two before running around the bases, he gets drilled the next time he comes to the plate? Or the following week? Or two months down the road? Don’t confuse my intentions by writing this. I’m

Johnson discusses Nats’ 2-1 loss to Braves

A reporter asked Davey Johnson after tonight’s 2-1 Nationals loss, a loss that dropped the Nats to 54-59 on the season and left them averaging a paltry 3.68 runs per game, what can be done about the lack of offense. Johnson let out a deep sigh. “I’m asking you,” Johnson responded. “Either they’re pitching that good, or we just ... I don’t know. I don’t

Reactions from both sides to Harper HBP, benches clearing

Following tonight’s 2-1 Nationals loss to the Braves, Bryce Harper calmly answered questions about being hit by a first-pitch, 94 mph Julio Teheran fastball in the fifth inning, a pitch that led to Harper taking a couple of steps towards the mound and shouting a few choice words at the Braves right-hander. Harper felt the pitch was payback for his home run in the third

Benches clear after Harper hit by Teheran pitch (Nats lose 2-1)

Things got interesting in the bottom of the fifth inning, when benches cleared following Bryce Harper being drilled by a first-pitch, 94 mph fastball from Braves righty Julio Teheran. Harper took exception to the hit-by-pitch, which he clearly felt was intentional following his home run off Teheran in the third inning. Harper took a couple of steps toward the mound and gestured at Teheran, but

The power of the mustache (Braves get the breaks in the fifth)

Bryce Harper has a new look today, having rid himself of the full beard that he’s been sporting for much of the season. All that’s left in the facial hair department is a mustache, and it apparently has brought some luck. Harper smoked a one-out solo homer to dead center in the third inning, his 17th longball of the season, giving the Nationals a 1-0

Johnson on Zimmerman’s throwing and a possible move to first base

Davey Johnson is going with a new-look lineup tonight, with Bryce Harper leading off, Ryan Zimmerman starting in the two-hole for the first time in his career, Wilson Ramos hitting sixth and Anthony Rendon eighth. Essentially, Johnson has just gotten rid of a leadoff hitter and moved of his middle-of-the-order hitters up a spot. What was the rationale for that alignment? “It’s just something,” Johnson

Werth back in Nats lineup

Jayson Werth is back in the Nationals lineup tonight against the Braves after being scratched from starting on Monday because of a strained groin. Werth pinch hit in the seventh of yesterday’s loss to Atlanta, but returns to the lineup as the Nats seek their first win in three games. Also, Ryan Zimmerman is making his first career start in the No. 2 spot in

Nats promote Tanner Roark, option Cedeno, move Detwiler to 60-day DL

The Nationals made a series of roster moves today, selecting the contract of right-hander Tanner Roark from Triple-A Syracuse, optioning left-hander Xavier Cedeno back to Syracuse and transferring lefty Ross Detwiler to the 60-day DL. Optioning Cedeno to Triple-A clears a spot for Roark on the 25-man active roster, and moving Detwiler from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL opens a spot for Roark

Frustration, confusion continue to build

Ready for a few mind-numbing stats? Stephen Strasburg has a 2.14 ERA in four starts against the Braves this season. He’s allowed just five runs and struck out 26 in 21 innings against Atlanta. Yet, Strasburg is 0-1 in those four starts. The Nationals have scored two runs or fewer in 45.5 percent of their games this season. This season, the average major league team

Hearing from Hairston, Clippard, Span and Desmond

It doesn’t make the defeat any easier to stomach, but while the Nationals have had losses this season where the bats were nearly completely silent, at least they stuck the ball well tonight. That was something that Davey Johnson pointed out as a minor glimmer on a relatively dark night for the home team at Nats Park. “That’s been happening a lot lately,” Scott Hairston

Johnson: “Boy, we needed that one”

Another tight ballgame, another strong pitching performance, another night where the offense isn’t able to deliver. Tonight’s 3-2 Nationals loss feels like so many before it. The Nats took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, got seven strong frames from Stephen Strasburg and then watched things slip away. Justin Upton’s solo homer leading off the eighth off Tyler Clippard gave the Braves the lead,

More RISP problems and another deficit (Nats lose 3-2)

In six of the seven innings played so far tonight, the Nationals have put the leadoff man on base. In those six innings, they’ve gone 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The Nats have struggled again in big spots tonight, and we saw an example of that when they had a golden chance to take the lead in the seventh after Scott Hairston doubled to

LaRoche seems to like his new lumber (Nats tie it up)

Prior to borrowing Jayson Werth’s bat out in Milwaukee, Adam LaRoche was in a 1-for-28 slump and had just three extra-base hits in his last 53 at-bats. Since trying out Werth’s lumber during his third at-bat Saturday night against the Brewers, LaRoche is 4-for-8 with two homers and a double. That bat won’t be leaving LaRoche’s locker anytime soon, you can count on that. Actually,

Pregame notes on the Braves, Werth’s bat and McCatty’s return

We’ve covered the Biogenesis story from a couple different angles, with reactions to Gio Gonzalez being cleared of wrongdoing and 13 players being suspended for purchasing/taking performance-enhancers. Now how about a non-PED blog entry for the first time in a while? Sounds good to me. The Nationals enter this three-game set with the Braves tonight well-aware of where things stand with 51 games remaining on

Zimmerman: “It’s great to see these guys get in trouble for what they’ve done”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the reactions inside the clubhouses to today’s sweeping suspensions handed down by Major League Baseball for players’ involvement with Biogenesis were very wide-ranging. Some, like Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche and the Braves’ B.J. Upton, had no interest in discussing the 13 suspensions and the fallout from players getting caught using performance-enhancers. “I’m so over it. I don’t even care anymore,” LaRoche

Werth scratched from Nats’ lineup, named NL Player of the Month

Jayson Werth has been named the National League Player of the Month. He’ll celebrate with an unplanned day of rest. Werth has been scratched from the Nationals’ lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Braves. Manager Davey Johnson said this afternoon that Werth’s bruised right hand isn’t really much of an issue, but the strained groin that Werth aggravated this weekend in Milwaukee is still

MLB finds “no violations” by Gonzalez in Biogenesis investigation (with statement)

After months of waiting, we finally have the official list of players suspended by Major League Baseball for their involvement in the purchase of performance-enhancing drugs from Biogenesis, a now-shuttered anti-aging clinic in the Miami area. And Gio Gonzalez isn’t on it. MLB formally announced that they have found “no violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program” by Gonzalez. As a result, he

Braves come to town, Nats not expecting Gonzalez suspension (Gonzalez cleared)

I’m back, folks. Can’t get rid of me that easily. Big thanks to the MASNsports.com staff for filling in over the last few days while I was out of town for my good buddy’s wedding. I wish I could say I’m returning to the beat rested and refreshed, but that’s most certainly not the case. Still, it’s good to be back. I guess I missed

Nats fail to complete series sweep after 8-5 loss to Brewers

The Nationals came into today’s game seeking their first road series sweep since September of 2012. They will leave Milwaukee still searching for that first series sweep after losing to the Brewers 8-5. The Nats came into the sixth inning with Taylor Jordan cruising while leading 4-1. Jordan quickly loaded the bases, from which the Nationals could never recover, as the Brewers scored five runs.

Suzuki, Nats strike early (Nats lose 8-5)

The Nationals are seeking their first series sweep on the road since September of 2012. Kurt Suzuki has done his part in making sure this happens. Suzuki drove in two with a single to right in the second inning to give the Nats a 2-0 lead. The inning started after Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond were hit by pitches, and Steve Lombardozzi picked up a

Ohlendorf to the DL (Werth in lineup)

The Nationals will look to sweep the Brewers later this afternoon, but they have been hit with the injury bug once again. Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 1, with right shoulder inflammation. To take his spot on the roster, the Nationals recalled left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno from Triple-A Syracuse. This will be Cedeno’s third stint with the

Haren throws seven scoreless innings in Nats’ 3-0 win (Werth has groin injury)

The Nationals won their second series since the All-Star break after a 3-0 win over the Brewers. Dan Haren pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits, while walking two and striking out six. Since returning from the disabled list on July 7, Haren’s ERA is 2.40. The Nats’ offense was powered by solo homers from Wilson Ramos and Adam LaRoche. LaRoche might have to

Detwiler could miss remainder of the season (Nats win 3-0)

Left-hander Ross Detwiler could miss the remainder of the season according to manager Davey Johnson, as told to reporters in Milwuakee. Detwiler has been on the disabled list since July 4 with a herniated disc in his lower back. Detwiler is currently in the middle of a 30-day rest period. The Nationals then hope to put Detwiler on a throwing program that will rebuild his

Span leading off in Game 2 of Nats-Brewers

The Nationals will use a different lineup tonight, one day after beating the Brewers 4-1. Denard Span returns to the leadoff spot after several games in the seventh spot. Friday’s hero, Bryce Harper will be hitting second. Right-hander Dan Haren will take the mound and will be opposed by right-hander Donovan Hand. For the Nats CF Denard Span LF Bryce Harper 3B Ryan Zimmerman RF

No plans to promote Moore for now

Following the two-game disaster in Detroit, the Nationals open a three-game set with the Brewers starting tonight. They do so with their general manager locked up long-term and their No. 3-5 starters set to take the mound in Milwaukee. Tonight, it’ll be Jordan Zimmermann getting the ball against old pal Tom Gorzelanny, who has worked his way into the Brewers’ rotation within the last month.

Rizzo promoted, signed to contract extension

The Nationals have announced tonight that they’ve signed Mike Rizzo to a long-term contract extension and promoted Rizzo to the position of president of baseball operations and general manager. “Upon purchasing the Nationals, Mike Rizzo was our first hire and he has performed brilliantly,” owner Theodore N. Lerner said in a statement. “We started with an idea about how baseball teams should be built and

Final notes and quotes from Detroit

DETROIT - Before I pack up and head out of Detroit late this morning, I wanted to pass along some bonus thoughts from the Nationals’ two games at Comerica Park, which, by the way, I really enjoyed visiting for the first time. You never really hear Comerica mentioned as one of the nicer parks in the majors, and while it certainly isn’t up there with

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