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Williams discusses Nats’ 10-4 loss to Phillies

The Phillies pounded out 17 hits and pushed across 10 runs. The Nationals made three errors and allowed three stolen bases. This game could have been closer than the final six-run deficit had the Nats cashed in on opportunities and played a little cleaner. williams Instead, the Phillies cruised to a 10-4 win in the opener of this four-game series. Gio Gonzalez allowed five runs

Gonzalez on mound for series opener against Phillies (LaRoche scratched)

After a nine-game road trip in which they went 5-4, the Nationals are back home to face the Phillies. There’s no word yet on when newly acquired second baseman/shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will join the team. The Nationals (58-47) have a 1 1/2-game lead in the National League over the second-place Braves. The Phillies sit at the bottom of the division with a 47-61 record. For

Nats acquire infielder Asdrubal Cabrera from Indians for Zach Walters (updated twice)

The Nationals have added an infielder less than an hour before the non-waiver trade deadline. Shortstop/second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera is coming to D.C. from the Indians, a source confirms. In return, the Nats will send infielder Zach Walters to Cleveland. Update: The trade is now official. The Nats have acquired Cabrera and cash considerations from the Indians in exchange for Walters. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com

Deadline day is here

The non-waiver trade deadline is now less than six hours away. One blockbuster deadline-day deal has already come together today, as the Red Sox have sent Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes. Yeah, if that deal doesn’t get you excited, I’ve got nothing for you. Just a monster trade put together by the Sox and A’s, and luckily for the

Roark, Desmond and Storen on Nats’ 4-3 win over Marlins

Tanner Roark might’ve walked the first batter of Wednesday’s sweep-avoiding 4-3 win over the Marlins, but he was exceptional from there. Roark allowed just one run on three hits and two walks while striking out seven in seven innings. The Nationals right-hander has held opponents to exactly one run in seven innings in each of his last four starts for a sparkling 1.29 ERA and

Williams: Rizzo “will not make a trade just to make a trade”

One day remains until baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline and whether the Nationals will be active or stand pat remains to be determined. The pitching staff is just fine, and entered play today leading the majors in ERA. Maybe the only obvious area for improvement is second or third base with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (hamstring) now out for the foreseeable future. But there’s no guarantee

Werth returns to Nats lineup

MIAMI - Jayson Werth is back in the Nationals lineup after a sprained right ankle relegated him to pinch-hitting duty in Tuesday’s game. Werth is batting third and playing right as the Nats look to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Marlins. And they’ll need to go through Miami lefty Brad Hand to do it. Adam LaRoche is 3-for-5 with a homer and

Depth getting tested once again

MIAMI - It doesn’t seem like it was too long ago that we were talking about how the Nationals were finally healthy, and possessed a deep lineup that was torturous to opposing pitchers from one through eight in the order. On this road trip, however, that depth has been tested yet again. Ryan Zimmerman landed on the disabled list with a severe hamstring injury a

Hearing from Williams, Desmond, Strasburg and Harper after Nats’ 3-0 loss

MIAMI - The Nationals jumped out to a 6-0 lead after six innings yesterday. Since then, it’s been all Marlins. Stephen Strasburg and Henderson Alvarez were locked in a scoreless duel through five innings tonight, but Giancarlo Stanton drove in a run in the sixth on a hanging Strasburg breaking ball, then brought in one of two Marlins runs in the ninth, leading Miami to

Werth on his ankle and availability

Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth thinks his sprained right ankle is a “minor” injury and hopes he’ll be available off the bench tonight. Werth hurt the ankle in the seventh inning of last night’s game, and is out of tonight’s starting lineup. He had hoped the ankle would feel better this morning, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, Werth said, it was “sore, sore and

Werth out of Nats lineup a day after spraining right ankle

MIAMI - Jayson Werth said last night that he hoped his sprained right ankle, an injury suffered in the seventh inning of last night’s loss to the Marlins, would be well enough for him to be back in the lineup for Game 2 of this three-game series in Miami. That won’t turn out to be the case. Werth is out of the Nationals lineup tonight,

Ready to put last night in the rear view mirror

MIAMI - Luckily for the Nationals, they haven’t had too many nights like last night. There haven’t been many grit-your-teeth, clench-your-fist type of losses to this point in the season, games that the Nats had in their grasp but let slip away late. Yes, last night was Rafael Soriano’s fourth blown save of the season, but one of those four games ended up turning into

Werth day-to-day after spraining right ankle

MIAMI - Jayson Werth wasn’t out on the field or in the dugout for the end of the Nationals’ 7-6 loss to the Marlins. A sprained right ankle suffered in the top of the seventh inning when Werth tried to stretch a single into a double knocked Werth from the game, but the Nats’ right fielder doesn’t expect the injury to be anything serious. He

Quotes from the clubhouse after Nats’ tough 7-6 walk-off loss

MIAMI - Their 6-0 lead turned into a four-run advantage after the Marlins got two in the seventh. The four-run edge was cut to three when Miami plated one more on an RBI groundout in the eighth. Still, a three-run lead with Rafael Soriano on the mound seemed secure, given that Soriano had been 25 of 28 in save chances entering today and had notched

Williams on second base rotation, Zimmerman, Soriano and more

Since losing third baseman/outfielder Ryan Zimmerman last Tuesday to a hamstring injury, Nationals manager Matt Williams has started Danny Espinosa, Zach Walters and Kevin Frandsen at second base. Espinosa has started three of the five games despite sporting a .214 average this season. He will also start tonight’s series opener in Miami after picking up one hit in Sunday’s win over the Reds. “I just

Espinosa back at second as Nats open series in Miami

MIAMI - Danny Espinosa went 1-for-4 yesterday in Cincinnati and struck the ball well three times. He’s 4-for-14 over the past five games and finally looking like he’s pulling out of his offensive funk even though his average remains at .214. He’s back at second base tonight as the Nationals open a three-game series against the Marlins. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (6-5, 3.20 ERA) opposes Miami

Nats’ keys to success: Keep winning rubber games, keep winning series

MIAMI - The Nationals’ longest winning streak of the season is five games. That’s it, just five games. They haven’t ripped off any type of magical 10-game stretch yet this season. They haven’t caught fire and instantly shot themselves up the National League standings within a brief span. So how do the Nationals currently sit atop the NL East and own the best winning percentage

Good outweighs bad as Nats claim series win over Reds (updated)

If someone had told you that the Nationals were going to go to Cincinnati, fail to hit a home run over three games and run into outs like 2007 Nook Logan (still my favorite Charlie Slowes call of all time), would you have expected two wins in a three-game series? Luckily, seven shutout innings by right-hander Doug Fister on Sunday bailed out the baserunning mistakes

Fifth-inning rally stakes Nats to 3-0 advantage (Fister, Nats win 4-2)

So much for the notion that yesterday’s baserunning follies were a one-game aberration. The Nationals ran themselves out of a possible rally in the first inning of today’s game against the Reds, after Anthony Rendon had walked and stolen second. Jayson Werth shot a ground ball deep into the hole at short and Rendon, perhaps thinking it would sneak through, took off for third. Shortstop

Espinosa at second base, Lobaton behind plate (under way after rain delay)

CINCINNATI - Danny Espinosa is back at second base today for the finale of the Nats’ three-game series at Great American Ball Park against the Reds. Jose Lobaton is behind the plate, catching Nationals right-hander Doug Fister. In the seven games Lobaton has been his batterymate, Fister has worked to a 2.09 ERA and opposing batters have hit only .214. Fister will be opposed by

Williams, Harper and Gonzalez on Nats’ 1-0 loss to Reds

CINCINNATI - The Nationals had some early chances, putting two on in the first and getting the leadoff hitter aboard in four of the first five innings today. They were unable to score in those spots, however, and the missed opportunities combined with a few baserunning errors led to a 1-0 loss to the Reds. The Nats ran into three outs on the bases, two

Scoreless draw heads to fourth inning (Nats fall 1-0)

Lots of zeroes on the scoreboard so far, as the Reds’ gloves have done a nice job of blunting a couple of potential scoring opportunities for the Nationals. In the first, the Nats had runners on first and second with one out when Adam LaRoche struck a ball that appeared destined to sail over the head of center fielder Billy Hamilton. But Hamilton caught up

Zimmerman’s latest injury will create playing time for reserves

Remember early in the season when Ryan Zimmerman’s fractured thumb led to some interesting lineup combinations as first-year Nationals manager Matt Williams juggled the batting order to get keep his bench players fresh? Get ready for more of the same, which should make the guys riding the pine happier. With Zimmerman landing on the 15-day disabled list because of a right hamstring strain, and the

Frandsen starts at second base vs. Cueto

CINCINNATI - With the Nationals facing another right-handed starter today, Matt Williams isn’t using either of his switch-hitting options at second base. Instead, right-handed-hitting Kevin Frandsen gets the start at second with the Nats taking on Reds righty Johnny Cueto. Zach Walters started at second base yesterday against a righty, going 1-for-4 with an RBI double, and Danny Espinosa also could give the Nats a

With Roark leading the charge, Nats expand division lead

CINCINNATI - I love stories about athletes who seemingly came out of nowhere, players who didn’t break into the pros as heralded, hyped prospects but who worked hard and maximized their ability. Tanner Roark could certainly fit into that group. And his journey over the past few years continues to look cooler with each passing start. You’ve heard it all by now plenty of times.

Williams and Roark discuss Nats’ 4-1 win

CINCINNATI - Tanner Roark keeps on grooving. And so do the Nationals as a whole. Roark worked seven strong innings tonight, allowing just one run, picking up his 10th win of the year and dropping his ERA to 2.82 on the season, and the Nats picked up a 4-1 win in the opener of this three-game set with the slumping Reds. Denard Span had four

Williams on Zimmerman’s status, Walters at second

The Nationals get back to work after the off-day, starting a brutal stretch where they play 17 straight days and 33 of 34. And they’ll have to go through at least a good chunk of that without third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury on Wednesday. Manager Matt Williams had nothing new about the timetable for Zimmerman’s return

Walters gets first career start at second base

CINCINNATI - On Wednesday, in his first at-bat back in the big leagues after taking the roster spot of the injured Ryan Zimmerman, Zach Walters dropped a pinch-hit single into center, extending the ninth inning and nearly leading to a Nationals comeback from a four-run deficit. Today, Walters is in the Nats’ starting lineup, getting his first career big league start at second base. This

Span quietly putting together a strong 2014 campaign

CINCINNATI - The Nationals sure are catching the Reds at the right time. Cincinnati had won seven of its last nine games going into the All-Star break, sat seven games over .500 and was 1 1/2 games back of the National League Central-leading Brewers. Now, the Reds have lost six in a row coming out of the break, are just a game over .500 and

The Nationals lost Wednesday, and yet, Aaron Barrett earned a win

In no way was it planned. The two men barely knew each other, having only had a brief conversation in the weight room after Monday night’s game. Aaron Barrett had struck out Brandon Barnes that night, leaving the bases loaded with Rockies. And yesterday afternoon, those two squared off again, before the series finale between the Nationals and Rockies had even started. The contest: an

Strasburg, Desmond and Williams on Nats’ loss to Rockies

The Nationals were unable to finish off a season sweep of the Rockies on Wednesday, seeing a ninth-inning rally fall short in a 6-4 loss. Instead, Washington had to settle for finishing 5-1 against Colorado as the club heads to Cincinnati for the second leg of a three-city road trip. “Just we gave ourselves a chance again. That’s the nature of this ballpark, but then

Zimmerman: “To be able to deal with things like this is one of our strong suits”

After today’s loss to the Rockies, Nationals manager Matt Williams was able to shed some light on Ryan Zimmerman’s MRI results. Not much is known regarding a timetable for the third baseman’s recovery, but Williams indicated that Zimmerman’s hamstring strain isn’t a minor one. “It’s a pretty substantial strain of the hamstring,” Williams said. “So he’s going to fly with us to Cincinnati and he’ll

Williams on ramifications of placing Zimmerman on DL

With the Nationals placing Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list for the second time this season, the team is all of a sudden no longer at full strength. The Nats lose one of their hottest bats with the third baseman being shelved for at least two weeks with a hamstring injury. Infielder Zach Walters was brought up from Triple-A Syracuse to take the open spot

Nats place Zimmerman on DL, call up Walters (plus lineups)

Ryan Zimmerman appears to be headed back to the disabled list, as he isn’t listed on the lineup card today while minor league infielder Zach Walters is among the reserves. Zimmerman suffered a hamstring injury last night when running out an infield grounder in the sixth inning. So it looks like the 44 games he already missed this year because of a fractured thumb won’t

The injury bug bites again

DENVER - There were plenty of positives last night for the Nationals. The 7-4 win over the Rockies, of course. Adam LaRoche snapping a fairly lengthy slump with a massive three-run homer. The bullpen putting up four scoreless innings, giving them 7 1/3 scoreless frames at the hitter-friendly Coors Field this series. Bryce Harper continuing to come around. Jordan Zimmermann making it out of his

Zimmerman dealing with right hamstring strain (plus more after Nats’ 7-4 win)

DENVER - The Nationals don’t know how severe Ryan Zimmerman’s right hamstring injury is just yet. But the early information isn’t too encouraging. Zimmerman had to leave tonight’s 7-4 Nationals win over the Rockies in the sixth inning after coming up lame just before first base on an RBI groundout. Zimmerman made it through the bag, but crumpled to the ground behind the base, and

Williams offers optimistic updates on Zimmermann, Frandsen and Fister

Jordan Zimmermann is set to make his first start since suffering a right biceps strain on July 11. On paper, he couldn’t pick a better opponent to face for his return. In seven career starts against the Rockies, he’s 5-0 with a minuscule 1.64 ERA. However, he will be throwing in tough conditions, which will make skipper Matt Williams keep a close eye on his

Zimmermann set to face Rockies in first start since July 11 (with lineups)

DENVER - Seeking a series win, the Nationals will turn to right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who is making his first start since having to leave the game early on July 11 with a right biceps strain. He managed to go just 3 1/3 innings in that start in Philadelphia before having to exit with the injury, which also caused him to miss the 2014 All-Star Game.

Barrett comes through with big strikeout in a big spot

DENVER - The Rockies had just scored two runs to cut the Nationals’ lead in half. A 4-0 ballgame had quickly become 4-2 in the sixth, and after Doug Fister walked DJ LeMahieu, the seventh batter of the frame, the bases were loaded and the tying run was standing on second base. Manager Matt Williams came to the mound to make a pitching change. He

Williams on Desmond’s big night, Barrett’s big strikeout and more after 7-2 win

DENVER - In a park where the ball absolutely flies, the Nationals held a beat-up Rockies squad to just two runs while the Washington offense just kept on clicking. The Nats pounded out 13 hits, four of the extra-base variety, and Doug Fister picked up his ninth victory in 13 starts this season as the Nationals took the opener of this three-game set 7-2. Ian

Williams explains lineup logic, says Fister’s stuff will play at Coors (updated)

In his last six games, Bryce Harper has raised his average from .246 to .263 and hit a pair of home runs. Ever since taking a more upright approach at the plate, he’s been raking. So why is Harper on the bench tonight as the Nationals open a three-game series at Coors Field against the Rockies? Manager Matt Williams told reporters in Denver that the

Harper out of Nats lineup; Rockies without Tulowitzki, Morneau

DENVER - Just as Bryce Harper is starting to heat up, he’ll take a seat in the opener of the Nationals’ three-game set at Coors Field. Matt Williams has opted to sit Harper against Rockies left-hander Franklin Morales. Ryan Zimmerman will play left field tonight, his first start in left since Harper returned from the disabled list. Danny Espinosa will play second, with Anthony Rendon

Good signs offensively as the games get more meaningful

DENVER - So far in July, the Nationals are hitting an impressive .274 as a team, with a .771 OPS. From March through June, they hit .244 as a team, with a .691 OPS. They’ve scored 5.07 runs per game in July, up from 4.03 in the season’s first three months. They’re averaging 3.71 extra-base hits per July contest, compared to 2.69 per game from

Williams on Nats’ walk-off win over Brewers

Manager Matt Williams seemed a bit relieved to see the Nationals pull off a walk-off 5-4 win over the Brewers Sunday after a back-and-forth affair that seemed dangerously close to a loss. Rafael Soriano might’ve taken his third blown save in the top of the ninth, but Jayson Werth was able to give the Nats a series victory with his two-out RBI double in the

Gonzalez faces Gallardo, lineups for Brewers-Nats finale

After flight issues forced the Nationals to delay Gio Gonzalez’s first start after the All-Star break by a day, the left-hander will be looking to stay hot in this afternoon’s series finale against the Brewers. Gonzalez went into the break riding a streak of four straight quality starts, having allowed three earned runs in 27 2/3 innings for a 0.98 ERA during that time. He

Williams on Roark, Span and more after Nats’ 8-3 win

Tanner Roark continues to impress. And the right-hander, who just over a year ago was still working out of the bullpen at Triple-A Syracuse, now leads the Nationals in wins. Roark allowed just one run in seven stellar innings, the Nats’ bats exploded for five runs in the first inning, knocking Matt Garza from the game after just a third of an inning, and the

Familiar lineup behind Roark against Brewers

Aside from the starting pitcher - in this case, right-hander Tanner Roark - it’ll be a familiar Nationals lineup facing Brewers righty Matt Garza tonight at Nats Park. For the NationalsCF Denard Span 2B Anthony Rendon RF Jayson Werth 1B Adam LaRoche 3B Ryan Zimmerman LF Bryce Harper SS Ian Desmond C Wilson Ramos RHP Tanner Roark

Harper’s new stance pays immediate dividends

It was immediately evident when Bryce Harper hopped into the batting cage at Nationals Park yesterday afternoon that the 21-year-old had made some changes to his stance since we last saw him prior to the All-Star break. Harper was standing taller, without much knee-bend at all, and didn’t have his hands perched up behind his head like he typically does. I thought that it looked

Williams discusses Nats’ 4-2 loss to Brewers

This was a bit of a strange ballgame from the get-go. We had a weird umpire ruling in the bottom of the first when Denard Span was called out for unintentional defensive interference and Anthony Rendon was allowed to take first base despite being thrown out on the play. We had two Nationals relievers get the laces dangling off the gloves trimmed by head trainer

Rizzo on signing Fedde and more on draft signing deadline day

The Nationals beat today’s deadline to sign 2014 draft picks by coming to terms with their first-round pick, right-hander Erick Fedde out of UNLV. Fedde went 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA in 11 starts as a junior this season, but his year was cut short by Tommy John surgery. However, the Nats did miss out on two of their top-10 round picks, failing to agree

Nats lineup for opener against Brewers (Aug. 10 time change)

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg gets the nod tonight as the Nationals open a three-game series against the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. For the NationalsCF Denard Span 2B Anthony Rendon RF Jayson Werth 1B Adam LaRoche 3B Ryan Zimmerman LF Bryce Harper SS Ian Desmond C Wilson Ramos RHP Stephen Strasburg Note: The time for the Nats’ game in Atlanta on Sunday, Aug. 10 has been

Back at it

Boy, that break seemed to go quickly. Four days off in the middle of the season is always welcome. Heck, I know I needed it, and all I do is put on a suit and talk about baseball on television and do some writing for this here Web site. I can’t imagine how needed the break was for the players who are going through all

Who’s your first-half Most Valuable National?

OK, we’ll make this nice and simple on the final day of the All-Star break. Who are you choosing as your first-half Most Valuable National? This is a tough question to answer, of course, because there have been a number of steady contributors to this team. Only two Nationals made the All-Star team - Jordan Zimmermann and Tyler Clippard - and neither had other-worldly first

Looking ahead to the second half

If the Nationals are going to win the World Series, they’ll have to take at least one game on the road. Getting a little ahead of ourselves here? Yup. But hey, there’s nothing else going on in the sports world today. The American League representative in the World Series will hold home field advantage this year, after the AL All-Star squad earned a 5-3 win

On the Home Run Derby and the much-needed break

Is the Home Run Derby still going on? I half-expected to wake up this morning and still see some sort of swing-off or bonus round going on at Target Field in Minnesota. The hour-long rain delay before the Derby didn’t help matters last night, but my goodness, does that event seem to go on forever. They might have cut down the number of outs in

All things considered, Nats pleased with their first half

93 games have been played. 69 remain. You can call the All-Star break the end of the first half of the season if you’d like, but frankly, we’re nearly 60 percent of the way through the 2014 campaign. And given all that’s happened prior to the break, the Nationals are in pretty good shape as we enter this four-day breather. The Nats are the owners

Williams on Nats’ 10-3 win, Clippard’s All-Star selection and second-half rotation

PHILADELPHIA - A handful of topics were discussed in Matt Williams’ press conference following today’s 10-3 win over the Phillies. You can find all of those topics here. Here’s Williams after the win, which leaves the Nats 51-42 and with a share of first place in the National League East going into the All-Star break. On the offensive explosion today: “Momentum early for us with

Clippard on All-Star selection: “I’m honored to do it”

PHILADELPHIA - Tyler Clippard had planned to spend his All-Star break relaxing at his home in Florida, playing lots of golf and maybe spending a day at the beach. Now Clippard is heading to Minneapolis. The golf will have to wait. The temperature might max out in the 70s, as compared to the 90s. But Clippard will get to be a part of his second

Nationals lineup for series finale vs. Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - As the Nationals get ready to play their final game before the All-Star break, Tanner Roark will be making his first start since July 4. Roark was supposed to start Tuesday’s game against the Orioles, but the game was postponed due to rain. Manager Matt Williams decided to skip Roark’s spot in the rotation and instead opted to start Doug Fister on regular

Zimmermann avoiding DL for now

The Nationals have no plans to place Jordan Zimmermann on the disabled list at the moment, manager Matt Williams told the media after tonight’s win. The right-hander’s MRI results came back positive, revealing only a slight biceps strain in his pitching arm. That’s good news for a pitcher who had Tommy John surgery in 2009 and is a relief for the club. Zimmermann had to

Nats get to Hamels in first (Nats win 5-3 in 10 innings)

Left-hander Cole Hamels entered the night leading the Phillies rotation with a 2.87 ERA, having not allowed more than three runs since May 27. But the Nationals got to him right away tonight, taking a 1-0 lead in the first. Denard Span drew a leadoff walk and a double by Anthony Rendon put runners on second and third with no outs. Jayson Werth grounded out

Desmond back in Nats lineup, Strasburg faces Hamels in Philly

Ian Desmond is back in the Nationals lineup after sitting out Friday with a bruised hand suffered when he was plunked Thursday against the Orioles. Desmond will be batting sixth while left-handed-hitting outfielder Bryce Harper starts the night on the bench against Phillies southpaw Cole Hamels. Harper has struggled since his return from the disabled list, going 5-for-35 (.143) with a double, a homer, two

Waiting on a Zimmermann update (Alvarez named his All-Star replacement)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals are optimistic that Jordan Zimmermann’s injury is nothing serious. Zimmermann has been through a serious elbow injury before, and he seems confident that this isn’t a similar type of situation. Still, until the MRI on Zimmermann’s right arm comes back today, Nats fans have a right to be nervous. The Nats hoped for the best with Wilson Ramos on opening day,

Clubhouse reactions to Zimmermann’s injury and Nats’ 6-2 loss

PHILADELPHIA - Tonight’s 6-2 loss to the Phillies stings because the Nationals missed an opportunity to move back to a game ahead of the Braves in the National League East. But the bigger issue at this point is the injury to Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann and Matt Williams indicated after the game that they’re fairly confident that the biceps cramp that Zimmermann felt tonight isn’t an

Biceps cramp knocks Zimmermann from start vs. Phillies, MRI tomorrow

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals have dealt with a slew of injuries this season. Now they have to hope Jordan Zimmermann’s injury won’t knock him out of action for a long period of time. Zimmermann left tonight’s game in the fourth inning with what the Nationals are calling a right biceps cramp. An MRI is scheduled for tomorrow to get a better idea of what the

Phillies take early lead against Nats (Zimmermann leaves with injury, Nats fall 6-2)

After sailing through the first inning, Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann ran into a bit of trouble in the second. After striking out Ryan Howard for the first out, Zimmermann allowed back-to-back singles to Marlon Byrd and Cody Asche. Domonic Brown then hit a two-run double to center to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Zimmermann ended the inning by striking out the last two batters.

Williams on Desmond, Werth and Nats’ first half

Heading into the last series before the All-Star break, two of the Nationals’ most reliable players are dealing with injuries. Both shortstop Ian Desmond and right fielder Jayson Werth were injured in Thursday’s loss to the Orioles. Desmond was struck on the right hand by a Darren O’Day pitch in the eighth inning and is out of tonight’s lineup. Werth fouled a ball off his

Desmond out of Nats lineup, Espinosa at short

PHILADELPHIA - Ian Desmond is out of the Nationals’ lineup today, a day after getting hit by a pitch on the right hand. Desmond left yesterday’s game against the Orioles in the eighth inning after a Darren O’Day fastball drilled him near the thumb on his right hand, on the palm side. Desmond initially stayed in the game and tried to play through the discomfort,

On to Philly

The first half of the Nationals’ season will end in Philadelphia, with three games against the Phillies serving as the only separation between the Nats and the All-Star break. As of now, Jordan Zimmermann is still the only Nats player heading to Minneapolis nearly next week for the Midsummer Classic. Anthony Rendon came in fourth place in the National League Final Vote competition, the league

X-rays on Desmond’s hand come back negative, plus more from 4-3 loss

BALTIMORE - It appears the Nationals dodged a bullet in regard to Ian Desmond’s health. Desmond needed to leave tonight’s game in the eighth inning shortly after taking a Darren O’Day fastball off the right hand, but Nats manager Matt Williams said after the game that X-rays on Desmond’s hand came back negative. That’s the good news. The bad is that the Nats dropped tonight’s

Frandsen playing second, Zimmerman DHing, Espinosa sits

BALTIMORE - While the Orioles are throwing left-hander Wei-Yin Chen tonight and that would seemingly be a chance to get Danny Espinosa - who hits lefties well - another start, manager Matt Williams is going another route. Kevin Frandsen will start at second base today, with Espinosa returning to the bench after getting the start last night. Ryan Zimmerman will again DH tonight, and Anthony

Sitting all alone in first place in the NL East

The Nationals won last night. The Braves didn’t. As a result, the Nats find themselves alone in first place in the National League East as of this morning, a game up on Atlanta with two games in hand. The Nats have now won eight of their last 10. They’ve won 12 of their last 17. And they’re continuing to build some momentum as the All-Star

Williams discusses Nats’ 6-2 win over Orioles

BALTIMORE - Even though the Nationals were eight games over .500 and tied for first place in their division coming into tonight’s action, their power potential really hasn’t been realized to this point. A large part of that is due to injuries, certainly. But there haven’t been many games this season where the Nats slugged their way to a win. They did to an extent

Zimmerman DHing, Espinosa back at second base

BALTIMORE - Here’s one way to get Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa all in the lineup on the same day: Play in an American League park. Nationals manager Matt Williams has the luxury of the designated hitter today, and he’ll use it by having Zimmerman DH and moving Rendon over to third base. That allows Espinosa to make his first start

More coming out of last night’s postponement

There was some chatter in the press box during last night’s lengthy 2-hour, 30-minute rain delay about whether the Nationals and Orioles would consider a day-night, two-city doubleheader today, if last night’s game was to get postponed. Well, last night’s game was postponed. And according to Nats manager Matt Williams, that doubleheader split between Nats Park and Camden Yards was not considered. A similar doubleheader

Nats send Fister to hill against Orioles

The Nationals send right-hander Doug Fister to the mound against the Orioles tonight, hoping for a split in the two-game D.C. portion of the Battle of the Beltways. Fister is 3-2 with a 5.30 ERA in six lifetime starts against Baltimore. The Nats are hoping he’ll pitch more in line with his 2014 numbers: a 7-2 mark with a 2.93 ERA in 11 starts. He

On the Battle of the Beltways atmosphere and the Nats’ extra-inning struggles

You might hold the belief that the Battle of the Beltways isn’t really a rivalry, despite some who try and portray it that way. And frankly, you might be right. It’s not like the Nationals have Orioles games on in the clubhouse and monitor Buck Showalter’s club on a daily basis. It’s not as if Ryan Zimmerman and Chris Davis dislike each other just because

Williams on Stammen’s rough 11th and Strasburg’s strong outing in 8-2 loss

This really was a tremendous ballgame for 10 innings. Then the Orioles broke things open in a big way in the top of the 11th. Chris Davis’ two-run homer started a six-run rally in the 11th, with Craig Stammen allowing five of the six runs, as the O’s took the first game of the Battle of the Beltways 8-2. Stephen Strasburg allowed just two runs

Nats lineup for Game 1 of Battle of the Beltways (Werth named Player of the Week)

The Orioles are in first place in the American League East. The Nationals are a half-game out of first in the National League East. It’s always cool when these two neighbors square off, but it’s a heck of a lot more fun when the teams are playing well and are in contention. The Nats will send Stephen Strasburg to the hill, while the O’s will

More All-Star chatter, including a couple of Nats snubs

Every major league team gets at least one player in the All-Star Game, a rule that Major League Baseball put in place to ensure that every organization and fanbase is represented and has a chance to cheer on one of its players during the Midsummer Classic. The Nationals, who currently are nine games over .500, have won 11 of their last 15 and are just

Jordan Zimmermann selected to NL All-Star team

Jordan Zimmermann is heading back to the All-Star Game. And this time, the Nationals right-hander will actually have a chance to compete in the Midsummer Classic. Zimmermann has been selected to his second straight All-Star Game, this after going 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA in 18 starts, including today’s six scoreless frames against the Cubs. “It means a lot,” Zimmermann said. “It’s a huge honor

Williams discusses Nats’ 2-1 win over Cubs

We thought we might get a pitchers’ duel today. That’s exactly what we got. Jordan Zimmermann and Jake Arrieta each went six innings and combined to allow just one run, a run that was scored three batters into the Nationals’ half of the first inning. It then became a bullpen game, and while the Cubs tied things up in the seventh, the Nationals struck right

Nats stick with same lineup in finale against Cubs

You score 13 runs and you don’t change much. The Nationals lineup today, with the exception of starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, looks exactly as it did yesterday, when they pounded out a season-high 19 hits in a rout of the Cubs. There’s one thing standing between the Nats and a series victory against Chicago: right-hander Jake Arrieta, who has taken a no-hitter at least into

Williams discusses Nats’ 13-0 blowout win

Wins don’t get much better from an all-around perspective than this one. The Nationals pounded out eight doubles (a single-game franchise high), 19 hits (a season-high) and 13 runs (also a season-high). Gio Gonzalez threw eight scoreless innings, extending his stretch of consecutive scoreless frames to 22. The defense again was sharp. It was all clicking for Matt Williams’ ballclub in today’s 13-0 win over

Harper, Rendon flipped in lineup vs. sub starter Villanueva

Bryce Harper’s stay in the second spot in the lineup lasted one day. Nationals manager Matt Williams returned Harper to sixth in the order for the fourth time in five games since the outfielder was activated from the disabled list. Batting second Friday, Harper went 0-for-4. Anthony Rendon moves back up to second after hitting sixth. Rendon is riding an eight-game hitting streak. The Nats

Werth’s heating up, Harper’s timing still a work in progress

On Saturday, after ripping two doubles and walking twice in a 7-1 Nationals win over the Rockies, Jayson Werth said that he felt like he was back on track. He noted that he’s a feel guy at the plate, and credited a long foul ball in his first at-bat in that game as the moment that his swing clicked again after a stretch where he

Williams discusses Nats’ 7-2 July 4 loss

In front of the largest July 4 crowd in the seven-year history of Nationals Park, the Cubs put up 14 hits, scored in five different innings and picked up a 7-2 win in the first of three games between these two teams in D.C. Tanner Roark lost his second straight outing to the Cubs, allowing four runs over seven innings, and after the Nationals had

Harper batting second for morning tilt with Cubs

After batting sixth in his first three games back from the disabled list, Bryce Harper has been elevated to second in the order for the first time since April 21. Harper has batted second 135 times in 272 major league starts. He has gone 3-for-11 (.273) with a double and an RBI in his three games since being activated. With the 21-year-old moving up, Anthony

Dobbs accepts assignment to Triple-A

The Nationals announced this afternoon that corner infielder Greg Dobbs has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Syracuse. Dobbs was designated for assignment last week when the Nats called up right-hander Taylor Hill to add a fresh arm following their 16-inning win over the Brewers. The 36-year-old hit .214/.233/.250 in 30 plate appearances for the Nats after being added to the team’s active roster on

Appreciating the first half put up by Rafael Soriano

When people talk about who should end up as the Nationals’ All-Star selection this season, you hear the names of Adam LaRoche and Anthony Rendon tossed around a good bit. Heck, despite a batting average that sits in the .230s and a sub-.300 on-base percentage, Ian Desmond has even been mentioned as a possible pick for the National League All-Star squad because his power numbers

Williams on Fister’s outing, Clippard’s eighth, Desmond’s homer after 4-3 win

Going for the three-game sweep of the Rockies tonight, Doug Fister wasn’t himself early on and the Nationals trailed 3-0 after just two innings. But the comeback formula was there again for this ball club tonight. Fister made some in-start adjustments and went seven strong innings on just 80 pitches, allowing just those three runs. The offense came alive thanks largely to a Jayson Werth

Espinosa not in lineup, Lobaton catching Fister

Looks like Danny Espinosa will have to wait at least one more day to return to the Nationals starting lineup. Espinosa isn’t in the lineup posted for tonight’s 6:05 p.m. game against the Rockies, the last of a three-game series. Instead, Anthony Rendon is manning second base, Ryan Zimmerman is at third and Bryce Harper is in left field. Manager Matt Williams had said last

How a foul ball might have gotten Jayson Werth out of his recent slump

With last night’s 7-1 win over the Rockies, the Nationals reached their highwater mark so far this season - seven games over .500. They’re still a half-game behind the Braves (who have now won six straight) in the National League East, but things are definitely trending upward for Matt Williams’ bunch the last few weeks. It’s only one game, but things appear to be trending

Williams discusses Nats’ 7-1 rout of Rockies

The starting pitching has been tremendous for weeks now. The defense has really turned around in a big way. And now, with the opening day lineup finally back in place after nearly three months, the offense is starting to churn out big-time performances. The Nationals put up a seven-spot for the third straight game, marking the first time the team has done so since September

Nats field same lineup for second straight day, Strasburg on mound

The Nationals scored seven runs in their first game with Bryce Harper back in the lineup, so they aren’t messing with a good thing. Manager Matt Williams is employing the identical lineup for the second game of the Rockies series, with the only exception being right-hander Stephen Strasburg on the mound. Anthony Rendon is at second, Ryan Zimmerman is at third and Harper is in

A dangerous lineup, from top to bottom

A lot has been made of the potential of this Washington Nationals lineup when everyone is healthy. Unfortunately for Mike Rizzo, Matt Williams and everyone associated with the Nationals, we’ve had the last three months to talk about that potential while players shuttled to and from the disabled list. Yesterday was the first time since the seventh inning on opening day that we got to

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