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Scarce offense and bullpen woes leave Nats swept in Cincinnati

After sprinting through May with baseball’s best record, the Nationals stumbled to the finish line, succumbing to a three-game sweep in today’s 8-2 loss to the Reds. The normally explosive Nats offense managed just two hits against Reds rookie right-hander Michael Lorenzen - and one of them came from starter Tanner Roark. “A little blip,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said to reporters after the loss.

Bullpen falters as Nats lose 8-2

Tanner Roark held the Reds scoreless through the first three innings, but third baseman Todd Frazier ended the streak in the fourth. Leading off the inning, Frazier belted a fastball deep down the left field line for a solo homer. It’s the only hit that Roark has allowed through four innings to go along with two walks and one very important hit batter. When Reds

Bryce Harper back in lineup for series finale

Right fielder Bryce Harper returns to the Nationals lineup this afternoon for the series finale in Cincinnati, a day after missing his first game of the season. Harper was on yesterday’s early lineup card until he was scratched with back soreness about an hour before game time. A 93 mph from Reds reliever Tony Cingrani drilled Harper squarely in the center of his back on

Injuries force reliable Roark back in Nats rotation for now

The Nationals turn to Tanner Roark this afternoon to try to salvage the final game in Cincinnati. It’s a fitting role for Roark, who after being relegated to the bullpen is now in a position to play a major part in the Nats’ depleted starting rotation. The 28-year-old Roark was one of baseball’s most effective and efficient starting pitchers last season, compiling a 15-10 record

Janssen, Nats can’t hold on as series winning streak ends in 8-5 loss

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo signed right-hander Casey Janssen shortly after trading away reliable reliever Tyler Clippard this offseason. The idea was for Janssen to take over Clippard’s high-pressure eighth-inning role. At least today, the experiment didn’t work, as Janssen blew the Nats’ lead and was thumped for four runs in an 8-5 loss. “The fact of the matter is we’ve got our eighth-inning guy

Bryce Harper’s availability a question mark for series finale

Nationals manager Matt Williams told reporters after today’s 8-5 loss to the Reds that right fielder Bryce Harper was only available today in an “extreme emergency situation.” Harper was originally on this afternoon’s lineup card, but was scratched just over an hour before first pitch with back soreness. “I tried to get in here in this morning and tried to get loose, but when I

Janssen’s nightmare eighth costs Nats in 8-5 loss

The Nationals wasted no time pressuring Reds rookie Raisel Iglesias on Saturday. Yunel Escobar ripped a two-out double to left off the right-hander in the first. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a sharp line drive single to center, scoring Escobar for the game’s first run. The Reds tried to answer right back in the bottom of the inning. Nats starter Gio Gonzalez gave up back-to-back one-out

Neck tightness lands Strasburg on the DL, Harper scratched with sore back

The Nationals have placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list with neck tightness. Strasburg was forced to leave last night’s 5-2 loss to the Reds after throwing just 16 pitches. The right-hander finished the first inning and then began experiencing the discomfort while in the Nats dugout. “I kinda just sat down and for some reason it just locked up on me,” Strasburg told

Nats have rallied around Gio Gonzalez in May (with lineups)

The Nationals enter today’s game in Cincinnati as winners in the last five games that Gio Gonzalez has started. However, May has been a bit of a roller coaster month for the left-hander. Gonzalez has received a decision in three of those five games, allowing just three runs over 20 1/3 innings. But Gonzalez’s ERA is 9.90 in the other two starts, with the Nats

Options for Williams if Strasburg can’t go

Stephen Strasburg threw only 16 pitches in last night’s 5-2 loss to the Reds before leaving the game with neck tightness. Nationals manager Matt Williams indicated to reporters that the discomfort was in Strasburg’s left trapezius muscle. Strasburg isn’t familiar with this type of pain in this particular area. “We don’t know at this point,” Williams told reporters after the game. “We have to see

Neck tightness forces Stephen Strasburg out early in Nats’ loss

The Nationals have lost only seven games the entire month of May. Stephen Strasburg has started four of them. The right-hander lasted just five batters tonight before exiting with an injury in a 5-2 loss to the Reds. “He came out of the game with left trap tightness ... trapezius muscle, neck tightness,” Nationals manager Matt Williams told reporters after the game. Strasburg quickly got

Strasburg exits early with injury in Nats’ 5-2 loss

Stephen Strasburg faced just five batters before leaving tonight’s game with an undiclosed injury. With one out in the first, Reds first baseman Joey Votto belted a 97 mph fastball from Strasburg deep over the centerfield fence for a solo homer. Third baseman Todd Frazier followed with a single to left before Ryan Zimmerman ended the inning with an unassisted double play on a grounder

Stephen Strasburg looks to rebound (with lineups)

The Nationals come plowing into Cincinnati as winners of nine consecutive series. During the blazing stretch, the Nats have won 12 of 16 games away from the nation’s capital. All eyes will be on Stephen Strasburg when he takes the mound tonight. The right-hander has experienced a month he would rather forget. Strasburg is 1-3 with a 10.20 ERA during May. He has failed to

A chance for Strasburg to prove the doubters wrong

It’s obvious that something is wrong with Stephen Strasburg. Among starters who have pitched at least 40 innings this season, Strasburg ranks 121st out of 123 with a horrid 6.50 ERA. Teams are feasting on Strasburg’s pitches to the tune of a .321 batting average, also third-worst in all of baseball. Cover your eyes. In May, the numbers are more dreadful, with Strasburg’s ERA sitting

Worse than expected for Werth, who reportedly has two fractures in left wrist

It appears Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth will be out for a couple of months after a CT scan showed two fractures in his left wrist, according to reports. Werth’s wrist was struck by a fastball back on May 15 during a second inning at-bat in San Diego. X-rays taken that night proved negative and an MRI a few days later revealed no ligament damage leaving

Scherzer and Harper provide relentless assault for Nats

What more can you say about what Max Scherzer has brought to this Nationals team? Last night, Scherzer struck out a season-high 13 in holding the Cubs scoreless through seven innings. Scherzer was stalking around the mound all night as his intensity was on full display, as well as his full repertoire of pitches. “You never really know what you’re gonna get,” Ian Desmond said

Nationals ride Scherzer and Harper to ninth straight series win

Max Scherzer locked up the Cubs through seven innings and Bryce Harper added another homer as the Nationals beat the Cubs 3-0 to claim their ninth consecutive series win. Scherzer was rarely challenged on a night where he fanned a season-high 13 while only yielding five hits and one walk. In fact, Scherzer struck out all but one member of the Cubs’ starting nine. “He’s

Scherzer dominant in Nats’ 3-0 win (Harper homers)

Max Scherzer is on fire tonight. The Nationals’ ace has elevated his fastball to 98 mph several times when needed. Scherzer has held the Cubs scoreless through six innings, allowing five hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts. It is the 29th 10-plus strikeout game of Scherzer’s career and fourth this season. Bryce Harper helped Scherzer’s cause in the sixth with his 18th homer of

Bryce Harper leads National League All-Star vote (with lineups)

Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper leads all National League players in All-Star voting. Harper, a two-time All-Star, is tied for the major league lead with 17 home runs, 42 RBIs and 40 runs scored. In addition, Harper leads the majors with a .467 on-base percentage, a .734 slugging percentage and 40 walks. Harper, twice named NL Player of the Week, is batting .331. The first

Span’s power surge continues, Cubs’ young talent on full display

Denard Span continued throwing the lumber around on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field with his second home run in as many games. For a moment, his eighth-inning bullet over the right field wall seemed to be the game-winner before the Cubs answered with some artillery of their own, sending the Nationals walking off disappointed with a 3-2 loss. Span, who’s only 31, joked to reporters

Late-inning mistakes ruin Nats’ comeback in 3-2 walk-off loss

A well-pitched and well-played game was marred by two late gaffes as the Nationals wasted a nice comeback in a 3-2 walk-off loss to the Cubs. Storms blowing through Chicago left behind gusty winds at Wrigley Field that figured to provide fireworks tonight. But the Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann and the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks pitched gems, allowing just a solo home run apiece as both starters

Bullpen falters late as Cubs walk off Nats in 3-2 win

The first two games of this series between the Nationals and Cubs started with leadoff homers. Yesterday, it was Denard Span delivering a bomb to right. And tonight, Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler deposited a 94 mph fastball from Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann over the ivy in right. Two batters later, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo ripped a double down the right field line. Rizzo

Jordan Zimmermann aims for first win at Wrigley Field (game started)

After a bit of an unusual start to the season, right-hander Jordan Zimmermann has returned to his normal self to help lead the Nationals to victories in each of his last five starts. Zimmermann has pitched at least six innings and not allowed more than three earned runs in each of his last five outings. Zimmermann hasn’t fared so well at Wrigley Field where he

Taylor, Harper showcase Nats’ defensive abilities

When the Nationals limped out of the gates in April, it was largely due to poor defense and untimely errors. Several close games were lost because of fielding gaffes. But the Nats have not only cleaned up their problems, they are actually taking advantage of the pure athleticism their dynamic outfielders possess. Michael A. Taylor and Bryce Harper made run-saving catches yesterday in back-to-back innings.

Roark impressive in Nats’ 2-1 win

Tanner Roark was in a familiar spot on Monday afternoon. The right-hander returned to the mound as a starter for the first time this season and delivered five stellar innings in the Nationals’ 2-1 victory over the Cubs. Roark, who grew up about 60 miles from Wrigley Field, gave up just one run on three hits, with one walk and three strikeouts. His only blemish

Span, Ramos homer in Nats’ 2-1 win

Denard Span didn’t waste any time lighting up the scoreboard this Memorial Day. The Nats’ center fielder crushed a 2-2 fastball from Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada deep to right field to give the Nationals a quick 1-0 lead. Two of Span’s four homers this season have led off games. The Cubs answered in the bottom of the inning with a blast of their own. Rookie

Tanner Roark returns to the mound as a starter (with lineups)

Tanner Roark makes his first start in 2015 after compiling a 15-10 record with an impressive 2.85 ERA as a member of the rotation last season. The blockbuster signing of Max Scherzer bumped Roark to the bullpen this year where the right-hander is 0-2 with a 2.66 ERA and one save in 13 appearances. Doug Fister’s trip to the 15-day disabled list with right forearm

No doubting Drew Storen

The Nationals have been sizzling, with a 19-5 record over their last 24 games. Drew Storen has collected saves in nine of those 19 victories and recorded a win in another. He picked up his National League-leading 14th save in yesterday’s 4-1 win over the Phillies. Storen has only allowed two earned runs in 19 1/3 innings (0.98 ERA) this season. Jose Lobaton has been

Nats roll through “epic” homestand with eighth straight series win

A sold-out Nationals Park watched the home team notch its eighth straight series win with today’s 4-1 win over the Phillies. The Nationals are on a 19-5 clip over their last 24 games, vaulting them to first place in the National League East, and the fans are responding. 41,044 filled the ball park to see their young, budding superstar Bryce Harper drive in the go-ahead

Gonzalez, Harper lead Nats to 4-1 win

After three scoreless innings, the Nationals and Phillies both lit up the scoreboard in the fourth. With one out, Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis reached on an infield single. Ian Desmond made a lunging stop on Galvis’ sharp grounder and then twirled to throw but it was too high for Ryan Zimmerman. Nats starter Gio Gonzalez then walked first baseman Darin Ruf to move Galvis into

Nats recall Taylor Jordan for long relief support

The Nationals recalled right-hander Taylor Jordan from Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday morning. The 26-year-old Jordan is 1-2 with a 2.14 ERA (10 earned runs in 42 innings) in seven starts for Syracuse this season. Jordan has held opposing hitters to a lowly .208 batting average while striking out 26 and walking only eight. Jordan was recalled briefly on April 15 but returned to Syracuse the

Nats chasing eighth straight series win (with lineups)

The Nationals go for an eighth consecutive series win today against the Phillies. It figures to be a tall test though as Philadelphia starts 6-foot-7 righty Aaron Harang. Harang owns the majors’ fifth-best ERA at 1.82, allowing just 12 runs in 59 1/3 innings this season. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has left stars Chase Utley and Ryan Howard off his lineup card with left-hander Gio

Streaky Desmond heating up again

There weren’t many bright spots for the Nationals yesterday in the 8-1 drubbing by the Phillies. But if you’re stretching for positives, look toward Ian Desmond’s eighth-inning RBI double that not only prevented a shutout but also extended the shortstop’s hitting streak to eight games. On Friday, Desmond drove in the eventual game-winning run with another double high off the center field wall. The two

Not the same Stephen Strasburg so far

Stephen Strasburg is at a point in his six-year career that he has never experienced before. The tall righty didn’t make it through the fourth inning for the third time in his last four starts as the Phillies pounded him early and often in today’s 8-1 victory over the Nationals. The loss snaps the Nats’ six-game winning streak, but they can still capture their eighth

Phillies rough up Strasburg, Nats lose 8-1

Stephen Strasburg ran into difficulty in the third when he surrendered a one-out walk to Phillies left fielder Ben Revere. Shortstop Cesar Hernandez followed by slapping a double down the left field line that left the Phillies with runners at second and third. A groundout from second baseman Chase Utley scored Revere unchallenged. Then, first baseman Ryan Howard ripped an RBI double into the right

Anthony Rendon nearing game action in rehab process

Anthony Rendon was on the field for more pregame work with the Nationals this afternoon. Stationed at second base, Rendon took several grounders while working on double plays. “He feels good,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “A little bit more intensity today on the ground balls ... turning the pivot at second. He feels good about where he’s at right now. After yesterday, he reported

Marquee pitching matchup between Strasburg and Hamels (with lineups)

The Nationals enter this afternoon’s contest against the Phillies as winners of 18 of their past 22 games dating back to April 28. Over the torrid stretch, the Nats are leading the majors in runs (138), runs per game (6.27), batting average (.299), on-base percentage (.366) and slugging percentage (.485). The 18-4 marks also ties the best 22-game record in Nationals’ history (2005-present). Phillies left-hander

Scherzer taking Nats to next level

It seemed as though the Nationals were taking a big risk when signing free agent Max Scherzer to a seven-year, $210 million contract this offseason. The questions surrounding the monumental deal weren’t necessarily about whether Scherzer was worth the money, but rather how he would affect a Nats team that already had the best record in baseball over the past three seasons and the game’s

It’s the Max Scherzer show

Phillies starter Sean O’Sullivan has probably seen enough of Max Scherzer this season and we’re not even through May. Not only did Scherzer outpitch O’Sullivan for the third time this season, but he also beat him with a base hit in the sixth inning that led to Scherzer scoring the game-winning run in the Nationals’ 2-1 victory. It’s the Nationals’ sixth straight win, their longest

Scherzer, Harper lead Nats to sixth straight win, 2-1

The Phillies used a pair of doubles from Ryan Howard and Odubel Herrera in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Howard’s two-bagger led off the inning, but Max Scherzer caught him in between second and third on Maikel Franco’s grounder back to the mound moments later. It looked like Scherzer may get out of the inning unscathed until Herrera slammed one off the

Matt Williams: “I want Bryce to be Bryce”

Nationals manager Matt Williams returns to the dugout tonight after being tossed for defending Bryce Harper in the third inning of Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Yankees. “Without getting in to what happened three days ago, I know nobody’s going to let it go,” Williams said before tonight’s game. “I would encourage everybody to do so because we’re now playing the Phillies.” Williams indicated he

Scherzer faces Phillies for third time (with lineups)

Max Scherzer enters tonight’s game as a winner in his last three starts. The ace of the Nationals’ rotation is 4-3 with a 1.75 ERA, having struck out 66 and walked only eight. Scherzer is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Phillies this year, allowing just two earned runs in 14 innings pitched. “He’s a gamer,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “He enjoys the

Nationals reinstate Casey Janssen, put Sammy Solis on 15-day DL

The Nationals reinstated right-handed pitcher Casey Janssen and placed lefty Sammy Solis on the 15-day disabled list today with left shoulder inflammation. Janssen joins the Nats’ active roster for the first time after missing the first 41 games of the season. Janssen, who signed with Washington in February, was brought on to replace Tyler Clippard in the Nats bullpen, presumably to take on the eighth

Second thoughts on when Anthony Rendon returns

The turnaround the Nationals offense has made is almost quite as dramatic as some of their late-inning comebacks since their perplexing 7-13 start. Their 205 runs scored and 199 RBIs lead the National League and are second-best in all of baseball to Toronto. And, the scary thought is they continue to do it without one of the top run producers from 2014 in their lineup.

Baseball craves Bryce Harper’s personality

Bryce Harper will never be universally liked. Understand that first, and then we can begin the discussion. I could use the rest of this page describing why scouts have been drooling about Harper since he was taking pre-Algebra. But we know all of those reasons and we’ve seen them on display in his first four seasons, and certainly the past few weeks. The problem is

Bryce Harper: “I don’t think 40,000 people came to watch him ump tonight”

The second ejection of star Bryce Harper in the past week overshadowed the Nationals’ 12th come-from-behind win in tonight’s 3-2 triumph over the Yankees. Harper, the current back-to-back winner of the National League’s Player of the Week honors, was tossed by home plate umpire Melvin Hudson in the third inning during his second at-bat. Hudson had just called Yankees starter Adam Warren’s first pitch to

Bryce Harper’s explanation for his ejection

A candid Bryce Harper addressed the media after tonight’s 3-2 win to discuss his third inning ejection by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson: “I feel like he (umpire Marvin Hudson) was more mad at Matt (Williams) than he was me. I was just standing there. He called the strike and I didn’t care really. I just looked off and put my head over. I

Nats overcome Bryce Harper’s ejection in 3-2 win

The Yankees came out swinging against Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann. After knocking a leadoff single, Brett Gardner scored the game’s first run on Carlos Beltran’s double to the right-center field gap. Two batters later, a sacrifice fly from Brian McCann plated Beltran. The Nationals answered in their side of the frame. For the second consecutive day, Ian Desmond ripped a first inning homer. The solo

Wilson Ramos continues attacking during 19-game hitting streak

Ryan Zimmerman’s dramatic walk-off blast overshadowed many significant moments in last night’s 11th come-from-behind win, and rightfully so. But, the Nationals were able to get to Zimmerman’s extra inning heroics because Wilson Ramos aggressively stepped to the plate in the sixth and blasted a game-tying solo home run. “In that situation, we were down by one and I get three balls in a row and

Jordan Zimmermann looks to keep Nats rolling (with lineups)

The Nationals enter tonight’s game against the Yankees having won four consecutive games that Jordan Zimmermann has started. The right-hander hurled six scoreless innings against the Padres in last Friday’s 10-0 victory while also collecting a double at the plate. Zimmermann will work with Wilson Ramos behind the plate this evening. Ramos extended his major league-leading 19-game hitting streak with a solo homer last night

Jayson Werth on injured wrist: “About as bad as it could be without being broke”

Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday afternoon with a contusion on his left wrist resulting from a 92 mph fastball that struck him in the second inning of Friday’s win in San Diego. Werth left that game shortly after and was taken for X-rays that proved negative. On Monday, he received positive results from an MRI that

Ryan Zimmerman’s 10th career walk-off homer beats Yankees 8-6

Yankees closer Andrew Miller had not allowed a single run in 17 appearances this year. In fact, the intimidating lefty had only surrendered three hits. Ryan Zimmerman dumped those numbers in the Anacostia River. With two outs in the bottom of the 10th and the game tied, Zimmerman smacked a 96 mph heater off the right field foul pole for a two-run walk-off homer to

Nats win 8-6 on Ryan Zimmerman’s two-run walk-off homer

Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi didn’t receive a warm welcome from the Nationals’ red-hot offense in the first inning. Ian Desmond, the Nats’ second batter, ripped a 3-1 pitch, a 98 mph heater, over the scoreboard in right-center for a solo homer. It’s Desmond’s third on the season. Two batters later, Bryce Harper continued his assault, golfing an Eovaldi slider over the wall in center. The

Williams on Werth, Difo, Janssen and Rendon

Nationals manager Matt Williams will be without Jayson Werth for a while after the left fielder was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list due to the fastball he took off his left wrist in the second inning of Friday’s win in San Diego. “He’s got a contusion,” Williams said. “It’s gonna be sore, it’s gonna be swollen. It’s still swollen. So we have to

Danny Espinosa a pleasant surprise in Nats offense

The Nationals return home as the hottest team in baseball for a quick two-game taste of interleague play with the New York Yankees. Mired in an offensive quagmire for much of the season’s first month, the Nats offense has exploded after being detonated in the April 28 mind-blowing comeback win in Atlanta. So far this year, the Nats have scored 10 or more runs in

Bryce Harper claims second straight NL Player of the Week honors

What does Bryce Harper do for an encore? How about winning a second consecutive National League Player of the Week award? Harper’s hot streak continued through a swing through Phoenix and San Diego, and as a result, the 22-year-old Nationals right fielder has become just the 10th player to take back-to-back Player of the Week honors since the inception of the award in 1974. The

A focused and aggressive Strasburg gets back on track (Davis note)

SAN DIEGO - There has never been a question about the quality of Stephen Strasburg’s pitching repertoire or his stuff. He features a blazing fastball in the high 90s that darts around the plate, usually backed up by sharp breaking ball. What has seemed to frustrate those around the Nationals organization lately with Strasburg has been his mental approach on the mound, especially with runners

Bryce Harper having his way in Nats’ 10-5 win

SAN DIEGO - It’s come now to the point where you’re left surprised when Bryce Harper doesn’t reach base. On Sunday, he did just about everything at the plate, including smacking his National League-leading 14th homer, to help the Nationals to a 10-5 win over the Padres in the series finale. “Oh, my God? I’m gonna say O-M-G. That’s it,” Jose Lobaton said. “It’s unbelievable.

Harper, Espinosa homer in Nats’ 10-5 win

SAN DIEGO - Stephen Strasburg opened today’s game with back-to-back strikeouts. The only problem was that the action on his third strike curveball to Abraham Almonte was so sharp that it skipped behind Jose Lobaton allowing Almonte to reach base safely. Almonte immediately took advantage by stealing second. Then, on the fifth pitch of Matt Kemp’s at-bat, Almonte took off for third. Kemp hit a

Nats hoping home cooking can spark Strasburg’s season (with lineups)

SAN DIEGO - Right-hander Stephen Strasburg is set to make his second career start in his home city. Strasburg attended West Hills High School and San Diego St. University, where the Nationals drafted him from with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Strasburg’s only start at Petco Park came on May 16, 2013 when he claimed the win after allowing

Scherzer gets ahead early, finishes strong

SAN DIEGO - With runners on the corners and his pitch count climbing near 100, Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer reached back and found something extra to end a Padres threat with back-to-back strikeouts in the seventh inning last night. “I always believe your last 15 pitches kind of dictate how you feel about your start,” Scherzer said. “I was still able to pitch at my

Scherzer’s “incredible” performance drives Nationals to 4-1 win

SAN DIEGO - Pumping his fists, revved up and yelling is how Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer left the mound after the seventh inning of Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the Padres. Scherzer was dominant throughout his eighth start of the season, but he ran into difficulty in the seventh. A leadoff double by Yangervis Solarte and a single by Alexi Amarista left runners on the

Jayson Werth hoping the past doesn’t become the present with latest wrist injury

SAN DIEGO - After Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne struck Jayson Werth on his left wrist with a fastball on Friday night, the 35-year old attempted to remain in the game. When the top of the second inning ended, Nationals manager Matt Williams met Werth outside the dugout to check on the 13-year veteran. “I got my glove (and) was like trying to squeeze it and

Lights out perfomance from Max Scherzer (Nats win 4-1)

For the second straight night, the Nationals lit up the scoreboard in the first inning. Ian Desmond ripped a line drive past Padres third baseman Will Middlebrooks for a double and Yunel Escobar wasted no time plating Desmond with a single to right. Bryce Harper followed by battling Padres starter Andrew Cashner in a 10-pitch at-bat before knocking a base hit to right. That left

Williams unsure of timetable for Fister after MRI reveals no tear

SAN DIEGO - Nationals starter Doug Fister met with team orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih in Washington, D.C., today after experiencing tightness in his right forearm in the second inning of his Thursday night outing. “He’s got a flexor strain,” Nationals manager Matt Williams reported. “The fact that there’s no tear in the MRI, that’s a really good sign.” Fister was placed on the 15-day disabled

Werth sits with injured left wrist, Taylor makes start in left (with lineups)

SAN DIEGO - The Nationals will be without Jayson Werth this evening after the left fielder was struck by a pitch in his left wrist during his second at-bat last night. Werth left the game and was taken for X-rays, which were negative. Rookie Michael A. Taylor will start in left today and bat eighth. Taylor was the hero on Wednesday after coming off the

Led by Harper, Nats offense has come charging back

SAN DIEGO - The Nationals had never scored more than seven runs in franchise history in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. On Friday night, they poured in 10 runs in a runaway shutout win. The attack started quick with the first five batters reaching base. A single from Bryce Harper plated Denard Span for the first run. A bases-loaded walk to Ryan Zimmerman sent Yunel Escobar across

X-rays on Jayson Werth’s left wrist negative

SAN DIEGO - Just as Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth seemed to be turning the corner after a rough start, another setback occurred in Friday’s 10-0 victory over San Diego. Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne ran a 92 mph sinker in on Werth that violently struck his left wrist in the second inning. Werth crashed to the ground, clutching his wrist in obvious pain. Nationals manager

Harper homers, Nats win 10-0 (Werth hit by pitch, leaves game)

SAN DIEGO - The first five batters reached base tonight against Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne, leading to four runs in the first for the Nationals. Three straight singles from Denard Span, Yunel Escobar and Jayson Werth loaded the bases for Bryce Harper’s broken bat RBI flare to right field. Harper has now driven in 32 runs, one behind major league leader Giancarlo Stanton of the

Tightness in Doug Fister’s forearm forces a trip to the 15-day DL

SAN DIEGO - The Nationals are no strangers to adversity this year. Infielder Anthony Rendon has yet to take the field because of a left knee sprain, and veterans Denard Span and Jayson Werth both have missed time after having the start of their year’s delayed due to offseason surgeries. But other than right-hander Casey Janssen’s shoulder tendinitis and rookie reliever Felipe River’s stomach ulcer,

Doug Fister lands on 15-day DL, A.J. Cole recalled (with lineups)

SAN DIEGO - A day after being rocked for two homers and seven runs in just two innings, Nationals starter Doug Fister is heading to the 15-day disabled list with right forearm tightness. The Nats have recalled right-hander A.J. Cole from Triple-A Syracuse to fill Fister’s spot in the rotation. Fister is 2-2 with a 4.31 ERA in seven starts this year. The 31-year old

Fister won’t blame it on the rain in Nats’ 8-3 pounding in San Diego

SAN DIEGO - The Nationals entered this season with the so-called most-feared rotation in all of baseball. Words like historic and legendary were thrown around to describe them. Now, as all five have made seven starts each this season, there are more questions than guarantees. Four have ERAs over 4.00 as tall righty Doug Fister was the latest to get rocked in last night’s 8-3

Doug Fister rocked early as Nats fall 8-3

SAN DIEGO - Padres starter Tyson Ross opened the game by striking out Nationals center fielder Denard Span. Then the skies opened up, and for only the fifth time in the history of Petco Park, a Padres game was delayed by rain. One hour, 56 minutes later, the game resumed with third baseman Yunel Escobar softly grounding out to Padres first baseman Will Middlebrooks. Ross

Rendon ramping up rehab in Florida (game under way)

SAN DIEGO - Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon returned to Florida today to restart his baseball activity, according to manager Matt Williams. It will be the second time this season that Rendon has been forced to spend time rehabbing away from the team in Florida after initially spraining his left knee during the exhibition season. Rendon seemed to be days away from rejoining the Nationals when

Wilson Ramos looks to stay hot against the Padres (with lineups)

SAN DIEGO - The Nationals enter tonight’s contest against the Padres having won 12 of their last 15 games and five consecutive series. After a day off, catcher Wilson Ramos returns to the lineup riding a major league-best and career-high 15-game hitting streak. During the stretch, Ramos is batting .390 (23-for-59) with four doubles, eight RBIs and six runs scored. Right-hander Doug Fister is on

Rookie Michael A. Taylor arrives in grand fashion

Off the field, at least to the media, Nationals rookie Michael A. Taylor portrays a shy demeanor. On the field, the 23-year old plays the game loudly and without fear. Consider some of these moments in his early 40-game career. He wasted no time collecting his first career homer as it came in his major league debut last August on the road at Citi Field.

With Harper out, Taylor slams door on fifth straight series win

Sometimes you just need your teammates to pick you up. That’s exactly what Nationals rookie Michael A. Taylor did for Bryce Harper in the ninth inning of today’s intense 9-6 win over the Diamondbacks. Harper, arguably the game’s most explosive player right now, blew up in the wrong kind of way on a controversial check-swing strike three call in the seventh. Home plate umpire Rob

Michael A. Taylor’s fill-in grand slam devastates Diamondbacks in Nats’ 9-6 win

Right fielder Bryce Harper roped a double down the right field line to start the second. But, the Nationals wasted the prime early scoring opportunity when Diamondbacks starter Jeremy Hellickson retired the next three batters in order. Arizona fared much better with their scoring chance in the bottom of the inning. Nats starter Gio Gonzalez gave up a leadoff single to third baseman Aaron Hill.

Gonzalez, Harper try to stay hot in the desert (with lineups)

Lefty Gio Gonzalez takes the hill against the Diamondbacks this afternoon as the Nationals attempt to win their fifth consecutive series. Gonzalez has pitched brilliantly so far in May, allowing just two runs in 14 innings (1.29 ERA) while striking out 17 and only walking three across two victories. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks will counter with right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who will be making his first start

Williams on Strasburg: “His stuff will show itself in the end”

These aren’t the best of times for Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg. Curious ankle and back discomfort surrounded the better part of the week leading up to his seventh start last night. After the Diamondbacks shelled him for eight runs on eight hits, including two homers, it seemed as if the only positive Nationals manager Matt Williams could grasp for was that Strasburg seemed healthy. “Certainly

Stephen Strasburg rocked in 14-6 blowout loss

Even in a 14-6 blowout loss, the Nationals figured out a way to make history. Down 10 runs in the eighth inning and not wanting to waste his bullpen further, Nationals manager Matt Williams turned to outfielder Clint Robinson to pitch. The 30-year old Robinson hurled a scoreless frame that even included a strikeout in his major league debut on the mound. It was the

Diamondbacks rough up Strasburg as Nats fall 14-6

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg quickly retired Arizona’s first two batters before serving up a walk to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. It proved costly as left fielder David Peralta followed with a single, and then, third baseman Aaron Hill roped a two-out two-run double to the gap in right-center field. The Nationals’ two hits against Diamondbacks starter Rubby De La Rosa came on a leadoff single from

Stephen Strasburg back at it out west (with lineups)

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound tonight. His scheduled start was bumped back a day after undergoing a chiropractic alignment adjustment. Strasburg was limited to only three innings in his last outing due to discomfort in his back. He has the highest number of hits allowed (42) and the worst ERA (4.73) among Nats starters. It seems that Nationals manager Matt Williams is favoring

Max-ing out in Arizona

The Nationals dumped 10 runs on the Diamondbacks in the first two innings last night. It was the second time this season that the Nats had been in a game that got out of control before most had an opportunity to even settle in their seats. Back on April 28, the Braves stunned the Nats with nine runs in the first two frames before Washington

Span, Escobar lead offensive assault in Nats’ 11-1 win

Nationals ace Max Scherzer entered Monday’s game receiving only 3.4 runs of support per outing, the lowest number among the Nats’ rotation. The result was a 2-3 record that wasn’t close to reflecting the way the right-hander had pitched through his first six starts. The Nationals wasted no time erasing that problem, plating a whopping 10 runs in the game’s first two innings en route

Nats blow out Diamondbacks 11-1 for fifth straight win

The Nationals wasted no time getting back on the longball train tonight. Fresh off a rest day, center fielder Denard Span ripped the second pitch from Diamondbacks starter Josh Collmenter well over the right field wall for the third leadoff homer of his career. Third baseman Yunel Escobar followed with a single. And after left fielder Jayson Werth walked, right fielder Bryce Harper just missed

Max Scherzer returns to familiar territory (with lineups)

Right-hander Max Scherzer was originally selected 11th overall by the Diamondbacks in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He spent two seasons in Arizona, compiling a 9-15 record with a 3.86 ERA, before being traded to Detroit. Tonight, Scherzer gets the opportunity to face his old team for the second time in his career. The Nats’ ace is coming off back-to-back games with 10 strikeouts. Scherzer’s

Bryce Harper named National League Player of the Week

No surprise here: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper has been named National League Player of the Week after hitting .455 with six homers, 13 RBIs, a 1.318 slugging percentage and 29 total bases last week. Harper’ three-home run game against the Marlins on Wednesday made him the fourth Nationals player to accomplish the feat in the team’s D.C. history, joining Alfonso Soriano, Adam Dunn and

A healthy Wilson Ramos is a hit

Wilson Ramos isn’t just helping his pitchers behind the plate, he is also terrorizing opposing pitchers at the plate. Braves right-hander Cody Martin was Ramos’ latest victim yesterday. With two outs, the game tied in the bottom of the eighth and Ryan Zimmerman standing on first, Ramos sliced a double into the right field corner. Zimmerman chugged all the way around to score the go-ahead

Resilient Nats fight back again in 5-4 win

Veterans Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos delivered clutch RBIs in the bottom of the eighth to help the Nationals to their eighth come-from-behind win of the early season in today’s 5-4 victory over the Braves. After a sluggish start in the first 20 games of the year, the Nationals have stormed back, winning 10 of 12 while showing tremendous resiliency especially in late innings. “I

Zimmerman, Ramos deliver in Nats’ 5-4 comeback win

Bryce Harper seems unstoppable right now. Harper picked right up where he left off with a two-out laser to dead center in the first. Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin hurried back and leaped up at the warning track, but the ball caromed off his glove. Nats third baseman Yunel Escobar scored easily on the double, which produced Harper’s team-leading 28th RBI. First baseman Ryan Zimmerrman

Mike Rizzo’s “hidden ceiling” for Bryce Harper remains private

In his second year as general manager of the Nationals, Mike Rizzo held the golden ticket to select Bryce Harper with the No. 1 pick in the First-Year Player Draft. Few players in the game’s storied history arrived with the rock star hype as Harper, who was still just 17 when he officially signed with the Nationals in August 2010. Harper didn’t waste much time

Escobar, Ramos look to stay hot in series finale (with lineups)

The Nationals continue to be careful with center fielder Denard Span, who is coming off two offseason abdominal surgeries. Span receives a day off this afternoon and third baseman Yunel Escobar slides into the leadoff spot, while rookie Michael A. Taylor will play center. Escobar’s .308 batting average is second on the Nats behind Wilson Ramos. In the last six games, Escobar is 10-for-24 (.417)

Ryan Zimmerman finds relief from big three-run homer

The way Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s season has been going so far, the events surrounding his three-run homer yesterday were no surprise. Zimmerman has been hitting ropes this year with unlucky results. Sure, he has 22 strikeouts in 121 at-bats, but his .223 average isn’t reflective of how well he has hit the ball. After battling though seven pitches in his fifth inning at-bat,

Harper’s heroics lead Nats in walk-off win

We are witnessing the maturation of a budding superstar in Bryce Harper this week. After the Nationals blew a five-run lead, the 22-year-old with a flair for the dramatics clobbered a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to close out the Braves 8-6. “Just right when I hit it, I knew it was gone,” Harper said. “No disrespect to that other guy,

Nationals honor Frank Robinson with spot in Nationals Ring of Honor

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson returned to Nationals Park today as the team honored its first manager by unveiling his name in the Nationals Ring of Honor. Robinson became the Nationals first manager, guiding the team from Montreal to Washington. “I take a lot of pride in it,” Robinson said. “The players were great. It was a good situation for us coming from Montreal although

Unreal stretch for Bryce Harper continues with walk-off homer, Nats win 8-6

The Nationals are on quite a roll with the long ball. Catcher Jose Lobaton joined the party in the second inning with a two-run shot into the second deck beyond the right field wall at Nats Park. For Lobaton, both of his homers this season have come off Braves starter Julio Teheran. Second baseman Danny Espinosa followed Lobaton’s blast with a double to center field.

Bryce Harper tries to stay in zone in matinee (with lineups)

Braves right-hander Julio Teheran will take his shot at cooling down Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper this afternoon. Over his last two games, Harper is 6-for-8 with five homers, 10 RBIs and five runs scored. In other words, he is zoned in. According to Elias, the only other former No. 1 overall draft picks to hit five bombs in two games are Alex Rodriguez (2002)

For Danny Espinosa, the power comes from the left

If I asked you before the season who would be leading the Nationals in homers through the first 30 games, the overwhelming answer would’ve been Bryce Harper. But if I asked which Nationals player would have the second most, not one single person would’ve guessed Danny Espinosa. However, that’s exactly where the 28-year-old Espinosa stands after belting out his third and fourth long balls, both

Bryce Harper’s history-making homers lead Nats to 9-2 win

During spring training, ESPN released a poll of major leaguers, naming Bryce Harper as the the game’s most overrated player. The world-wide leader might want to call a re-vote after Harper followed Wednesday’s three-homer assault by smacking two more bombs tonight to lead the Nationals to a 9-2 win over the Braves. The 22-year-old Harper became the youngest player in Major League Baseball history to

Harper, Espinosa both hit a pair of homers, Nats win 9-2

The Nationals caught some tough luck in the first inning when starter Gio Gonzalez hit the game’s second batter, Andrelton Simmons. Gonzalez’s breaking ball glanced Simmons’ right foot as it shot out of the box on a check swing. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman followed with a double to set up a sacrifice fly from left fielder Jonny Gomes, which plated Simmons easily. Freeman is

Williams on Strasburg, Gonzalez and Roark

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg was forced to leave Tuesday’s game after just three innings due to soreness underneath the shoulder blade on his throwing side. The injury did not require an MRI, but Strasburg did undergo a chiropractic adjustment. “He reported feeling pretty good today,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “So we’ll look to see when we can get him ready for his next one.” Strasburg

Jayson Werth returns with Gio Gonzalez on the mound (with lineups)

Left fielder Jayson Werth returns to the Nationals’ lineup this evening after missing the past two games with soreness in his right shoulder, resulting from offseason surgery. Werth, who began the season on the disabled list, has struggled at the plate since joining the team on April 13. The 35-year-old is batting a lowly .176 (13-for-74) with no homers and only seven RBIs. Braves starter

Right moment for Bryce Harper

To really understand the passion Bryce Harper has for playing the game of baseball, just ask him about defense and watch him light up. And now in his new permanent position in right field, he has filled up the highlight reels with leaping catches and sniper-like throws in the season’s first month. Nationals manager Matt Williams made the call to flip-flop outfield positions for Harper

Record day from Bryce Harper emphasizes big year

During a week filled with major sporting events in the nation’s capital, Bryce Harper did his best to steal the show. The 22-year-old walloped three majestic homers in one game for the first time in his career while becoming the youngest to accomplish the feat in 46 years. Harper’s trio of tape measure blasts traveled a combined 1,276 feet - or almost a quarter of

Home run derby for Harper in Nats’ 7-5 win

Twelve days ago, Marlins starter Tom Koehler held Bryce Harper hitless, striking out the 22-year-old once. Today, Koehler became a part of history as Harper unleashed a three-homer assault propelling the Nats to a 7-5 victory in the series finale. “That’s how I should be, plain and simple,” said a confident Harper after the game. “That’s how I should be. That’s how I expect myself

Bryce Harper’s three-homer day lifts Nats to 7-5 win in series finale

The Marlins opened the second inning with four straight hits against Nationals starter Max Scherzer, leading to a couple of quick runs. Nats first baseman Ryan Zimmerman helped prevent further damage when he charged in to field a bunt from Marlins starter Tom Koehler. Zimmerman then wheeled to make a perfect throw to shortstop Ian Desmond to start a huge double play. Right fielder Bryce

Bullpen help on the way as Casey Janssen prepares for rehab stint

The Nationals signed veteran right-hander Casey Janssen in January with the idea that he would step into the eighth-inning setup role vacated by Tyler Clippard. Janssen has yet to pitch in the majors this season after experiencing tendinitis in his throwing shoulder during a Grapefruit League appearance on March 23. Janssen traveled to Nationals Park to participate in opening day ceremonies but immediately left after

Scherzer looks for support, Werth sits again (with lineups)

Left fielder Jayson Werth is out of the starting lineup for a second straight game this afternoon. Like last night, rookie Michael A. Taylor will start in Werth’s place in left field and bat eighth. Taylor was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the 2-1 loss to the Marlins. Taylor, who struggles with discipline at the plate, has now struck out 24 times in just 62

A slow road back for Jayson Werth so far

Trailing 2-1 with one out in the seventh and two runners on, Nationals manager Matt Williams sent Jayson Werth to the on-deck circle to wave a bat around last night. But Williams had no intention of using Werth, who was given the night off, to hit in the critical spot. The idea was to keep Marlins right-hander Nick Masset on the mound. So after rookie

Stephen Strasburg dealing with right shoulder blade issue

Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only three innings before discomfort underneath his right shoulder blade forced him to leave the an eventual 2-1 loss to the Marlins. “It’s just something that’s been lingering, and I just felt it more and more,” Strasburg said after the game. “I feel like it was something, I feel like I could’ve gone through it. But at this point in

Stephen Strasburg exits after three innings (Nats fall 2-1)

Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg left Tuesday’s game after pitching three innings. Strasburg was noticeably uncomfortable at several points during his 64-pitch effort, and had a prolonged discussion with pitching coach Steve McCatty after the second inning. In the second, MASN cameras showed Strasburg wincing after throwing a pitch to Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, which drew a visit from manager Matt Williams, McCatty and head

Anthony Rendon’s return is “up in the air” (game starts after short delay)

For 58 straight days, Nationals manager Matt Williams has been forced to answer questions regarding the saga of star infielder Anthony Rendon and his injuries. The latest, which Williams disclosed after last night’s win, is that Rendon is now suffering from a left oblique strain. “We know that he’ll be shut down for a few days,” Williams said. “At this point it’s about treating it

Werth gets night off, Taylor makes first start in left (with lineups)

Most of the lineup moves up a spot tonight as outfielder Jayson Werth is given a night off and rookie Michael A. Taylor slides into left field and the eighth spot in the order. Taylor is in his second stint with the Nationals this season after starting the first 12 games in center field before taking a trip back to Triple- A Syracuse. Taylor is

Ian Desmond, Yunel Escobar will Nats to comeback win

No player has typified the first month for the Nationals better than shortstop Ian Desmond. From inexplicable fielding blunders to show-stopping defense, and from down-in-the-dumps batting slumps to curtain calls, Desmond has seen it all. The fielding demons came quick. Desmond’s two errors in the season’s first game bungled the script on opening day, costing the Nats a win. He had a staggering eight errors

Tough luck continues as Anthony Rendon is diagnosed with oblique strain

Infielder Anthony Rendon’s visit this afternoon with Nationals team doctor Wiemi Douoguih revealed a left oblique strain. “We’re gonna have to slow his progress down a little bit,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said after his team’s 6-4 win over the Marlins. “He’s felt it for the fast couple days, so we’re going to have to sit him a little bit longer and make sure it’s

Escobar’s “best game” leads Nats to third straight win

With a desire to add more offense to his team that had failed in the postseason, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo pulled the trigger on a controversial trade to acquire infielder Yunel Escobar for reliever Tyler Clippard in mid-January. Wow, has it paid off. Escobar turned in a 5-for-5 night at the plate that included a clutch two-out two-RBI single in the eighth to break

Desmond, Escobar spark late rally, Nats beat Marlins 6-4

The error-prone Nationals made it four straight games without a miscue until the first inning tonight. With one out and one on, Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton ripped a line drive right at left fielder Jayson Werth. Werth stepped up and crouched down, but the diving screamer caromed off his glove. The next batter, center fielder Marcell Ozuna, hit a soft flare up the middle to

Anthony Rendon having side checked out, Casey Janssen is improving

Infielder Anthony Rendon is in D.C. today undergoing an examination on his troublesome left side with Nationals team doctor Wiemi Douoguih. “Don’t know why it’s been a problem,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “It’s just crept up on him. We’re being cautious with it to make sure that it doesn’t turn into something we don’t want it to turn into. The last couple of days,

Jordan Zimmermann to deal with Dee Gordon, Marlins (with lineups)

The last time right-hander Jordan Zimmermann faced the Marlins at Nationals Park, he tossed the Nationals’ first no-hitter on the final day of last year’s regular season. He didn’t achieve the same lofty results 11 days ago in Miami, but he was still solid, allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts in six innings. The Nationals went on to lose

Magnificent pitching helps Nats survive cliffhangers

The Nationals clubhouse was quiet last Sunday night as the players packed up having just been easily swept by the Marlins. It wasn’t the start anyone expected from a Nats team that was focused on the 10-day excursion against three National League East opponents as a way to fix the surprising mistakes of the early season. Seven days later, after displaying tremendous fortitude in Atlanta,

Nats living on the edge in back-to-back shutouts

FLUSHING, N.Y. - For the second straight day, the Nationals received an incredible pitching performance, this time from right-hander Doug Fister, as they held on to shut out the Mets 1-0 and take the four-game series. “Well, the last two have been kind of the same,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. Good starting pitching. Good bullpen and then turning it over to Drew (Storen). It’s

Nats shut out Mets 1-0 for second straight day

FLUSHING, N.Y. - A sharp single from right fielder Bryce Harper moved left fielder Jayson Werth into scoring position with two outs in the first. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman then picked up his team-leading 16th RBI by flicking an offering from Mets starter Dillon Gee safely into right field to plate Werth. For Harper, the single extends his career-best on-base streak to 19 games. Right-hander

Denard Span and his hot bat return (with lineups)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Center fielder Denard Span returns to the Nationals lineup today after resting the past two days with abdominal soreness in the region of his most recent core muscle surgery in March. Span’s bat is a welcome site. The 31-year-old was on tear before he left Thursday’s game, going 7-for-18 with two homers, four doubles, five RBIs and six runs scored in his

Road trip winds down with huge opportunity

FLUSHING, N.Y. - The Nationals are nearing the end of their long 10-day journey through three National League East cities. After being swept by Miami and starting the trip 0-3 last weekend, the Nats have battled back to give themselves a chance to return to Washington with a respectable 5-5 split on the road. “To bounce back from a tough series in Miami, this is

Gio Gonzalez’s “masterpiece” helps Nats shut out Mets

FLUSHING, N.Y. - An RBI infield single from rookie center fielder Michael A. Taylor in the second inning and some exceptional early defense was all left-hander Gio Gonzalez needed as the Nationals handed the Mets a 1-0 defeat tonight, their first shutout loss of the season. Gonzalez’s stellar outing got off to a shaky start when Mets center fielder Juan Lagares, the game’s second batter,

Nats ride Gio Gonzalez to 1-0 win over Mets

FLUSHING, N.Y. - After threatening in the first, the Nationals put together three singles to get on the scoreboard in the second. It started with shorstop Ian Desmond breaking out of an 0-for-29 slump with his first base hit since April 24. Second baseman Danny Espinosa followed with a single. After a sacrifice bunt from starter Gio Gonzalez moved both runners up, center fielder Michael

Left side tightness forces Rendon out of rehab game, Span sits

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Infielder Anthony Rendon was again a late scratch in his minor league rehab assignment for Double-A Harrisburg tonight. He continues to experience tightness in his left side and had trouble getting loose. Rendon was due to play seven innings at second base in Harrisburg’s game at Bowie. Nationals manager Matt Williams had just finished laying out the plan for Rendon during his

Nats, Gio Gonzalez searching for consistency (with lineups)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - It’s been all or nothing this week for the Nationals. Last night, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey put the brakes on the Nats offense, which had scored 34 runs in the previous three games. It was the second time in less than a week the Nats have been shut out. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 5.01 ERA) looks to get back on track after

For Max Scherzer, it’s been a hard knock life

FLUSHING, N.Y. - When Max Scherzer was introduced to the media at Nationals Park in January, he was asked why - beyond the astronomical $210 million contract he was offered - he chose to sign with the Nationals. “It’s pretty easy,” Scherzer said. “And it’s one (reason): winning. I think this team is capable of winning, and winning a lot.” That hasn’t happened yet for

Harvey outduels Scherzer to end Nats’ winning streak

FLUSHING, N.Y. - A night before the world will convene for the largest boxing event of the decade, two of major league baseball’s heavyweight pitchers battled it out at Citi Field. Mets right-hander Matt Harvey outdueled Nationals ace Max Scherzer as the Mets won this decision 4-0. Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer delivered the damaging blow to Scherzer on a one-out solo home run in

Harvey cools down Nats’ offense in 4-0 loss

FLUSHING, N.Y. - So far, the blockbuster pitching matchup between Nationals ace Max Scherzer and Mets fireballer Matt Harvey is as advertised. The Mets have yet to collect a hit against Scherzer through the first three innings. But the right-hander still found himself in some trouble in the third after he hit Mets second baseman Dilson Herrera and walked right fielder Curtis Granderson. But Scherzer

Denard Span out tonight after experiencing surgery-related soreness

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Center fielder Denard Span chose to leave last night’s game in the sixth inning after experiencing abdominal discomfort. “Just around the surgery site just felt a little sore,” Span said. “Just follow my intuition, basically.” Span underwent hernia surgery in December and core muscle surgery on March 9. Nationals manager Matt Williams has taken Span out of the lineup for the second

Scherzer returns for marquee pitching matchup with Matt Harvey (with lineups)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Nationals ace Max Scherzer returns to the mound eight days after injuring his right thumb at the plate. Swelling forced Scherzer to miss his scheduled start Tuesday in Atlanta and the result was arguably the wildest game in Nationals history. Scherzer experienced tough luck on opening day against the Mets at Nats Park. He held the Mets without a hit through 5

Bryce Harper is back in the New York groove

FLUSHING, N.Y. - The Mets entered the ninth inning last night with the game still in reach, trailing by three runs. But any hopes of a late comeback were crushed in one swing of the bat by right fielder Bryce Harper’s bases-loaded three-run double that featured a rare double slide at the plate from third baseman Yunel Escobar and left fielder Jayson Werth. Harper, the

Nats ride momentum into May after impressive team win

FLUSHING, N.Y. - On the final day of the season’s first month, suddenly the vibe has changed around the Nationals after tonight’s 8-2 win. The team handed the Mets their first loss this season at Citi Field. For the third straight night, the Nats pounded out double-digit hits, led by the heart of their lineup. Third baseman Yunel Escobar, left fielder Jayson Werth, right fielder

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