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A tough way to say goodbye if that’s it for Jordan Zimmermann

It couldn’t have been the way Jordan Zimmermann wanted to go out - pitching in front of sparse crowd on the road in a meaningless late-season game with your teammates failing to score a run. In what is expected to be the swan song for Zimmermann, the winningest pitcher in Nationals history went out with a 2-0 loss. The Braves plated two runs off Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann finishes season with hard-luck 2-0 loss

For the second straight night, the Nationals had a runner on second with no outs in the first and failed to score. Braves right-hander Williams Perez escaped Anthony Rendon’s leadoff double by retiring the next three Nats, with Jayson Werth whiffing to end the frame. Meanwhile, Nick Markakis smoked a two-out double in the bottom of the inning off Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. A.J. Pierzynski

Nationals game blog: Zimmermann aims to finish strong

When right-hander Jordan Zimmermann takes the hill tonight, it might be for the last time in his Nationals career. Zimmermann, whose contract expires at the season, is the Nats’ all-time leader with 70 wins. Zimmermann’s 2.52 ERA in 15 career starts against the Braves is his best against any National League opponent. In five starts versus the Braves this year, Zimmermann has gone 3-0, allowing

Jordan Zimmermann’s possible final act (Escobar scratched, Turner in)

Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound for possibly the last time in a Nationals uniform tonight. The free agent-to-be is expected to sign elsewhere this offseason after spending his entire career with the organization after the Nationals selected with him with the 67th overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Zimmermann made his major league debut with a victory over the Braves on April 20,

Matt Williams: “Who wouldn’t want to be back and take another run at it?”

What has been a trying second season as manager of the Washington Nationals is coming to a crashing end for Matt Williams. Just count the shambles of the past week. Last Wednesday night, Williams was forced to deal with his closer Jonathan Papelbon beaning Orioles star Manny Machado. Then Saturday, the Nationals realized their failures this season when the Mets clinched the National League East.

Tanner Roark making a run for 2016

Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark seized the opportunity last night to make a case to return to the starting rotation in 2016. Sure, Roark took the hard luck 2-1 loss, surrendering two solo homers to veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski, but he shut down the rest of the Braves lineup over 6 2/3 innings. “The arm’s feeling great, the body’s feeling great,” Roark said to reporters. “Just

Wasted opportunities doom Nats in 2-1 loss

Tanner Roark turned in one of his best outings of the season, overmatching eight of the nine batters in the Braves lineup. Unfortunately for Roark, veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski was the lone Braves hitter who found plenty of success tonight. Pierzynki’s second solo homer off Roark in the seventh gave the Braves a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish as the Nationals lost the opener of

Braves win homer contest, game 2-1 over Nats

Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner opened tonight’s game with singles against Braves right-hander Matt Wisler. But Wisler battled back, stranding both runners in the first. Ian Desmond led off with a double off the top of the center field wall, just missing his 20th homer. Again, the Nats were unable to plate a runner on second with no outs as Wisler retired the next three

Nationals game blog: Bryce Harper feasting on Braves’ pitching this year

The Nationals begin a season-ending six-game road trip in Atlanta tonight. Washington enters the series with a 34-41 record away from Nationals Park. Bryce Harper has filled up the stat sheet playing against the Braves this year. The 22-year-old is batting .426 (23-for-54) with six homers, eight doubles, 15 RBIs and 21 runs scored in 15 games against Atlanta this year. Besides chasing a National

Bryce Harper returns aiming for a batting title (with lineups)

Bryce Harper returns to the Nationals lineup a day after sitting out for disciplinary reasons resulting from his role in Sunday’s dugout fight with Jonathan Papelbon. Lost in all the mess of the past few days is Harper’s chance at National League batting title. Harper’s .336 batting average is tied with Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera for highest in the majors. Miami’s Dee Gordon enters play tonight

Matt Williams’ future is one of many decisions Mike Rizzo faces

Nationals manager Matt Williams poor handling of Sunday’s dugout fight between Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper paved the way for deeper questions about the skipper’s future when general manager Mike Rizzo addressed the media on Monday afternoon. Following the melee in the eighth inning in which Papelbon lunged at Harper and then placed his hands on the superstar’s throat, Williams sent Papelbon back out for

Bryce Harper wants to win a World Series with Jonathan Papelbon next year

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper didn’t play in today’s 5-1 win over the Reds. The National League Most Valuable Player frontrunner was held out of the lineup for disciplinary reasons resulting from yesterday’s dugout fight with closer Jonathan Papelbon. Following the 5-1 win over the Reds in the home finale, Harper spoke for the first time since receiving the punishment. “I don’t want to be out

Will Jonathan Papelbon be part of the Nats’ future in 2016?

Jonathan Papelbon will not be around his Nationals teammates for the final seven games of the season. The question remains whether Papelbon will ever call them teammates again. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo acquired the controversial closer three days before the trade deadline. How much the move affected the clubhouse is not entirely known, but the Nationals went 27-31 after the trade and turned a

Nationals punish Bryce Harper for fight with Jonathan Papelbon

The Nationals punished outfielder Bryce Harper for his role in yesterday’s dugout fight with closer Jonathan Papelbon by sitting the star slugger for this afternoon’s game against the Reds. During his pregame press conference, Nationals manager Matt Williams struggled while attempting to give a clear explanation of what Harper did wrong to receive the penalty. “I don’t know what he could’ve done differently, but he

Papelbon suspended by Nationals after dropping appeal of MLB ban (updated)

Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon has dropped his appeal of a three-game suspension for throwing at the head area of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado and was to begin serving the ban today. However, the Nationals announced a few minutes ago that they have suspended Papelbon for four games without pay for his altercation Sunday with teammate Bryce Harper. Added to the three-game ban from Major

Scherzer set to face Reds in makeup game (with lineups)

When right-hander Max Scherzer takes the mound for today’s makeup game against the Reds at Nationals Park - as the Nats try to put yesterday’s dugout altercation and its aftermath behind them - he’ll have an unfamiliar cast behind him. With the Nats eliminated from postseason contention, a lot of bench guys are getting some playing time. Today’s Nationals lineup is missing guys like right

More on Williams’ decision to pitch Papelbon in ninth after fight with Harper

After Sunday’s embarrassing eighth-inning dugout fight between Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon, I questioned Nationals manager Matt Williams during his postgame press conference about his egregious decision to send Papelbon back to the mound to pitch the ninth inning. Here is the exchange: CJ: “What was behind your decision to send Papelbon back out for the ninth?” MW: “At the time, it’s a tie game.”

Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon react after fight in Nats dugout

After attacking Bryce Harper in the Nationals dugout during the eighth inning of Sunday’s 12-5 loss to the Phillies, veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon attempted to explain his actions. “First of all, I’ll say I’m in the wrong there,” Papelbon said. “I’m going to leave that up to our manager. You know, there’s a lot of competition and a lot of ... it’s a long season

Williams defends decision to send Papelbon back to mound after fight with Harper

A day after his team was officially eliminated from postseason play, Nationals manager Matt Williams was forced to deal with two of his most high-profile players fighting in the dugout. With the game tied 4-4, Bryce Harper - the favorite to win the National League Most Valuable Player award - lifted an easy fly ball to left. As Jeff Francoeur eased underneath the ball, Harper

Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon fight in Nats dugout

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo made a questionable trade at the deadline, acquiring controversial closer Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies. In the eighth inning of today’s 12-5 loss to the Phillies, Papelbon attacked National League Most Valuable Player candidate Bryce Harper in the Nationals dugout. The two fought for seconds as Nationals players and coaches battled to separate them. Harper had just led off the

Jonathan Papelbon attacks Bryce Harper in dugout, Nats lose 12-5

Playing in possibly his second-to-last home game at Nationals Park, Ian Desmond pulverized a hanging slider from right-hander Aaron Harang, sending the ball smacking off the second deck facade in right-center field for a solo homer with two outs in the second. It was Desmond’s 19th longball of the season. Moments later, Matt den Dekker drilled Harang’s first-pitch heater deep over the center field wall

Max Scherzer: “I’m extremely disappointed how the season turned out”

When the Nationals made the splash of the offseason by signing right-hander Max Scherzer to a blockbuster seven-year $210 million deal, most believed the move would catapult them to a World Series championship in 2015. But this year’s Nationals team won’t even get the chance to navigate its way through the playoffs after being eliminated by the National League East champion Mets last night. “I’m

Gio Gonzalez looks to win final three-game home series for Nats (with lineup)

Gio Gonzalez will take the mound for his last start at Nationals Park this season in the Nats’ penultimate home game for 2015. Gonzalez is boasting an 11-8 record with a 3.94 ERA on the season. He is 6-4 with a 3.33 ERA in 13 starts at home and 3-1 with a 4.83 ERA in seven day game starts. Gonzalez has faired well against the

Bryce Harper to Mets: “I hope they win it all and good luck to them”

Moments after Bryce Harper smacked a walk-off double scoring Anthony Rendon for a 2-1 win in the 12th inning, the young slugger found himself swarmed by his teammates with his jersey being ripped off. An icy Gatorade bath along with some chocolate syrup followed. By the time Harper made his way to the Nationals clubhouse, he stood in front of his locker while veteran Ian

Jayson Werth: “I never thought we’d end up here”

After a win over the Diamondbacks on August 4, the Nationals stood a game behind the first-place Mets in the National League East. Jayson Werth uttered the words that shot up I-95 to the Big Apple: “It’s our division to lose.” Tonight, the Mets clinched the division, thus eliminating the Nats from the playoffs. About 30 minutes after the Nationals finished celebrating a walk-off 2-1

Dreams of World Series title crushed with early elimination

Bryce Harper won’t receive any rings this year nor will he be hoisting any trophies over the monuments. The Mets clinched the National League East with a convincing 10-2 win over the Reds, officially eliminating the Nationals from a postseason that almost everyone predicted they would be a major factor in. Not even a dominating 13-strikeout performance from Stephen Strasburg coupled with a walk-off RBI

Bryce Harper’s walk-off RBI double wins game 2-1 (Nats eliminated)

Stephen Strasburg mowed down the Phillies through the first four innings without allowing a baserunner. Darin Ruf ended Strasburg’s bid for perfection with a leadoff single in the fifth. Strasburg induced a double-play groundout from Andres Blanco after Ruf’s hit. Strasburg has faced the minimum batters, striking out six through five innings. The Nationals wasted a tremendous scoring opportunity in the fourth. Three straight singles

Bryce Harper looks to bust out of mini slump

Bryce Harper enters today’s matinee with the Phillies without a hit in his last four games, all losses for the Nationals. The 22-year-old went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts last night and is 0-for-10 over the four games, his longest hitless streak of the season. “He’s a touch frustrated right now getting some pitches to hit and not hitting them,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “And Continue reading ....

Stephen Strasburg takes mound for last home start (with lineups)

Stephen Strasburg takes the mound for the last time at Nationals Park in 2015 this afternoon against the Phillies. The right-hander tied a career high with 14 strikeouts when he faced the Phils at Citizens Bank Park a little over a week ago. Strasburg is 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA and 37 strikeouts over his last three starts. He is 5-4 with a 3.34 ERA

Nats on the brink of elimination

A season which was expected to end deep into fall with a World Series run could come to a sobering end prematurely this afternoon. The Mets trounced the Reds 12-5 last night, dropping their magic number to one to clinch the National League East. So either another New York win over Cincinnati or a Nationals loss to the Phillies will eliminate Washington from the postseason.

Jordan Zimmermann rocked in possible last home start

In what might be his final home start at Nationals Park, Jordan Zimmermann didn’t receive the friendliest going away present from the Phillies. Zimmermann surrendered three homers - including a rare inside-the-park grand slam - as the Nationals fell 8-2. “Obviously, I’m a little upset,” Zimmermann said. “We didn’t get the win and I didn’t pitch very good. That’s what my job is, to go

Jordan Zimmermann surrenders three homers in Nats’ 8-2 loss

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann opened with a perfect first inning, whiffing Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera to end the frame. Anthony Rendon ripped a double leading off the bottom of the inning. After Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickoff struck out Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth drilled a single to left-center, scoring Rendon. Update: The Phillies loaded the bases on Zimmermann in the third. With

Jordan Zimmermann aims to finish strong at home (with lineups)

Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound against the Phillies tonight in what might be his last home start for the Nationals. The right-hander is 39-21 with a 3.04 ERA in 93 career starts at Nationals Park. Zimmermann is 4-0 with a 4.04 ERA in his last seven starts with the Nats, winning six of the games. He did allow two homers and six runs over six

Jonathan Papelbon receives three-game suspension, will appeal

Major League Baseball has suspended and fined Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon for intentionally throwing in the head area of Manny Machado in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 4-3 loss. Papelbon will appeal his three-game suspension, which was scheduled to begin with tonight’s contest against the Phillies. Papelbon plunked Machado two innings after the Orioles star hammered a two-run go-ahead homer off Nats ace Max Scherzer.

This could be the last time for Jordan Zimmermann

As the late, great poet James Douglas Morrison once wrote, “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near.” Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound tonight in what might be his last home start in a Nationals uniform. The free agent-to-be is likely to sign elsewhere in the offseason after spending his entire professional career with the Nationals organization. Selected in the second round of the

Deja vu for Nats bullpen in 5-4 loss

In a week where baseball is honoring the life of Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, it seems only appropriate to borrow one the icon’s legendary expressions to describe the Nationals’ latest loss. “It’s like déjà vu all over again” nails exactly what happened this evening as the Nats bullpen once again blew a lead late, resulting in a sweep to the Orioles with a 5-4

Nats swept in Beltway Series after blowing late lead

The Orioles jumped on Tanner Roark early. Gerardo Parra belted a leadoff double over Michael A. Taylor’s head in center. And then on a full count, Manny Machado smoked a fastball back up the middle for an RBI single. Update: Orioles starter Tyler Wilson did not attempt any form of retaliation against Bryce Harper or any other member of the Nationals as he went through

Danny Espinosa’s season likely ends with hamstring tear

Nationals manager Matt Williams revealed before today’s game that Danny Espinosa is “likely done for the season” with a small tear in the attachment of his right hamstring. “It’s a very difficult spot and for him to try to ramp up and get to a point where he can play,” Williams said. “It’s a great risk and if it tears any more at that spot,

Tanner Roark looks to prevent sweep in Beltway Series finale (with lineups)

Tanner Roark takes the mound for the Nationals in the Beltway Series finale with the Orioles. The right-hander is coming off on his roughest outings of the season, surrendering two homers and six runs over five innings in a 6-4 loss to the Marlins last Thursday. Roark is 3-3 with a 5.66 ERA over nine starts this season. The Orioles send rookie right-hander Tyler Wilson

Retaliation won’t surprise Bryce Harper: “I’ll probably get drilled”

This afternoon’s series finale will undoubtedly be filled with added drama beyond the minimal chances both teams have of making their way to the playoffs. All eyes will be on whether the Orioles choose retaliation after Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon plunked Manny Machado in the ninth last night. Papelbon never admitted to purposely hitting the star third baseman, but his intentions seemed fairly clear to

Manny Machado beats Max Scherzer in deciding moment

There wasn’t any theatrical, profanity-laced outburst on the mound tonight. Nationals manager Matt Williams remained in the dugout, allowing ace Max Scherzer to go mano a mano with one of the majors’ elite hitters late in a one-run game with the season hanging by a thread. This time, Scherzer lost the battle, surrendering a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh to Orioles star Manny Machado

Max Scherzer loses battle with Manny Machado, Nats fall 4-3

Just as he did in his last start, Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer surrendered a two-run homer in the first inning of tonight’s game. Scherzer retired Gerardo Parra and Manny Machado before walking Chris Davis. Steve Pearce then hammered Scherzer’s 95 mph fastball over the left field wall for his 14th home run. The Nats answered in the bottom of the frame. After a leadoff double,

Mike Rizzo on Matt Williams’ future: “We’re going to certainly evaluate everything”

With Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Ian Desmond and Denard Span set to become free agents at season’s end, the makeup of the Nationals in 2016 figures to be quite different. The most intriguing, though, revolves around whether the Nats manager will remain the same. This afternoon, Nationals general Mike Rizzo manager made his normal weekly appearance with show hosts Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on

Max Scherzer nearing career and team highs for strikeouts (with lineups)

Right-hander Max Scherzer makes his second start of the season against the Orioles tonight. Scherzer nearly threw a complete game in Baltimore on July 12, leaving with two outs in the ninth after Adam Jones’ second homer. Drew Storen came on to close out a 3-2 win for the Nationals in the final game before the All-Star break. Scherzer is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA

Bryce Harper walks into Nats’ record books

Bryce Harper changed history again last night, breaking a record that represents the respect and fear opposing teams have for him while also validating the vulnerability of the Nats lineup surrounding him. Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez actually went ahead 0-2 on Harper in the first before shying away from the strike zone with four consecutive balls. Harper’s 116th free pass tied him with former slugger

Plenty of missed opportunities in Nats’ 4-1 loss

As time continues ticking away on the regular season, the Nationals can’t afford to squander any opportunities. With the Braves knocking off the Mets tonight, the Nats had a prime chance to cut the division lead to 5 1/2 games. But left-hander Gio Gonzalez once again battled command issues early and the Nationals bats came out sluggish as the Orioles took the opener 4-1. Caleb

Tough night for Gio Gonzalez, Nats offense in 4-1 loss

Both starters experienced early bouts with command problems in this game. The Orioles took advantage while the Nats did not. Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez issued consecutive free passes to Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper with one out in the first. But Jayson Werth was caught looking at a third strike, and then Clint Robinson grounded out to end the frame. In the second, left-hander Gio

Max Scherzer starts Wednesday, Danny Espinosa suffers hamstring tear

Nationals manager Matt Williams has shuffled his pitching rotation a bit after last night’s rainout. Right-hander Tanner Roark, who was scheduled to start in Game 2, now moves to the finale on Thursday afternoon. Williams will keep his ace Max Scherzer on normal rest, sending the righty to the mound tomorrow night. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is due to take the hill for Friday’s opener against

Gio Gonzalez looks to set tone in series opener (with lineups)

Both Nationals manager Matt Williams and Orioles manager Buck Showalter stayed with their starters from last night’s rainout. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for Washington after going 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA over his last three starts. He matched his career high with 12 strikeouts in a 12-2 win over the Phillies last Wednesday. Gonzalez started the Nats’ lone loss in Baltimore before the

Bryce Harper deserves MVP in historic season

During this final homestand, the Nationals began a campaign promoting 22-year-old sensation Bryce Harper for National League MVP. They loaded a one-page document full of mind-boggling statistics comparing Harper to his contemporaries, and in some cases, displaying prowess over some of the game’s most legendary figures. Whether the Pope’s arrival to D.C. later today can help the Nats miraculously turn a 6 1/2-game deficit into

Rain postpones tonight’s game, makeup scheduled for Thursday (updated)

Persistent rain forced the postponement of tonight’s game between the Nationals and Orioles. The two teams will make up the game this Thursday at 4:05 p.m. The Nationals and Orioles will play Tuesday and Wednesday with both games scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. Visit nationals.com/Rainout for information on rainout ticket exchange policies. Update: Nationals manager Matt Williams only chose to announce his starter for

Pedro Severino debuts with double in first major league at-bat

There were a plethora of Nationals highlights from Sunday’s 13-3 drubbing of the Marlins, including the major league debut of highly regarded catching prospect Pedro Severino. Severino was one of the Nationals’ initial September call-ups, joining the team on the first of the month in St. Louis. But the 22-year-old had yet to appear in a game until the eighth inning yesterday when manager Matt

Matt Williams reacts to weekly honors for Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper

In back-to-back years, the Nationals were given the opportunity to draft two players considered transcendent. Today, both of those young stars shared the National League’s Player of the Week honors. Stephen Strasburg, the top pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, was recognized for the second time in his career (June 7-13, 2010) after going 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA. The right-hander allowed just one

Nats and Orioles set for Beltway Series with slim playoff hopes alive

The Nationals and Orioles enter their Beltway Series clinging to slim playoff hopes. Baltimore is coming off a crushing 7-6 loss at Tampa Bay where closer Zach Britton blew a save by surrendering two runs in the bottom of the ninth. The Orioles are 5 1/2 games back of the Astros for the second Wild Card spot with 13 games remaining, but they must also

10 more strikeouts for Stephen Strasburg in Nats’ 13-3 win

Widespread injuries are the main culprit for why the Nationals find themselves on the outside looking in to the playoffs with under two weeks remaining in the regular season. They also account for the primary reasons why Stephen Strasburg won’t be mentioned in the Cy Young Award voting despite the dominant form the right-hander has displayed over the past three months. Strasburg’s blazing fastball, nasty

Stephen Strasburg delivers dominant performance, Nats win 13-3

The Nationals jumped on Marlins rookie left-hander Justin Nicolino early. Yunel Escobar drew a one-out walk and Bryce Harper followed with a single to center. Jayson Werth then hammered Nicolino’s changeup over center fielder’s Marcel Ozuna’s head bringing Escobar and Harper racing to the plate for the game’s first runs. Ian Desmond followed with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Werth. The Marlins got one

Despite few chances, Trea Turner still showcasing skill set

Rookie Trea Turner has seen limited action since making his major league debut on August 21. The 22-year-old has been used primarily in pinch-running and pinch-hitting situations, but did make one start at second base when the Nationals lineup was dealing with widespread injuries. On Friday night, Turner was summoned to pinch-run for Yunel Escobar, who led off the eighth with a single. Turner advanced

Bryce Harper’s tenacious at-bat, 41st homer lead Nats to 5-2 win

For the third straight day, a Nationals starter spotted the Marlins a two-run lead in the first inning. But today, right-hander Jordan Zimmermann locked down Miami after that, combining with four relievers to shut the Marlins out over the final eight innings as the Nationals won 5-2. The Marlins connected on three hits against Zimmermann in the opening frame, including an RBI double from Christian

Bryce Harper, Tyler Moore homer in Nats’ 5-2 win

The Marlins jumped on Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann in the first. Dee Gordon legged out an infield single to start the game. After Ichiro Suzuki grounded into a force out, Christian Yelich laced an RBI double to the gap in left-center. Justin Bour followed with a line drive base hit to center, scoring Yelich. Update: The Nats managed only two hits against Marlins left-hander Brad

Yunel Escobar’s hot bat has been one of Nats’ few constants this season

Yunel Escobar enters today’s matinee against the Marlins with the fourth-best batting average in the National League. If he finishes the year with his current .317 mark, it would end up being second only to his rookie year when he hit .326 in 94 games. But Escobar isn’t a career .300 hitter. In his previous eight seasons before joining the Nationals, Escobar was a .276

With home starts running out, Jordan Zimmermann looks to finish strong (with lineups)

Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound this afternoon looking to rebound from his six-run outing in Monday’s 8-7 win over the Phillies. The right-hander was tagged for two homers in the game, including a game-tying three-run shot in the sixth. Zimmermann has now surrendered 21 homers on the season, the most in his seven-year career. Zimmermann is 7-3 with a 2.47 ERA in 17 starts at

Headfirst and bloodied, Jayson Werth emerges with win

Jayson Werth sat in front of his locker late last night. As the camera lights popped on, the grizzled veteran flung his long hair back, revealing a bloody dirt burn on the right side of forehead. The war wound was evidence of Werth scoring the game-winning run for the Nationals’ thrilling 5-4 win. “I don’t even know what happened,” Werth admitted. “I hit my head

Max Scherzer’s fiery response to Matt Williams highlighted in Nats’ 5-4 win

Right-handers Max Scherzer and Jose Fernandez went toe-to-toe for the first six innings tonight, both allowing two runs. But Scherzer outlasted Fernandez, taking his start into the seventh where his defining moment of the night took center stage. With the game knotted 2-2, Miguel Rojas smoked a double off Scherzer with one down. Scherzer quickly responded, fanning Casey McGehee for the second out. With Dee

Nats win 5-4 on Jose Lobaton’s walk-off sacrifice fly in 10th

Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer yielded a leadoff single to Dee Gordon. Two batters later, Christian Yelich launched a two-run homer to deep right-center field. It’s the second straight night a Nats starter has allowed a two-run homer in the first inning. Scherzer has now surrendered 25 home runs on the season, seven more than last year and his highest total since 29 in 2011. Update:

Matt Williams on Michael A. Taylor: “I think he’s answered the question”

Nationals manager Matt Williams gave Michael A. Taylor a night off with right-hander Jose Fernandez on the mound and the Marlins throwing two left-handers the next two days. Taylor has struggled at the plate since banging his right knee on the center field wall at Nationals Park while trying to make a leaping catch against the Padres on Aug. 27. The 24-year-old missed seven games

Max Scherzer, Jose Fernandez featured in marquee matchup (with lineups)

The nation’s capital is the site for the majors’ marquee pitching matchup tonight as a couple heavyweight right-handers are set to face off. The Nationals send Max Scherzer to the mound while the Marlins counter with Jose Fernandez. After struggling uncharacteristically for much of the second half of the season, Scherzer experienced his best start of the past three months in a 5-0 win in

Ian Desmond opens Nats’ final homestand with homer, four RBIs

Ian Desmond was one of the few offensive bright spots for the Nationals in their untimely 6-4 loss to the Marlins last night. The 29-year-old smacked a two-run homer in the second to even the score and then drove in two more in the eighth on a clutch two-out single, accounting for the entire Nats tally on the scoreboard. Desmond’s home run delivered the only

Time running out for Nats after 6-4 loss

The Nationals got off to a rough start on their final homestand, suffering a costly 6-4 loss to the Marlins. Certainly the Nats will point to dropping six straight to the first-place Mets if they fail to make the playoffs, but they have also lost three of four to the Marlins over the last week. At 19 games under .500 for the season, Miami holds

Nats suffer costly 6-4 loss to Marlins

Dee Gordon singled to center to start tonight’s game. Two batters later, Martin Prado smacked a hanging slider from Tanner Roark over the wall in left-center for a two-run homer. Update: Jayson Werth drew a leadoff walk in the second. After Clint Robinson grounded out, Ian Desmond hit a missile into the Marlins bullpen. The two-run homer was Desmond’s 18th of the season, but first

Bryce Harper: “Everybody’s gonna expect 40 a year every time I play now”

Throughout the Nationals’ 145 games this season, Bryce Harper’s lofty batting average has remained a constant. But over the summer months, Harper’s homers decreased from six in June to five in July and then only two in August. Now in September, the 22-year-old slugger is on pace to blow out the artillery show from May, when he bombed 13 homers and drove in 28 runs,

Tanner Roark kicks off final homestand (with lineups)

Tanner Roark makes his third straight start since rejoining the Nationals rotation on Sept. 4. The right-hander has been limited to 69 pitches in each of his last two innings as he continues to stretch out after spending the majority of the season pitching out of the bullpen. Roark has allowed three runs on 13 hits over nine innings in his last two outings. The

Jayson Werth providing powerful messages on and off field during stretch run

PHILADELPHIA - If the Nationals come up short - which is likely - in their bid to overtake the Mets the for the division crown, they will eventually sit back, probably cursing, and wonder why so many important players were repeatedly struck by the injury bug this year. Jayson Werth missed the first six games of the year rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery. Just when

Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth keep hope alive for Nats in sweep

PHILADELPHIA - Is the heart still beating? Five days ago, the Nationals gave everyone the feeling it was time to kick dirt on the grave after dropping their fifth straight, leaving them a season-worst 9 1/2 games out of first place. But with their pride questioned, the Nats showed a pulse in a 5-0 shutout win, led by ace Max Scherzer on Sunday. And tonight’s

Bryce Harper blasts 40th homer, Nats win 12-2

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals took advantage of a walk and a Phillies error to plate the game’s first run in the second. Phillies right-hander Alec Asher walked Jayson Werth to start the frame. Clint Robinson then smoked a liner off first baseman Darin Ruf for a single. Ian Desmond followed with a bouncing ball to third baseman Chase d’Arnaud, but Ruf muffed the throw to

Nationals game blog: Gio Gonzalez aims for consistency

PHILADELPHIA - Left-hander Gio Gonzalez takes the hill tonight in search of his 11th win of the season. Gonzalez, who went 10-10 in 27 starts last year, is looking to finish strong after struggling in August. The Nationals lost five of Gonzalez’s six starts last month, while the lefty’s ERA ballooned to 5.46. Gonzalez has regained his form over his first two September outings, going

Matt Williams focused on Bryce Harper’s on-field actions, not vote of confidence

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper offered high praise for manager Matt Williams following last night’s 4-0 win over the Phillies. “Truly, I love him as a manager,” Harper said. “Flat out, I absolutely do and if I didn’t, everybody would know because I’m not shy to say things. Just being able to have the fire, the intensity that he has and the way

Bryce Harper’s September surge continues (with lineups)

PHILADELPHIA - Bryce Harper continues his conquest for National League Most Valuable Player honors in tonight’s series finale against the Phillies. The Nationals slugger is coming off a 3-for-3 two-homer performance on Tuesday in which he drove in all four runs in the 4-0 victory. Harper’s 39 homers ties him for most in the NL and places him second all-time for longballs in a Nationals

Stephen Strasburg joins elite company with one-hit, 14-strikeout gem

PHILADELPHIA - Add another file to the what-if folder after right-hander Stephen Strasburg completely handcuffed the Phillies, allowing only one hit while matching his career-high with 14 strikeouts in last night’s 4-0 shutout win for the Nationals. The lone hit of the night was a sharp grounder through the hole into right field to start the fifth off the bat of Cody Asche. Strasburg’s only

Bryce Harper on Matt Williams: “I love him as a manager”

PHILADELPHIA - In a season filled with extraordinary moments, Bryce Harper carried an epic performance on the field into the clubhouse, fully endorsing the much-maligned Matt Williams as the Nationals manager. “Truly, I love him as a manager,” Harper proclaimed. “Flat out, I absolutely do and if I didn’t, everybody would know because I’m not shy to say things.” Harper’s powerful comments came moments after

Strasburg strikes out 14, Harper homers twice (Nats win 4-0)

PHILADELPHIA - Phillies starter David Buchanan has been laboring through his second season in the majors. Buchanan brought a 9.11 ERA into tonight’s game with the Nationals and proceeded to fire a fastball behind Bryce Harper on the opening pitch of their first meeting. Harper stared back at Buchanan while the Nationals dugout chirped. Two pitches later, Harper deposited another Buchanan heater over the wall

Jonathan Papelbon brushes off first blown save

PHILADELPHIA - Recently acquired Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon gave the few thousand Phillies fans left in the 10th inning last night exactly what they came to Citizens Bank Park to see. Tasked with locking down a 7-6 lead, Papelbon surrendered a leadoff homer to Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis. Until the game-tying leadoff blast, Papelbon had been the lone remaining closer in the majors this season

Nationals game blog: Bryce Harper looks to continue power trip

PHILADELPHIA - Bryce Harper blasted his 37th homer of the season last night with a solo shot off Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola. The third-inning blast gave the young slugger the first longball of his career off a pitcher younger than him. Harper is 6 1/2 months older than the 22-year-old Nola. Harper’s 91 straight home runs to open his career off a pitcher older than

Stephen Strasburg’s roller coaster season continues (with lineups)

PHILADELPHIA - The roller coaster ride of a season continues for Stephen Strasburg tonight with the right-hander’s 20th start of the year. Strasburg is coming off a hard luck loss to the Mets last Wednesday where he breezed through the first seven innings before surrendering a game-tying leadoff homer to Kelly Johnson in the eighth. After fanning Kirk Nieuwenhuis for his season-high 13th strikeout of

In rough and unexpected season, Doug Fister picks up first save

PHILADELPHIA - Raise your hand if you had Doug Fister saving a near meaningless game in mid-September this season. That’s exactly what happened last night when manager Matt Williams called on Fister for the first time in 13 days to close out a seesaw contest that left the Nationals leading the Phillies 8-7 in the bottom of the 11th. Fister walked Cameron Rupp to start

Jayson Werth reflects on injury-plagued season after 8-7 win

PHILADELPHIA - In a season filled with injuries that have interfered with a division crown and a possible deep run into October, the Nationals are finally showing the potential of some of their battered stars. Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth - two guys who have combined to miss 151 games this year - led the way tonight as the Nationals outlasted the Phillies 8-7 in

Denard Span named finalist for Roberto Clemente Award

PHILADELPHIA - Center fielder Denard Span was named the Washington Nationals’ 2015 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet, Major League Baseball announced today. The Roberto Clemente Award pays tribute to the Hall of Famer’s achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others. Span is one of the 30 finalists from each Major League club

Jonathan Papelbon critical of Phillies in return

PHILADELPHIA - Right-hander Jonathan Papelbon makes his uncelebrated return to Citizens Bank Park tonight for the first time since the Phillies shipped him to the Nationals just before the trade deadline on July 28. The controversial trade knocked right-hander Drew Storen back into a set-up role to make way for Papelbon to handle the ninth inning. The Nationals have struggled since the move, going just

Nats slug four homers, outlast Phillies 8-7 in 11 innings

PHILADELPHIA - Anthony Rendon belted the first pitch of the game from Phillies starter Aaron Nola over the left-center field wall. It was Rendon’s second leadoff homer of his career and the eighth for the Nationals this season. Update: Ryan Howard smoked a 2-1 fastball from Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann over the wall in right to tie the score in the second. It was the

Nationals game blog: Jordan Zimmermann looks for momentum in stretch run

PHILADELPHIA - Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann heads to the mound tonight looking to collect his 13th win of the season. The Phillies are the lone National League team that Zimmermann has a losing record against, coming in at 6-7 with a 3.43 ERA in 15 career starts. Zimmermann has allowed just three runs over his last three outings, going 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA while striking

Bryce Harper returns after violent collision (with lineups)

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper returns to the lineup tonight after a brutal collision knocked him out of yesterday’s game. Harper ran into Marlins second baseman Derek Dietrich while attempting to make a running turn at the bag on his way to third on Jayson Werth’s inning-ending groundout. The violent impact left Harper on his back as Nationals manager Matt Williams and head

Finally healthy, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth heat up

After many questioned their pride, the Nationals showed up Sunday, ending a disastrous five-game losing streak with a 5-0 shutout win over the Marlins. Right-hander Max Scherzer led the way, tossing eight scoreless innings to earn his 12th win in his best start since the All-Star break. The Nationals rebounded from a three-hit shutout loss on Saturday to plate five runs on 11 hits yesterday.

Commanding all day, Max Scherzer leads Nats to 5-0 win

The last time right-hander Max Scherzer won was July 30. The Nationals left Miami that afternoon on their way to New York, holding a three-game division lead. The Mets erased the deficit in the ensuing three days and then proceeded to build a commanding 9 1/2-game lead over the next five weeks. Make no mistake about it, Scherzer’s struggles throughout August and into September were

Bryce Harper not showing concussion symptoms after violent collision

The Nationals beat the Marlins 5-0 this afternoon essentially without the services of star outfielder Bryce Harper. Harper left in the first inning after a violent collision with Marlins second baseman Derek Dietrich. With two outs and Harper on first, Jayson Werth hit a sharp grounder to Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas, who fired to first baseman Justin Bour to end the inning. Harper was running

Max Scherzer dominates Marlins in 5-0 win (Bryce Harper injured)

The Nationals suffered yet another injury moments after the start of today’s game. Anthony Rendon singled to lead off the game. After Marlins starter Brad Hand struck out Yunel Escobar, Bryce Harper grounded to shortstop Miguel Rojas, who forced Rendon at second. On Jayson Werth’s ensuing grounder, Rojas fired to first baseman Justin Bour to end the inning. Harper was running hard to second on

Nationals game blog: Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon look to avoid sweep

After dropping the first two in Miami, the Nationals stand at just 30-41 on the road this season. If they maintain their current .422 winning percentage away from Nationals Park, it would be Washington’s lowest road mark since 2010 when they went 28-53 (.346). After excelling in the leadoff spot, Jayson Werth makes his second straight start batting cleanup. The 36-year-old picked up a walk

Max Scherzer aims for a strong finish (with lineups)

It’s hard to believe that right-hander Max Scherzer will go for his first win since way back on July 30 when he takes the mound at Marlins Park this afternoon. That was also the last time Scherzer displayed real dominance, blanking Miami over seven innings while fanning six as the Nationals held on for a 1-0 victory. Scherzer has struggled mightily since, going 0-3 with

Matt Williams on Bryce Harper: “The secret to his success is patience”

Bryce Harper has experienced a rough two nights in Miami. He did everything possible to will the Nationals to victory on Wednesday night at home - smacking two homers and a double and scoring all three runs - but it wasn’t enough to catch the Mets in the 5-3 loss. On Friday night in Miami, Harper went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk. The

With season fading away, Nats don’t show much fight in 2-0 shutout loss

The math says they’re still alive, but the play on the field hasn’t offered much proof over the past two days. The Nationals mustered just three hits and had only five baserunners, suffering their fifth straight loss in a 2-0 shutout at the hands of the Marlins. Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez figured to make it tough on the Nationals. The 23-year-old entered the game 15-0

Nats drop fifth straight, manage only three hits in 2-0 shutout loss

Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark rolled through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. Three singles, a walk and a hit batter in the frame led to the Marlins’ first run. With runners at the corners and one out, J.T. Realmuto ripped a line drive single to right, scoring Christian Yelich. An infield base hit from Ichiro Suzuki loaded the bases, but

Nationals game blog: Short-handed Nats look to end losing skid

For the second time in the last three games, the Nationals go to battle without two of their top hitters in the lineup. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman will miss his fourth consecutive contest with a sore left oblique that he injured during an at-bat against the Braves last weekend. Third baseman Yunel Escobar, who went 2-for-4 and scored the Nationals’ only run last night, was

Drew Storen breaks thumb in frustration (Rizzo and Williams react)

Nationals manager Matt Williams revealed before tonight’s game in Miami that right-hander Drew Storen has a non-displaced fracture in his right thumb, according to MASN’s Dan Kolko. Storen reportedly injured his throwing hand slamming his locker shut in the Nationals clubhouse following the 5-3 loss to the Mets on Wednesday night. Williams called on Storen to face Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes with one on and

Bryce Harper set to tussle with Jose Fernandez (Escobar scratched with bug)

Bryce Harper looks today to rebound from a tough Friday night at the plate. The 22-year-old slugger went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Marlins. Otherwise, Harper has torched Miami this season, slashing .310/.423/.762 with six homers, 13 RBIs and nine runs scored. “Bryce has had a fantastic year for us,” Nationals manager Matt Williams told reporters. “He

Casey Janssen’s rut continues, Yunel Escobar’s bat remains hot

Aside from the blockbuster signing of former Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, infielder Yunel Escobar and right-hander Casey Janssen were the two key pieces Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo added during the offseason. Both factored prominently in another botched play in the seventh inning last night, which enabled the Marlins to score the eventual game-winning run, leading to a 2-1 win over the Nats. Janssen

Sluggish start to critical road trip for Nats in 2-1 loss

After suffering a devastating sweep at the hands of the Mets, the Nationals desperately needed a strong start to their six-game road trip. That didn’t happen with the offense coming out of the gates sluggish and, once again, the bullpen stumbling late as the Nats lost 2-1. The Mets won their second straight over the Braves, so the Nationals fall 8 1/2 games back in

Nats fall 2-1, drop fourth straight

Marlins left-hander Jarred Cosart walked Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper in the first inning, but the Nationals stranded both when Yunel Escobar popped out and Ian Desmond struck out to end the inning. Gio Gonzalez was rolling through the first three innings until he issued a one-out walk to Martin Prado in the fourth. Justin Bour followed with a single to right, advancing Prado to

Nationals game blog: Nats looking for Gio Gonzalez to be the stopper

The Nationals send Gio Gonzalez to the mound tonight to face his hometown Marlins. The left-hander is 10-7 with a 3.96 ERA in 26 starts this season. He’s coming off one of his best outings, holding the Braves scoreless over six innings in an 8-2 win last Saturday. Gonzalez was rocked in his only start against the Marlins this year, surrendering six runs on 10

Ryan Zimmerman still out as Nats open series in Miami (with lineups)

The Nationals will open a three-game series in Miami without Ryan Zimmerman, who injured his left oblique during an at-bat in last weekend’s series against the Braves. Zimmerman has missed three of the past four games including the final two against the Mets. Tyler Moore starts at first base against Marlins left-hander Jarred Cosart. Moore hasn’t seen game action since he started for Zimmerman last

No relief in sight for Nats bullpen

After a day off in Miami to regroup, the Nationals prepare to take on the Marlins with just 23 games remaining in the season. While the Nats were resting, the Mets were extending their commanding lead in the National League East to 7 1/2 games after beating the Braves 7-2. What has made these last five losses - two to the Cardinals, three to the

Too many times, Bryce Harper has been a one-man gang this season

The theme of Bryce Harper displaying another dominant performance but the Nationals falling short once again played out in last night’s dismal 5-3 loss to the Mets. Harper jumpstarted the Nationals offense early, ripping Jacob deGrom’s heater over the wall in right for a two-out solo home run. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the 97.3 mph fastball was the fastest pitch Harper has ever

Nats wasted opportunities to seize division at trade deadline

The National League East was won at the trade deadline, plain and simple. Three hours before first pitch at Citi Field on July 31, the non-waiver trade deadline expired. At that moment, the Nationals held a three-game division advantage over the Mets leading up to the start of a pivotal series. After tonight’s crushing 5-3 loss, the Nationals have somehow dropped seven games behind the

After another late collapse, Nats fall seven games back with 5-3 loss

Stephen Strasburg returned to the mound for the first time since upper back tightness knocked him out of a start against the Marlins on Aug. 30. The right-hander needed just 10 pitches to get through the first, coaxing two popouts and an easy fly ball to center to waste an infield single from Yoenis Cespedes. With two outs in the first, Bryce Harper belted a

Matt Williams responds to critical fan reaction

Nationals manager Matt Williams walked into the press conference room at Nationals Park earlier today, the same room he was booed out of after finishing his postgame remarks following last night’s unfathomable 8-7 loss to the Mets. Last night, fans inside the Presidents Club pressed up against the window watching Williams attempt to explain how his team managed to blow a six-run lead in a

Zimmerman, Escobar and Taylor won’t start in key series finale

The Nationals will attempt to avoid a costly sweep and keep their season afloat without first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, third baseman Yunel Escobar and center fielder Michael A. Taylor in tonight’s starting lineup. Zimmerman tweaked his left oblique during a swing on Monday and also continues to be bothered by soreness in his left foot. Clint Robinson, who was 2-for-3 with an RBI and run

Trainwreck: Starring the Nats bullpen

In a season filled with many regrets and excuses, the Nationals can direct your attention to several reasons why they are nearing the end of the road. One problem that’s so glaring it’s blinding is the collapse of the bullpen. Try to digest this: The Nationals were in position to erase the Mets’ 6 1/2-game lead in only nine games. The Nats led entering the

Nats bullpen collapses as playoff hopes fade away in devastating 8-7 loss

On a night that began with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo calling this a must-win game, the bullpen that Rizzo constructed collapsed, as the playoff hopes crumbled in a mind-boggling 8-7 loss to the Mets. New York has now taken a commanding six-game lead over Washington with just 24 games remaining. “We got ourselves backed up against a wall here, but I don’t think anyone

Nats suffer crushing 8-7 loss as bullpen blows six-run lead

Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann received some stellar defense in the first. Ian Desmond made a dazzling stop and throw to get Yoenis Cespedes on a broken-bat grounder up the middle for the second out. And then speedy Michael A. Taylor ran down a deep drive to left-center off the bat of Daniel Murphy to end the frame. Anthony Rendon ripped a one-out single off Mets

Mike Rizzo defends Bryce Harper: “He’s a guy who loves this city”

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Nationals slugger Bryce Harper wasn’t too happy with many fans departing Nationals Park prematurely in yesterday’s 8-5 loss to the Mets. “I mean, they left in the seventh,” Harper said. “That’s pretty brutal.” The criticism reverberated throughout the country from fans and media. Before tonight’s game, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo defended his young star. “Bryce is a

No more starts for Joe Ross, Nats transition rookie to bullpen

The theme of Tuesday night at Nationals Park seems revolve around innings limits. Drama has surrounded tonight’s Mets starter Matt Harvey - who is pitching in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2013 - after his super-agent Scott Boras indicated that a shutdown was necessary and nearing for the fireballer. Meanwhile, speculation has swirled around the Nationals for the past

Ryan Zimmerman out for critical game with Mets (with lineups)

The Nationals will be without Ryan Zimmerman for tonight’s crucial game against the Mets. Zimmerman was a late scratch for Sunday’s game after experiencing continuing soreness in his left foot. He went 2-for-5 with a run scored in yesterday’s 8-5 loss. The 11-year veteran missed 40 games with plantar fasciitis in the middle of the season, but since returning on July 28, Zimmerman leads the

Nationals release 2016 schedule, Marlins visit D.C. for home opener

The Washington Nationals announced their 2016 schedule this afternoon. The season will begin with a two-game series in Atlanta on April 4-6, with an off-day April 5. Opening day in D.C. will follow with the Marlins visiting Nationals Park for a three-game set beginning April 7. The Nats will once again celebrate the Fourth of July in the nation’s capital when the Brewers start a

It won’t get any easier for Bryce Harper, Nats against Matt Harvey

After the Nats dropped a pivotal series opener to the Mets yesterday afternoon, it seemed like more of the attention was focused on Bryce Harper’s brief comments on the Labor Day crowd checking out a bit prematurely at Nationals Park. “I mean, they left in the seventh,” Harper said. “That’s pretty brutal.” For what it’s worth, Harper has also praised the fans all season, later

Max Scherzer can’t hold lead as Nats fall five games back

The Nationals couldn’t hold a two-run lead, wasting an opportunity as they fell back to five games behind the Mets with an 8-5 loss. Max Scherzer gave up solo homers to Michael Conforto and Kelly Johnson in the second and another to Yoenis Cespedes in the fourth. It was the third time in his last eight starts that Scherzer has surrendered three longballs in a

Max Scherzer tagged for three homers, Nats lose 8-5

After battling his way out of a jam in the first, Max Scherzer wasn’t so lucky in the second. Michael Conforto drilled a first-pitch fastball over the wall in left-center to start the inning. Two batters later, Kelly Johnson smacked a changeup into the stands in right-center. Scherzer has now surrendered 10 homers in his last seven starts. Update: Yoenis Cespedis launched a 1-1 heater

Max Scherzer looks to set tone against Mets (with lineups)

The Nationals are set to begin an enormous series against the Mets with ace Max Scherzer on the hill. Scherzer has experienced two hard-luck starts against New York this year, going 0-2 with a 0.61 ERA. Two costly errors from Ian Desmond led to Scherzer’s first loss against the Mets on opening day. Desmond has cleaned up his fielding and since the All-Star break, his

After a long wait, Max Scherzer gets his shot against the Mets

A day before taking the mound to begin a crucial series against the Mets, Max Scherzer watched his teammates complete a four-game sweep of the Braves, allowing the Nationals to gain 2 1/2 games on New York over the weekend. “You just come to the park ready to play and do your job,” Scherzer said of the Nats’ focus. “You don’t worry about what the

Weekend sweep sets stage for showdown with Mets

The Nationals took care of business, sweeping the reeling Braves with this afternoon’s 8-4 win and setting the stage for a three-game showdown with the division-leading Mets. Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon all homered and Michael A. Taylor returned to the starting lineup with a two-run double to get the Nats on the board early. With all of their offensive damage done in

Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon smack homers as Nats roll 8-4

Nick Markakis roped a double to center to lead off the game. After a walk to Freddie Freeman, Nick Swisher delivered a two-out RBI single to right off Joe Ross. The Nationals responded in the second when Yunel Escobar started the frame with a base knock to left. Escobar advanced to second after Braves starter Manny Banuelos walked Ian Desmond. Michael A. Taylor followed with

Taylor returns, Ross looks to command (with lineups)

Michael A. Taylor returns to the starting lineup for the first time since missing Tuesday. Taylor has been battling a swelling in his bruised right knee resulting from a collision with the center field wall at Nationals Park on Aug. 27. The rookie did make an important appearance in Friday’s game, smacking his first pinch-hit homer in walk-off fashion to drop the Braves 5-2. Taylor,

Jayson Werth leading the way down the stretch

As they have for many Nationals, injuries interfered with Jayson Werth’s year. The 36-year-old never fully recovered from offseason AC joint surgery in his right shoulder when he began the season a week late. He scuffled through the first month with his batting average mostly below .200 until a fastball darted inside and fractured his left wrist on May 15 in San Diego. Werth’s broken

Bryce Harper ignites offense in Nats’ fourth straight win

In a season where the legend of Bryce Harper has become reality, the young slugger continues to reach new milestones. Harper’s third-inning two-run homer was the 500th hit of his career and, after doubling to start the fifth, the 22-year-old scored his 100th run this year as the Nationals pounded the Braves 8-2. The Mets shut out the Marlins 7-0 to maintain their five-game lead

Gio Gonzalez dominates, Bryce Harper homers (Nats win 8-2)

The Nationals received a gift in the third and they took full advantage of it. Ian Desmond lifted a routine fly ball to center to start the inning. Cameron Maybin never saw it, barely taking a few steps forward with his arms extended. Left fielder Nick Swisher raced over, but was too late and Desmond reached on a double. After Wilson Ramos grounded out and

Nationals game blog: Offense thriving with Jayson Werth leading off

The Nationals look for their fourth straight win on the heels of last night’s thrilling 5-2 comeback victory. After blasting the game-winning three-run walk-off homer, Michael A. Taylor in not in tonight’s starting lineup for the fourth straight game as he continues be bothered by a bruised right knee. Nationals manager Matt Williams indicated that Taylor’s condition has improved and the rookie is once again

Aaron Barrett remains positive after Tommy John surgery

Nationals right-hander Aaron Barrett rejoined his teammates in the clubhouse this afternoon for the first time since undergoing successful Tommy John surgery on Thursday. “After I got the opinions from the three doctors that I saw, the consensus was that I needed to get it done,” Barrett said. “I was kind of just weighing my options to make sure because this is an important decision,

Gio Gonzalez looks to continue Nats’ winning streak (with lineups)

The Nationals send Gio Gonzalez to the mound tonight aiming for their fourth win a row. After struggling for three straight starts, the left-hander showed improvement on Monday, limiting the Cardinals to three runs on five hits over six innings in an 8-5 loss. Gonzalez yielded two runs over seven innings in a 9-2 win over the Braves on May 8 at Nationals Park. But

Rookie Michael A. Taylor continues to thrive in the clutch

Michael A. Taylor seeing much playing time this season wasn’t expected. In fact, even after an impressive Grapefruit League season, there was speculation that the rookie might be better suited for another season of development in the minors rather than sitting on the bench for the Nationals. But when Denard Span and Jayson Werth weren’t ready to start the season, Taylor was not only the

Michael A. Taylor’s dramatic walk-off homer sends Nats surging

Not long ago, Bryce Harper bluntly delivered a message that was echoed by several teammates - the Nationals didn’t care about the Mets. Throw that out the window as players and coaches delayed showers and meals to sit intently watching as the first-place Mets battled the Marlins in extra innings. When the Marlins delivered the game-winning run in the 11th, the Nationals clubhouse erupted. It’s

Michael A. Taylor smacks walk-off homer in 5-2 win

Tanner Roark worked through an eventful first inning. Cameron Maybin slapped a one-out single to left and then Roark picked him off. Freddie Freeman followed with a double, drilled off the wall in right. Then Roark hit A.J. Pierzynski before getting Adonis Garcia to ground out to end the frame. After allowing Bryce Harper to score four times on four walks last night, the Braves

After brief delay, Trea Turner collects first major league hit

Trea Turner entered last night’s rout in seventh inning, taking over at shortstop with the Nationals leading by 13 runs at the time. Since making his highly anticipated major league debut on Aug. 21, the 22-year-old was hitless in nine at-bats. With one out in the bottom of the frame, the speedy Turner raced down the first base line after slapping a bouncing ball to

Tanner Roark set for a start (with lineups)

Tanner Roark returns from his short stint in the minors to make his first start for the Nationals since taking a loss to the Phillies on June 28. Working mostly out of the bullpen this year, Roark is 3-1 with a 5.61 ERA as a starter. His ERA is slightly misleading because eight of his earned runs came in his abbreviated start in Philadelphia. Nationals

Just a walk - or four - in the park for Bryce Harper

Imagine this: Buying tickets to a Nationals game to bring your family to see the great Bryce Harper hit towering, majestic homers, but instead, you don’t even get to see a single violent thrash of the bat from the young slugger. That’s precisely what happened Thursday night when Harper, in four plate appearances, displayed unmatched discipline by not swinging at any of the 20 pitches

Nats gain ground with 15-1 drubbing

The Nationals returned home knowing they needed to dominate the struggling Braves over the next four games to set the stage for a monstrous series with the Mets. For tonight anyway, the plan far exceeded any expectations as the Nationals smacked 18 hits in a 15-1 rout. The assault began when right-hander Matt Wisler wanted no part of Bryce Harper - a Braves theme on

Ryan Zimmerman leads offensive attack again, Nats win 15-1

Jordan Zimmermann uncharacteristically issued walks to Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman in the first before working out of the jam when A.J. Pierzynski lined to Anthony Rendon for an inning-ending double play. Braves right-hander Matt Wisler paid for a two-out walk to Bryce Harper in the bottom of the frame. Ryan Zimmerman stepped to the plate to a standing ovation at Nationals Park and then

Updates on Stephen Strasburg, Michael A. Taylor and Tanner Roark

The Nationals were able to prevent a sweep in St. Louis last night, securing a much-needed win as they prepare to begin a seven-game homestand with four against the Braves followed by three versus the NL East leading Mets. With New York off tonight, the Nationals have the ever important opportunity to gain a ½ game in the standings. The Nats own a 37-26 record

Bryce Harper starts in center field (with lineups)

Bryce Harper is in the Nationals’ lineup for the beginning of an important seven-game homestand. The 22-year-old’s left glute tightened up after lunging for the bag at first on an infield hit in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s loss. Harper started last night but left in the fourth inning after popping up in his second at-bat, saying later “it just did not feel good at

Tyler Moore back from DL, A.J. Cole recalled for bullpen support

The Nationals reinstated Tyler Moore (sprained left ankle) after his stint on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander A.J. Cole from Triple-A Syracuse. Moore batted .200 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 79 games (28 starts) for the Nationals this season. In six minor league rehab games, Moore went 5-for-22 (.227) with a home run, two doubles, two walks and three RBIs. Cole’s

Max Scherzer: “Now it’s time for us to answer the bell”

ST. LOUIS - Max Scherzer battled through six tough innings on Wednesday night to put the Nationals in position to avoid a sweep against the Cardinals. To tell how rough the past month has been, the 4-3 win was just the first for the Nationals with Scherzer on the mound since Aug. 4. The Cardinals offense was aggressive, whacking 11 hits against Scherzer, a season-high

Healthy and locked in, Ryan Zimmerman is on a tear

ST. LOUIS - The script seemed to be headed in the same direction as the previous two nights - Nationals blow a late lead only to lose in heartbreaking fashion. But after the Cardinals evened the score in the seventh, Ryan Zimmerman once again stepped up, delivering a double in the eighth to score Anthony Rendon for the eventual game-winning run as the Nationals took

Bryce Harper day-to-day with glute tightness (Taylor injury update)

ST. LOUIS - Bryce Harper left tonight’s game in the fourth inning with left glute tightness. Harper popped out to second to start the frame, jogging slowly down the first base line. “At this point in the season, there’s always aches and pains, but this one felt a little different, a little worse,” Harper said after the Nationals’ 4-3 win. “On that last swing, it

Ryan Zimmerman lifts Nats to 4-3 win (Bryce Harper injured)

ST. LOUIS - Max Scherzer’s recent problem with the longball continued into tonight’s start when Brandon Moss launched a 96 mph heater deep to right-center to begin the second inning. The 454-foot blast was the longest homer ever hit by a left-handed batter at Busch Stadium. The Nationals responded in the third when Jayson Werth drilled Tyler Lyons’ fastball to straightaway center for a two-out

Nationals game blog: Max Scherzer looks for first win in over a month

ST. LOUIS - Max Scherzer takes the mound tonight in his hometown looking for his first win since July 30. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA while surrendering seven homers in his last five starts. “It’s a big game for us,” manager Matt Williams said. “I think he’s ready. He’s ready to compete anytime he takes the mound. He’s working hard in his

Stephen Strasburg unable to make Friday’s start

ST. LOUIS - Stephen Strasburg will not make his scheduled start on Friday against the Braves at Nationals Park. Manager Matt Williams announced before tonight’s game that right-hander Tanner Roark will be recalled from Double-A Harrisburg to fill Strasburg’s spot. Strasburg left Sunday’s 7-4 win over the Marlins after just four innings with upper back tightness. Williams indicated that Strasburg reported today feeling good after

Michael A. Taylor scratched tonight, Danny Espinosa now starts in left

ST. LOUIS - Max Scherzer returns home to pitch at Busch Stadium for only the second time in his career. The St. Louis native looks to rebound from a brutal August, where the right-hander went 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in five starts after dominating for most of the season’s first four months. Scherzer allowed two runs on six hits with four strikeouts over seven

Joe Ross suffers shortest outing of his career in 8-5 loss

ST. LOUIS - For the past few weeks, the question has lingered of how many innings rookie Joe Ross has left this season. On Tuesday night, that issue didn’t even get pressed as Ross departed after 2 2/3 innings, battling major command concerns. “He had problems holding it and feeling it and throwing it over the plate,” manager Matt Williams said. “No issues physically. Just

Nationals dealt devastating blow in walk-off loss

ST. LOUIS - The replay of the walk-off homer he surrendered had stopped playing several minutes before, but Casey Janssen still sat staring blankly at the monitor screen. When the veteran reliever finally made his way to his locker, he stood for the second consecutive night trying to explain how the Nationals let another late lead slip away. “These are two big losses and I

Casey Janssen gives up walk-off homer, Nats lose 8-5

ST. LOUIS - Cardinals rookie left-hander Marco Gonzales’ first start of the season didn’t last too long. Joe Ross and Jayson Werth delivered consecutive singles to start the third. After bunting Gonzales’ first pitch foul, Anthony Rendon roped a double to right-center, scoring Ross and Werth to put the Nationals on the scoreboard. Rendon advanced to third on the play and then scored on Bryce

Nats game blog: Nationals look to ride Ryan Zimmerman’s hot bat

ST. LOUIS - Ryan Zimmerman nearly willed the Nationals to victory last night. The 11-year veteran blasted a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh inning before the Nats bullpen collapsed in the 8-5 loss. Zimmerman has driven in runs in seven of his last eight games, batting .333 (10-for-30) with four homers, two doubles and 15 RBIs over the stretch. Since returning from the disabled

Stephen Strasburg throws, status remains unclear for next start

ST. LOUIS - Stephen Strasburg threw, albeit casually, for the first time since leaving Sunday’s game with upper back tightness. “He played catch,” manager Matt Williams said. “We’ll see how he comes out of that. He didn’t feel anything abnormal today, and so we’ll do a little more of that tomorrow and look to get him to a bullpen (session).” Tanner Roark made his second

Nats reinstate Dan Uggla, call up Pedro Severino and recall Sammy Solis

ST. LOUIS - The Nationals have reinstated second baseman Dan Uggla, selected the contract of catcher Pedro Severino from Double-A Harrisburg and recalled left-hander Sammy Solis from Triple-A Syracuse. To make room for Severino on the 40-man roster, right-hander David Carpenter was put on the 60-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Uggla returns to the Nats after missing 22 games with back spasms. He

Nats looking to get the most out of rookie Joe Ross (with lineups)

ST. LOUIS - As right-hander Joe Ross prepares to make his 12th start of his rookie season in tonight’s game against the Cardinals, the question remains how much longer the Nationals intend to use the 22-year-old. “It’s an interesting scenario because, one, he hasn’t been hurt,” manager Matt Williams explained. “It’s not like he’s had an injury and we’re cautious in that regard.” Combined with

Nats’ playoff hopes fading after dismal August

ST. LOUIS - The Nationals ended a disappointing August in fitting fashion, wasting a comeback three-run homer from Ryan Zimmerman in last night’s 8-5 loss to the Cardinals. Washington began the month holding a two-game lead over the Mets in the National League East. But that margin quickly evaporated as the Nats were swept out of New York on Aug 2. Bolstered by several trade

Bullpen woes lead to crushing 8-5 loss to Cardinals

ST. LOUIS - The road to the playoffs took a gloomy turn for the Nationals in the seventh inning of Monday’s 8-5 loss to the Cardinals. “It’s a tough one,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said three different times after the game. The Nationals entered the frame trailing by a run and knowing they needed to pull off a win to not lose ground to the

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