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Ross finishes strong to secure his latest victory for Nats

PHILADELPHIA - Joe Ross understood the situation. The tying run was on base in a one-run game. The go-ahead run was at the plate. There were two outs in the seventh. His pitch count was about to reach triple digits. Sammy Solis was warming in the Nationals bullpen. “It’s like, if this guy gets on base,” Ross said, “I doubt I’ll get another chance to

Nats hit four homers to support Ross in 5-1 win over Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - With Bryce Harper nursing a sore right knee, the Nationals turned to others in their lineup for tonight’s supply of power. Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy, Danny Espinosa and Stephen Drew all clubbed home runs for the Nationals, who also got a dominant start out of Joe Ross en route to a 5-1 victory over the Phillies. Werth launched his homer in the top

Werth homers again in Philly, leaving fans booing (Nats win 5-1)

PHILADELPHIA - They still boo Jayson Werth every time he steps to the plate here at Citizens Bank Park, even six years since he left the Phillies to sign with the Nationals. And then they boo even louder every time he does something that makes those fans wish their hometown team had made more of an effort to re-sign him when they had the chance.

Harper out tonight with sore knee, could miss rest of series

PHILADELPHIA - His right knee still sore after getting struck by a fastball Monday night, Bryce Harper is out of the Nationals lineup for tonight’s game against the Phillies, and it’s possible the reigning NL MVP will miss the remainder of this series. Harper, who was diagnosed Monday with a contusion, was wearing a sleeve over the knee this afternoon and was still moving gingerly

Game 53 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Let’s get right down to it, because this is what you really want to know: Bryce Harper is not in the Nationals lineup tonight. That’s not a huge surprise after Harper took a fastball off the outside of his right knee in the seventh inning last night, ultimately departing after trying to run the bases. Though he officially was diagnosed with a contusion,

Werth continues recent surge with clutch hit

PHILADELPHIA - Daniel Murphy was the main topic of discussion last night, considering he went 3-for-4 with a homer, drove in the game-winning runs in the Nationals’ 4-3 victory over the Phillies and raised his MLB-leading batting average to .395. But Murphy never would have been in position to win the game if not for an equally important at-bat by Jayson Werth a few minutes

Harper day-to-day after suffering right knee contusion (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - Bryce Harper was forced out of tonight’s game against the Phillies after taking a seventh-inning pitch from Jeremy Hellickson off his right knee, but the Nationals MVP slugger appears to have avoided serious injury and may not have to sit out more than a day or two to recover. “It hurts,” Harper said, limping slightly around the clubhouse following the Nats’ 4-3 victory.

Murphy delivers again for Nats: “He’s carrying our team”

PHILADELPHIA - Daniel Murphy isn’t going to do this the entire season. It’s just not possible in this day and age to do what only a handful have come close to doing in the 75 years since Ted Williams last broke the .400 barrier. But Memorial Day has now come and gone, and Murphy still owns a .395 batting average, so why shouldn’t the Nationals

Nats rally after Harper injury to beat Phillies 4-3

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals lost Bryce Harper to an apparent right knee injury. They refused to also lose another game to the Phillies. Harper’s seventh-inning departure shortly after taking a pitch off the outside of the knee cast a pall over this Memorial Day series opener at Citizens Bank Park. But thanks to a furious rally by his teammates, most notably Jayson Werth and Daniel

Murphy breaks scoreless streak vs. Phillies (Nats win 4-3)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals have had all kinds of trouble producing against the Phillies over the last month. But at least they can count on their most reliable offensive threat to deliver for them, no matter the opponent. Daniel Murphy has provided all of the Nats’ offense so far tonight at Citizens Bank Park, doubling in the top of the second and then homering in

Could this be the road trip that snaps Harper out of slump?

PHILADELPHIA - If ever there was a road trip tailor-made to break Bryce Harper out of his slump, this might well be it. The Nationals open a three-game series tonight at Citizens Bank Park, a hitter’s haven that has been awfully kind to Harper of late. Then they head to Cincinnati, home of the bandbox otherwise known as Great American Ball Park and the worst

Game 52 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Hello from Citizens Bank Park, where tonight the Nationals open a three-city, nine-game road trip with a Memorial Day opener against the Phillies. This, of course, is the same Philly club that shockingly swept the Nats last month in D.C., but it’s not exactly playing like the same club. After winning a bunch of one-run games early in the year, the Phillies have

Ramos parlays video study with daughter into big day at plate

Wilson Ramos was playing with his 20-month-old daughter Saturday night, impressed with her ability to operate an iPad. Somehow, she managed to change the cartoon she was watching into a video clip of a certain Nationals catcher hitting a home run at Wrigley Field earlier this month. “For some reason, she was pointing it out and saying: ‘Daddy! Daddy!’ ” Ramos said through interpreter Octavio

Werth makes most of day off, launches grand slam off bench

Different players approach days off in different ways. Some like to take a full mental and physical break, and just watch the game from the dugout, available only in case of emergency. Others like to take the opportunity to work on something, maybe find what has been missing from their swing that perhaps provoked the day off. Jayson Werth has taken both approaches during his

Harper, Ramos deliver during three-run rally (Nats win 10-2)

The Nationals have nearly been no-hit by Michael Wacha before. They certainly didn’t want to find themselves in that same boat today, so it’s safe to say they breathed a sigh of relief when Michael A. Taylor broke up the right-hander’s shot at history before things started to get too serious. And then it’s safe to say they were downright giddy when Taylor’s double in

Belisle ready but expects to continue rehab at Harrisburg

Matt Belisle believes he’s ready to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Nationals bullpen. The club, however, wants the veteran right-hander to continue his rehab assignment. So after three appearances at high Single-A Potomac, Belisle is now expected to head to Double-A Harrisburg. Belisle, out since April 26 with a strained right calf, pitched two innings last night for Potomac, allowing two runs

Game 51 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

Since the Nationals have lost only three series this season, this isn’t a familiar position for them today, needing to beat the Cardinals to salvage a four-game split and avoid a 2-5 homestand. So there’s a little bit of pressure on them this afternoon after back-to-back losses. The good news: Stephen Strasburg is pitching for the Nats, and he has been fantastic, with eight quality

Murphy sets new club record with 41 hits in a month

It wasn’t the prettiest hit he’s recorded all season, and it probably should have been caught by Cardinals right fielder Stephen Piscotty, but Daniel Murphy won’t complain about the second-inning single last night that gave him a new Nationals club record. That single, which came on a blooper to shallow right field that went in and out of a diving Piscotty’s glove, was Murphy’s 41st

Gonzalez down on himself for inability to give bullpen a break

Pitchers can live with the hits they surrender, even the home runs. What they can’t live with are the walks they issue that drive up their pitch count and prevent them from reaching the game’s latter innings. So when Gio Gonzalez was upset with himself following the Nationals’ 9-4 loss to the Cardinals tonight, it wasn’t so much because of the six runs he surrendered

Cardinals pile up early runs off Gonzalez (Nats lose 9-4)

As he walked off the mound following a dominant top of the first, having struck out all three batters he faced on 15 pitches, Gio Gonzalez had the look of a pitcher primed for a big night. As he walked off the same mound following a disastrous top of the second, having allowed four runs on 40 pitches, Gonzalez had the look of a pitcher

Nationals hope Rendon stays red-hot after rare day off

Dusty Baker likes to plan days off for his regulars well in advance, giving them plenty of time to prepare. So there was nothing unusual about Baker’s conversation with Anthony Rendon at the start of the week, during which the Nationals manager told his third baseman he’d be getting Saturday night off. “I told him Monday or Tuesday. I told him he’d be off Saturday,”

Game 50 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

It’s a hot, muggy Saturday here in the District, as sure a sign as we’ve experienced yet that summer has arrived. Which, the Nationals can only hope, means the ball is going to fly out of the park tonight. Dusty Baker has insisted all along he thinks he’s got a warm-weather lineup. We saw it earlier in the week when the Nats hit five homers

Baker, Scherzer take exception with ump’s late timeout calls

Max Scherzer likes to try to disrupt the timing of opposing batters and baserunners. He’s perfectly content to hold the ball in the set position for three, four, even five seconds, hoping to catch somebody napping. Because of that, Scherzer has become quite accustomed to the opposition calling for time, stepping out of the box and hitting the reset button. And he takes no issue

Walks, grand slam define Scherzer’s latest confounding start

Max Scherzer’s postgame media sessions so far this season can easily be separated into two groups. He’s either asked: 1) What allowed him to be so dominant on that particular night, or 2) Why does he continue to give up significant home runs at the worst possible time? There has been precious little middle ground with Scherzer through the first two months of 2016. Sometimes

Scherzer in trouble after walks, grand slam (Nats lose 6-2)

Home runs have been Max Scherzer’s biggest bugaboo since late last summer. Walks? Not so much. But add a bunch of free passes to yet another bomb surrendered by Scherzer, and the Nationals ace really finds himself in trouble. The Cardinals pounced on Scherzer during a five-run top of the third tonight, the big blast coming via Stephen Piscotty’s first career grand slam, taking control

With regular reps, Werth finally becoming comfortable in left field

It was a really nice play. Not a spectacular one that ends up on endless highlight-reel shows. Just a really nice play that leaves fans applauding. Jayson Werth’s catch last night of Stephen Piscotty’s second-inning sinking liner to left-center, requiring a lot of ground covered and then a slide to complete the maneuver, was the best defensive play of the Nationals’ 2-1 victory over the

Game 49 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

You wouldn’t necessarily think it, given the number of potent left-handed bats in their regular lineup, but the Nationals actually are more productive when facing left-handed pitchers than right-handed ones this season. They enter play tonight with an .812 team OPS against lefties, fifth-best in baseball. It helps that the Nationals’ two best lefty hitters (Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy) fare quite well against southpaws.

Papelbon impresses after long layoff, Rivero impresses in big spot

Jonathan Papelbon hadn’t emerged out of the bullpen gate, Ric Flair’s voice booming over the PA system, in a long time. It had been six days, in fact, since Papelbon last appeared in a game, 12 days since he had done it at Nationals Park. And now here the veteran closer was, asked to protect a 2-1 lead against the heart of the Cardinals lineup,

Harper, Espinosa snap out of funks with towering homers

When Bryce Harper stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning tonight for his third at-bat of the game, something was noticeably missing: His batting gloves. Harper occasionally decides to hit without them, so the sight of the struggling Nationals slugger gripping the bat with his bare hands perhaps left many thinking he purposely was trying to shake things up, trying to

Rookie’s homer off Ross gives Cards early lead (Nats win 2-1)

Joe Ross has pitched effectively so far against the Cardinals, just as he did when he faced this same team four weeks ago. Mike Leake also has pitched effectively so far against the Nationals, unlike he did the last time he saw this lineup. Aledmys Diaz’s leadoff homer in the top of the fourth gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead, the lone run to cross

Dusty Baker encouraged by Nats’ handling of losses

He has seen his team get off to a rousing start, taking advantage of some weak April competition. And he has seen his team battle its way through a much tougher May, with nearly every opponent presenting a significant challenge. The end result of all that for Dusty Baker’s Nationals? A 28-19 record entering tonight’s series opener against the Cardinals and a 1/2-game lead over

Game 48 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

It was four weeks ago when the Nationals embarked on what looked like one of the toughest road trips they’ve ever faced, the first leg of a prolonged stretch of games against mostly tough competition. That trip began in St. Louis, previously a house of horrors for this team. But the Nats flipped the script, sweeping the Cardinals for the first time in their history

More from last night’s win over the Mets

Last night’s game looked awfully familiar for the Nationals. Stephen Strasburg dominated. Matt Harvey did not. The end result was a lopsided victory, something we saw only five days earlier when the same two pitchers matched up in New York. Here are some other notable things that happened that perhaps didn’t draw the big headlines... * The Nationals bullpen delivered big again in a big

Nats take down Harvey again with five-homer barrage

The bottom of the fourth had arrived at Nationals Park, the home team was trailing 1-0 and the cheers from the sizeable pockets of Mets fans was far more noticeable than anything that could be heard from those dressed in red. And yet ... It was the first truly warm evening of the season on South Capitol Street (first pitch temperature: 83 degrees), the Nationals

Home run barrage follows early zeros (Nats win 7-4)

Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg spent the first three innings of tonight’s rematch trying to one-up each other, posting dueling zeros on the scoreboard to the delight of many in the crowd and the disgust of others in what has turned into a bipartisan ballpark. But then came the fourth inning, which featured three solo homers: one from the Mets’ Asdrubal Cabrera, then back-to-back shots

Baker understands Harper’s extra work to break out of slump

Dusty Baker knows what it’s like to endure a slump and knows the tricks for trying to snap out of a prolonged slide at the plate. So the Nationals manager knows what must be going through Bryce Harper’s mind right now, and he understands what the struggling right fielder is trying to do to get himself back on track. When Harper went to the cage

Game 46 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

As we saw last night, just because two starting pitchers are facing each other for the second time in six days, there’s no guarantee the result will stay the same. And yet, the Nationals will be hoping for just that tonight when Stephen Strasburg faces Matt Harvey in a rematch of Thursday night’s 9-1 victory for the Nats at Citi Field. They will hope Strasburg

Tuesday morning Q&A from D.C.

Sorry for the lack of the supposedly weekly Q&A last week. Because I didn’t travel to Miami, there wasn’t an opportunity to squeeze the feature in during the series in New York. But never fear, because we’re bumping this up to Tuesday this week, and we’re ready to answer all your questions on the Nationals. Ask about last week’s Mets series. Ask about this week’s

Nats can’t make adjustments in flip-flopped loss to Mets

Baseball, you probably have heard, is a game of constant adjustments. This is especially true on those more-frequent-than-you-think occasions when a starting pitcher faces the same opponent twice in a row. So when Gio Gonzalez faced the Mets tonight for the second time in five days, with Bartolo Colon facing the Nationals also for the second time in five days, the challenge for each side

Colon bests Gonzalez 7-1 in reversal of last week’s matchup

The prospect of a rainout couldn’t have been particularly appealing to the Nationals, who only five days after winning a lopsided matchup between Gio Gonzalez and Bartolo Colon had to be licking their chops at tonight’s scheduled rematch. But after waiting out a 1-hour, 7-minute delay to start their series opener against the Mets, the Nationals found themselves on the wrong end of a lopsided

Series opener delayed by rain (Nats lose 7-1)

Rain had been in the forecast all day, and sure enough it came as expected, delaying the start of the Nationals’ series opener against the Mets. For now, the Nats say they plan to begin at 8:10 p.m., hoping the skies clear enough and soon enough to get the full game in as scheduled and avoid a makeup date down the road at some point.

Why Dusty Baker doesn’t believe in personal catchers

Dusty Baker isn’t a big believer in the concept of personal catchers, but when he took the job as Nationals manager over the winter, he inherited the Gio Gonzalez-Jose Lobaton pairing. Gonzalez and Lobaton never formally were named as permanent batterymates, but the two had worked together in 19 of the left-hander’s final 23 starts in 2015 and enjoyed success. So Baker kept them together

Game 45 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

OK, let’s get the answer to your most important question out of the way: I don’t know. The question: Are they going to be able to play tonight? You know as much as I know. And if you don’t, just click on any weather forecast and look at the Doppler map. It’s probably going to rain, pretty hard, at some point late this afternoon/early this

More on last night’s blowout victory in New York

NEW YORK - While the focus of last night’s game was squarely on the Stephen Strasburg-Matt Harvey pitching matchup, there was plenty else notable about the Nationals’ 9-1 victory over the Mets. Before they get to Miami and open this weekend’s series with the Marlins (and before my colleague Byron Kerr takes the reins of the blog for the second leg of the road trip),

Nats praise dominant Strasburg, defend struggling Harvey

NEW YORK - The comparisons are inevitable and likely will follow both Stephen Strasburg and Matt Harvey through the ends of their respective careers. Both are hard-throwing right-handers who burst onto the scene as rookies, only to suffer torn elbow ligaments that required Tommy John surgery and a long road to recovery. That, of course, is where Strasburg and Harvey’s paths moved in alternate directions.

Strasburg cruises while Nats pummel Harvey in 9-1 victory

NEW YORK - Slump? What slump? Who said the Nationals couldn’t score runs in bunches? All they needed was to face Bartolo Colon and Matt Harvey on consecutive nights. With a swift and emphatic flurry of hard-hit balls off the once-feared, suddenly-ineffective Harvey, the Nationals cruised to a 9-1 victory over the Mets tonight, following up last’s lopsided win with another one to capture the

Lineup knocks out Harvey in third inning (Nats win 9-1)

NEW YORK - Who would have guessed the cure for what ailed the Nationals lineup was ... Matt Harvey? These are strange times indeed, because the Nationals just got really healthy facing a remarkably ineffective Harvey, pounding the one-time Mets ace for nine runs in only 2 2/3 innings to open up a commanding 9-1 lead in tonight’s series finale. Daniel Murphy’s two-run homer in

Bryce Harper’s unusual slump: Few hits, tons of walks

NEW YORK - Bryce Harper doesn’t do most things like most other ballplayers. So it should come as no surprise that even Harper’s slumps aren’t like most slumps. Harper legitimately is slumping at the plate. Since April 27 (a span of 20 games), he’s batting just .167, which ranks 190th out of 195 qualifying major league hitters. Now, the catch: In that same timeframe, Harper’s

Game 41 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

NEW YORK - It’s rare you get two legitimate marquee pitching matchups in the same series, but the Nationals and Mets are the rare teams with the rotation depth to be able to pull that off. And so two days after Max Scherzer and Noah Syndergaard dueled, Stephen Strasburg and Matt Harvey will attempt to the same in tonight’s series finale at Citi Field. Strasburg,

After lineup switch, Werth turns into table-setter again

NEW YORK - The last time he reached base five times in a game, Jayson Werth was serving as the Nationals’ leadoff man. It was Sept. 2012, and manager Davey Johnson’s unconventional move to put Werth atop his lineup was paying significant dividends. Werth actually reached base five times on two separate occasions in the span of two weeks that fall, becoming an unlikely but

Patience, contact help Nationals lineup break through vs. Mets

NEW YORK - Gio Gonzalez has been a constant for the Nationals through the first quarter of the season, a welcome development from a pitcher who in the past befuddled with his inconsistency. Consistency at the plate has not been a hallmark for the Nats so far in 2016, and that has been a source of frustration. But when the lineup clicks on the same

Nats scratch out runs, Gonzalez effective again in 7-1 win

NEW YORK - There was no offensive outburst from a lineup that has sorely needed of one of those. But there were a whole lot of quality plate appearances, plenty of patience when necessary and a couple of clutch hits at opportune moments. Combine that with another strong pitching performance by Gio Gonzalez, and the Nationals did just enough things right tonight to beat the

Gonzalez sharp, efficient early vs. Mets (Nats win 7-1)

NEW YORK - Gio Gonzalez has been sharp early. And his Nationals teammates have scrapped their way to one early run off Bartolo Colon, thanks to a great at-bat by one of the veteran right-hander’s former teammates. Gonzalez has posted three zeroes so far against the Mets, his only baserunner coming via a walk. The left-hander, who entered with a 1.93 ERA in seven starts,

Nats pleased, but not satisfied at the quarter point of season

NEW YORK - The Nationals play game No. 40 tonight, a traditional milepost that represents the one-quarter point of the season and is viewed by some around the sport as the point in which you have a pretty clear idea whether a team is good or not. The Nationals reach this juncture in first place in the NL East, though only by percentage points over

Game 40 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - It’s a new day at Citi Field, where the sun has come out and the Nationals hope their bats break out tonight against Bartolo Colon and the Mets. It’s been a rough couple days for the Nats lineup, which over the last two games has scored a total of two runs while striking out 28 times. Of course, when the opposing pitchers

For slumping Nats, offensive salvation must come from within

NEW YORK - As the at-bats continue to be squandered and runners continue to be left on base, it becomes more and more appropriate to question what the Nationals can do to try to inject some life into a lineup that too often early this season has been anemic. Dusty Baker has tried to tweak his batting order. He swapped Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman.

Lack of execution, at plate and on mound, produces tough loss

NEW YORK - There are three conventional ways to score runs in baseball. You can string together several hits in an inning. You can try to manufacture with small ball. Or you can hit the ball out of the park. The Nationals proved adept at none of the three tonight. The Mets proved adept only at the latter. And that was this game in a

Syndergaard outduels Scherzer, Mets take series opener 2-0

NEW YORK - Max Scherzer was good. Not 20-strikeout good. But more than good enough to win most nights. Just not on nights when Noah Syndergaard is this good. Syndergaard tossed seven scoreless innings, striking out 10 without issuing any walks and outdueling Scherzer, whose two solo homers allowed proved the difference in the Nationals’ 2-0 loss to the Mets in the first matchup of

Early homers plague Scherzer again (Nats lose 2-0)

NEW YORK - Max Scherzer is striking out opposing hitters again. Unfortunately, he’s also giving up home runs again. Scherzer’s return to the mound following his historic 20-strikeout performance last week has looked awfully familiar so far. Through three innings, he has struck out four, but Curtis Granderson’s leadoff homer in the first and Michael Conforto’s solo homer in the third have left the right-hander

Murphy on returning to Citi Field, Baker on lineup change

NEW YORK - Daniel Murphy strolled into the visitors clubhouse at Citi Field today for only the second time ever - he made a cameo appearance there a couple years ago for a Mets fantasy football draft - and then he strolled into the nearby interview room to find a throng of New York reporters and photographers eagerly awaiting his return as a member of

Game 39 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - The first game of the season between the Nationals and Mets would be a big deal regardless, but there’s added intrigue tonight because Max Scherzer is taking the mound for the first time since his record 20-strikeout game. That game on Wednesday, as you might expect, took a lot out of Scherzer, who threw 119 total pitches in beating the Tigers. How

Plenty of storylines to first Nats-Mets series of the season

When last the Nationals and Mets faced each other in a game of actual significance, the lasting image was that of Yoenis Cespedes circling the bases while Drew Storen fumed on the mound, the final dagger of a miserable three-day stretch for the Nats having been delivered in the harshest possible manner. That scene pretty much encapsulated the 2015 pennant race between these two teams.

Revere, now hitting .093, tells fans: “Don’t give up on me yet”

It’s not at all uncommon for a player to miss a sizeable chunk of time early in the season due to injury, then struggle at the plate for a prolonged stretch even when healthy at last. Ben Revere, though, is testing the boundaries of that phenomenon right now, and the end result is one awfully frustrating leadoff man. In nine games since returning from a

Nationals turn sloppy in homestand-ending loss to Marlins

There was a routine popup lost in the sun, letting two runs stroll across the plate. There was a clutch, two-run single by the opposing pitcher after the guy in front of him had been intentionally walked. And there were strikeouts, 15 of them in total, 10 of them with runners on base. Suffice it to say, the Nationals didn’t do many things right this

Early runs scoring in bizarre fashion (Nats lose 5-1)

The Sun Monster has claimed its share of victims at Nationals Park over the years, most memorably Bryce Harper (who coined the scary-sounding term after losing a fly ball in the sun during his rookie season in 2012). This afternoon, it reared its ugly head again and found a new victim at a most inopportune moment: Stephen Drew. Drew couldn’t see a routine popup to

Robinson makes 2016 debut in outfield, Murphy out with illness

Two Nationals regulars are out of the lineup for today’s series finale against the Marlins. One was planned, one was a last-minute change. Jayson Werth is sitting out this game, most likely a byproduct of his longstanding struggles against Jose Fernandez. (Werth is 1-for-16 in his career against the Miami ace.) That means Clint Robinson (who is 2-for-3 with a homer vs. Fernandez) gets the

Game 38 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins (Murphy scratched)

What a strange few weeks of weather the Nationals have experienced. It seems like the conditions have alternated just about every day, from warm and muggy to mild and rainy to cold and windy. We’ve got the latter this afternoon for the Nats’ series finale against the Marlins, with temperatures in the 50s and a strong, steady wind blowing from left to right fields. That

Nationals mystified by Marlins’ mastery of Roark

If baseball truly is a game of adjustments, as they like to say, Tanner Roark has some major work staring him in the face before next weekend’s series in Miami. Roark figures to start Friday night’s opener at Marlins Park - unless Nationals manager Dusty Baker decides to bump him up to pitch against the Mets the night before instead of Stephen Strasburg - and

Nats get blown out 7-1 in second game of doubleheader

Doubleheader sweeps are no easy task. Certainly not when they require a Tanner Roark victory over the Marlins. Needing their otherwise effective right-hander to reverse his recent trend against Miami, the Nationals instead watched a familiar storyline play out tonight. They lost the nightcap of a split-doubleheader 7-1, with every run charged to Roark. The Nationals had taken this afternoon’s opener 6-4 behind an effective

Roark still having trouble figuring out Marlins (Nats lose 7-1)

There’s something about the Marlins that turns Tanner Roark from a dominant big league pitcher into just another guy on the mound. Who knows why this is, but facts are facts. And the fact is, the Marlins hit Roark like no other team in baseball. It’s happening again tonight, with Miami plating three early runs off Roark to take a lead over the Nationals in

Nationals pick up Rizzo’s option, keeping him as GM through 2018

The Nationals have picked up the two-year option on Mike Rizzo’s contract, keeping the longtime general manager in D.C. through at least the 2018 season, the club announced this evening. Rizzo was in the final year of a deal he signed in 2013, but the club held a two-year contract option for the 2017-18 seasons that needed to be picked up by June 15. “It

Game 37 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

And we’re back for the nightcap of this day-night doubleheader. Game 1 ended in a downpour, with Jonathan Papelbon striking out Giancarlo Stanton to preserve a 6-4 victory for the Nationals. Game 2 will begin under blue skies, believe it or not, though the temperature has dropped considerably and it’s going to be quite chilly throughout this one. The Nationals will be going for the

Bryce Harper drops appeal, will sit out tonight’s game

Bryce Harper has dropped the appeal of his one-game suspension and will sit out tonight’s game against the Marlins, a decision that allows the reigning league MVP to play in next week’s showdown between the Nationals and Mets at Citi Field. Harper had initially appealed Major League Baseball’s suspension, which was handed down Wednesday in the wake of his ninth-inning ejection two nights earlier, subsequent

Home run barrage from Harper and surprisingly potent bench

For the better part of a week now, Bryce Harper has barely seen anything to hit. Over his last eight games, he has 36 plate appearances - but only 14 official at-bats - as opposing pitchers went out of their way to avoid getting beaten by the current best hitter on the planet. Throughout it all, Harper has showed impressive patience, refusing most of the

Teams continue to play Walk-a-Bryce (Nats win 5-3)

Joe Maddon started the trend last weekend in Chicago. Now the craze is catching on elsewhere. Everybody in baseball wants to play Walk-a-Bryce. The Marlins became the latest team to pitch around Bryce Harper, walking the Nationals star in each of his first two plate appearances, not even making much of an attempt to give him anything to hit. Right-hander Tom Koehler walked Harper on

Notes on tomorrow’s doubleheader, Murphy and Espinosa

Doubleheaders often create a headache for managers and general managers, who typically have to find someone to make a spot start, throwing a rotation out of whack. The Nationals, though, lucked out this weekend. With an off-day Thursday and another Monday, they’re able to stick with their regular rotation and make it through tomorrow’s day-night doubleheader against the Marlins without disrupting much of anything. Stephen

Game 35 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

It’s been a dreary couple of weeks in D.C., but here’s some good news: The skies are supposed to clear later this afternoon and there may even be a bit of sunshine when the Nationals take the field at 7:05 p.m. for the opener of their weekend series with the Marlins. This is a four-games-in-three-days series, with a day-night doubleheader tomorrow to make up the

What’s realistic to expect in the end from .409-hitting Murphy?

It got lost in the shuffle easily Wednesday night amid Max Scherzer’s 20 strikeouts, Jordan Zimmermann’s return to Washington and Bryce Harper’s one-game suspension, but Daniel Murphy’s torrid start to the season hit yet another high-water mark. With a 3-for-4 night in the Nationals’ 3-2 win over the Tigers, Murphy raised his batting average to .409. Yes, that’s .409. A number that is no small

Thursday morning Q&A from D.C.

So, uh ... anything interesting happen so far this week? I mean, think about everything that has happened in just the last four days alone. On Sunday, Bryce Harper tied the all-time record with six walks in a game, while Ryan Zimmerman stranded 14 runners on base. On Monday, the Nationals signed Stephen Strasburg to a $175 million contract extension, then Harper was ejected in

For Max Scherzer, a performance to top them all

Max Scherzer has thrown two no-hitters. He has come within one oh-so-errant pitch of a perfect game. He has won a pennant clincher. He has started a game in the World Series. All significant achievements for any pitcher, but all things that have been achieved by more than a handful of hurlers over the course of baseball history. That’s why tonight meant so much to

Cheers for Zimmermann, K’s for Scherzer (Nats win 3-2)

Nationals fans finally got a chance to give Jordan Zimmermann the standing ovation they wanted to last September. But they’re cheering louder for Max Scherzer each time their new ace strikes out a member of Zimmermann’s Tigers lineup. In a marquee matchup of elite pitchers facing their former teams, Zimmermann and Scherzer have been front-and-center at Nationals Park early on tonight. Fans gave Zimmermann two

Bryce Harper suspended one game, playing tonight after appeal

Bryce Harper has been suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball for his actions following his ninth-inning ejection Monday night, but the reigning National League MVP is appealing the decision and remains eligible to play for the Nationals tonight against former teammate Jordan Zimmermann. Harper was suspended by Joe Garagiola Jr., MLB’s senior vice president of standards and on-field operations,

Game 34 lineups: Nats vs. Tigers

Every franchise experiences certain rites of passage throughout the course of its existence, and tonight the Nationals will experience a new one: The return of a star player now wearing an opposing uniform. Jordan Zimmermann makes his first-ever start at Nationals Park as a member of the Tigers, taking the mound for tonight’s series finale. When he does, he’ll become easily the best former National

Nationals lament missed late scoring opportunities

Though the Nationals were upset about the application (or, more specifically non-application) of Major League Baseball’s new slide rule during last night’s 5-4 loss to the Tigers, they admitted it would’ve been moot had they managed to take advantage of either of their golden opportunities to tie (or even win) the game in both the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings. “I would preface

Confusion over new slide rule plays role in Nats’ 5-4 loss

At first glance, there wasn’t much to the play in question. With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the sixth tonight, Detroit’s Andrew Romine grounded to second baseman Daniel Murphy. It wasn’t an especially hard-hit grounder, and there was little reason to think in that moment the Nationals had any chance of turning an inning-ending double play. Which they didn’t. Murphy

Ross gives up rare homer off slider (Nats lose 5-4)

Joe Ross has stared down plenty of challenges already this season, his first full campaign in the major leagues, and has emerged on top the majority of the time. Tonight’s challenge, though, ranks among the toughest he’s faced to date: A Tigers lineup loaded with talent and experience. Ross held his own early on in the second game of this interleague series, but then he

Strasburg on surprise extension: “The timing just felt right”

In the end, it was about comfort. Stephen Strasburg’s comfort in Washington. The Nationals’ comfort in giving the right-hander a $175 million contract extension that also gives him the right to opt out after only three or four years. And Scott Boras’ comfort in doing what his client wanted, even if it potentially meant leaving more money on the table as a free agent this

Game 33 lineups: Nats vs. Tigers

Oh yeah, there’s a game tonight. It’s been an eventful day, what with the Stephen Strasburg contract extension and the aftermath of Bryce Harper’s ejection last night. But the Nationals and Tigers will be back at it this evening for the second of their three-game interleague series. Joe Ross gets the ball for the Nats, coming off a strong outing in Chicago against a very

Strasburg deal is official

The Nationals officially announced their seven-year contract extension with Stephen Strasburg and plan to hold a 2:15 p.m. news conference to discuss their new deal with the right-hander. Strasburg and the club came to terms on the contract, which a source familiar with the deal confirmed is worth $175 million, last night. The 27-year-old then started the Nats’ interleague series opener against the Tigers, giving

With Strasburg deal, Nats finally show they can re-sign best players

The question would come up every now and again over the years, becoming more frequent the last few months as the potential finish line drew closer: Is there any chance the Nationals will re-sign Stephen Strasburg? And the answer, always, was a simple: Not likely. There were plenty of legitimate reasons to draw that conclusion. Strasburg seemed like a guy who wanted to return to

What to make of the Nationals’ roller-coaster 5-5 road trip?

CHICAGO - Had they been told at the outset, before they embarked on a 10-day road trip to face three imposing clubs, that they’d wind up with a 5-5 record, most everybody associated with the Nationals probably would have been content with it. On the heels of a disappointing series sweep against the Phillies, and with the Cardinals, Royals and Cubs on the docket, the

Nats know they must start making teams pay for walking Harper

CHICAGO - They walked him. Then they walked him again. Then they intentionally walked him. Then they hit him with a pitch before walking him the next time up. Which set up another intentional walk, this time with runners on first and second base and two out in a tie game in extra innings. Which set up yet another intentional walk, also with runners on

Nats take out Arrieta, but Cubs sweep series with 13-inning win

CHICAGO - The Nationals threw everything they had, up to and possibly including the kitchen sink, in an attempt to do what no team in baseball has been able to do since last summer and actually beat Jake Arrieta. That still wasn’t enough to pull off the implausible, though, certainly not when an overworked bullpen couldn’t hold a late lead and a lineup that had

Harper walking up a storm at Wrigley (Nats lose 4-3 in 13)

CHICAGO - The Cubs pitching staff has wanted no part of Bryce Harper this weekend, a strategy that worked for three days but hasn’t paid off so far this afternoon. Midway through the final game of this four-game series at Wrigley Field, the Cubs have walked Harper 10 times in 15 plate appearances. He has only four official at-bats, with one hit. Chicago beat the

Pregame news and notes from Wrigley Field

CHICAGO - It’s tough to conjure up a tougher challenge for the Nationals than the one they face today, needing to beat Jake Arrieta to avoid a four-game sweep at Wrigley Field. But they seem to be embracing this matchup against the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, with the reigning NL MVP leading the charge. “Love that challenge,” Bryce Harper said. “Being able to

Game 31 lineups: Nats at Cubs

CHICAGO - Though they’ve lost three straight and are in danger of getting swept out of Wrigley Field, in a strange way the Nationals are actually encouraged by the way they’ve played here against the Cubs. No, they haven’t played perfect baseball, but they’ve played good baseball against a team that pretty much has been perfect through the season’s first five weeks. “It’s good that

What happened on Gio Gonzalez’s botched safety squeeze?

CHICAGO - There were several key moments during yesterday’s 8-5 loss that could only leave the Nationals shrugging their shoulders in disbelief, plays simply just out of their reach and plays that just underscored how good (and perhaps fortunate) the Cubs have been during their record 23-6 start to the season. There was, however, one very significant play that was entirely the Nationals’ fault, one

Nationals lament close plays they didn’t make in latest loss

CHICAGO - There was the slicing soft liner by Ryan Kalish that just barely got past a lunging Danny Espinosa and brought home two runs to give the Cubs a temporary lead over the Nationals in the bottom of the sixth. Then there was the double down the left field line by Anthony Rizzo that narrowly landed in fair territory and then bounced into the

Imperfect Nationals fall 8-5 to Cubs, in danger of series sweep

CHICAGO - To beat the Cubs right now, you have to play perfect baseball. The Nationals played very good baseball this afternoon, but they were far from perfect. And so they remain winless against baseball’s best team so far in 2016. The Cubs battled their way to score three times in the sixth and then twice more in the seventh, taking advantage of some near-misses

Runs not at a premium on cold, windy day at Wrigley (Nats lose 8-5)

CHICAGO - On a cold, windy afternoon at Wrigley Field, where the ball isn’t likely to leave the yard with nearly as much ease as it did yesterday, the Nationals and Cubs knew they’d have to manufacture their offense. The Nats did just that in the top of the third, using both a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly to take a 1-0 lead. Moments

Sick Murphy out of lineup; Rendon also ill but playing

CHICAGO - Dusty Baker likes to give his starters regular days off, and he likes to give them plenty of advance notice before doing it. So when today’s Nationals lineup was posted and didn’t include Daniel Murphy, the immediate assumption was that Baker planned to give his second baseman this game off all along, .406 batting average, 4-for-4 performance on Friday and career numbers versus

Game 30 lineups: Nats at Cubs

CHICAGO - They say here in Chicago: If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes. And boy has that been true so far this weekend. It was 47 degrees and cloudy on Thursday night. Then it was 73 degrees with a warm breeze blowing out of Wrigley Field yesterday. Now it’s back down in the 50s with a really strong wind blowing in from

Another four-hit day leaves Murphy hitting .406 for the season

CHICAGO - Perhaps back in the day, before they added the two giant video boards behind the famed bleachers at Wrigley Field, Daniel Murphy could have rested easy, knowing there was no chance of looking up while he stood at the plate here and seeing the numbers “.406” right next to his name. After last year’s ballpark renovations, though, it’s pretty hard not to see

Scherzer tries to explain yet another home run barrage

CHICAGO - Max Scherzer has blamed his struggles on mechanics. He’s blamed them on execution of pitches. And now he’s blaming them on his inability to outthink the talented Cubs hitters that dug in against him this afternoon and blasted his pitches out of Wrigley Field. “I felt like I was predictable, and they were just able to kind of key on that,” Scherzer said

Blistering-hot Cubs thump Nationals again 8-6

CHICAGO - The Nationals knew the final leg of their 10-game road trip through the Midwest was going to be the toughest, but they might not have known just how tough. The blistering-hot Cubs have taken down every opponent they’ve faced so far in 2016, and now they’re adding the Nats to their checklist of conquests. Today’s 8-6 thumping at Wrigley Field was merely the

Ball flying out of Wrigley (Nats lose 8-6)

CHICAGO - There is no ballpark in America for which changes in weather have a more dramatic effect on the game than Wrigley Field. On cold nights when the wind blows in off Lake Michigan, the Friendly Confines seemingly expand into national park dimensions. But when the temperature heats up and the wind blows out, this becomes a home run hitter’s haven. So when John

Revere ready to go “all-out” in return, while Taylor returns to bench

CHICAGO - Ben Revere awoke this morning to a text from his agent, Barry Meister, that contained a simple-yet-significant message: “Second opening day of the season!” Suffice it to say, Revere is just a bit fired up to be back in the Nationals lineup after straining his right oblique muscle on his very first swing of the season. “I’m real happy,” he said. “It was

Revere activated off DL, den Dekker optioned to Syracuse

CHICAGO - The Nationals have activated Ben Revere off the disabled list and will have their leadoff man and center fielder available to them this afternoon for the first time since opening day. Needing to clear a spot for Revere on the active roster, the Nats optioned Matt den Dekker to Triple-A Syracuse, a decision manager Dusty Baker admitted earlier this week would be particularly

Game 29 lineups: Nats at Cubs

CHICAGO - After a chilly night with the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field, it’s suddenly a beautiful, warm day with the wind blowing out today. Chicago weather, folks, gotta love it. Or hate it. The Nationals and Cubs play the second of their four-game series this afternoon, the Nats looking to bounce back from a fairly nondescript 5-2 loss in last night’s opener. The

Rare defensive miscues cost Nats in loss to Cubs

CHICAGO - They had been a stellar defensive team throughout the season’s first month, entering play last night with fewer errors than any other club in the National League. Which only made the Nationals’ defensive miscues during their 5-2 loss to the Cubs all the more striking. From a purely official standpoint, the Nats were not charged with any errors. They still lead the NL

Taylor’s struggles get magnified during key strikeout

CHICAGO - The Nationals didn’t want to make Michael A. Taylor bat leadoff on a daily basis, and with Ben Revere about to return from the disabled list, they probably won’t need to ask Taylor to do it much more. But no matter where he bats in the Nats lineup, no matter how many or how few opportunities he gets moving forward, Taylor has to

Ross effective vs. Cubs, but Nats lose 5-2

CHICAGO - The opener of a marquee series between the National League’s top two teams featured plenty of big names, plenty of dominant pitching performances and some highlight-reel defense. What it didn’t include was very much offense. The Cubs managed to pull off a 5-2 victory over the Nationals thanks to Ben Zobrist’s two-run single to right in the bottom of the fourth and two-run

Cubs strike first in opener of marquee series (Nats lose 5-2)

CHICAGO - Joe Ross showed no fear in staring down the Cubs lineup in his first career start at Wrigley Field. But you can’t hold these guys down forever, and Chicago’s big bats got to Ross in the fourth inning tonight to take a 2-0 lead on the Nationals. Ben Zobrist’s single to right brought home the first two runs of this highly anticipated series

Revere looks ready, but Nats will wait til Friday to activate him

CHICAGO - Ben Revere joined the Nationals at Wrigley Field today, put on his uniform and participated fully in all pregame drills before the opener of a big, four-game series against the Cubs. But he didn’t suit up for the game itself and remains on the disabled list for another day, a decision the club made to remain cautious with their returning leadoff man and

Game 28 lineups: Nats at Cubs

CHICAGO - Good afternoon from the one and only Friendly Confines here at the corner of Clark and Addison on the North Side. There truly is no place in baseball (or really all of sports) like Wrigley Field, and this weekend there’s no better place to be, with the top two teams in the sport going head-to-head for a four-game series that is being built

Nationals shut out by Cubs, 5-2, in opener of key series

CHICAGO - The opener of a marquee series between the National League’s top two teams featured plenty of big names, plenty of dominant pitching performances and some highlight-reel defense. What it didn’t include was very much offense by the visitors. The Cubs managed to pull off a 5-2 victory over the Nationals thanks to a pair of big hits by Ben Zobrist: His two-run single

Thursday morning Q&A from Chicago

CHICAGO - This has turned into quite some road trip, hasn’t it? First the Nationals swept the Cardinals in St. Louis, despite Bryce Harper going 0-for-11. Then they nearly swept the Royals in Kansas City, missing out on that only by one Jonathan Papelbon blown save. Now the toughest road trip of the season reaches its final (and toughest) leg. The Nats will face the

After 13-run explosion, Nationals lineup rounding into form

KANSAS CITY - Nobody would suggest the Nationals lineup has functioned as one complete, perfectly in-sync unit at any point yet in this young season. At least one key hitter has been mired in a slump on any given day. And leadoff man Ben Revere has been out since his first at-bat of the season, only now on the verge of rejoining the team from

Nationals throttle Royals 13-2 to capture another road series

KANSAS CITY - They marched into St. Louis and swept the Cardinals. Now they’ve marched into Kansas City and taken two of three from the Royals, coming within a blown save of another sweep of the defending World Series champs. Wasn’t this supposed to be the most daunting road trip the Nationals had ever faced? Not to this point. With a 13-2 drubbing of the

Latest first-inning explosion plates six runs (Nats win 13-2)

KANSAS CITY - If anyone was worried the Nationals might suffer from a hangover in the wake of last night’s gut-punch loss to the Royals, they wasted no time alleviating those fears this afternoon. Six-run first innings have a way of easing the pain. And then four more runs in the third finish the job. The Nats burst out of the gate in today’s series

Ben Revere finishes rehab, will join Nationals in Chicago

KANSAS CITY - The Nationals are getting their leadoff man back at last. Now they hope he helps complete a lineup that has sorely missed him for the last month. Ben Revere has completed his rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse and will meet the Nationals in Chicago tonight, manager Dusty Baker said. The club won’t decide for sure when to activate the center fielder off

Game 27 lineups: Nats at Royals

KANSAS CITY - Hello one last time from Kauffman Stadium, where the Nationals will try to bounce back from their gut-punch of a loss last night, win today’s matinee against the Royals and thus take the interleague series. The clubhouse mood was really low after last night’s 7-6 loss, as low as it has been at any point so far in this young season. Obviously

Harper’s slump continues, now 1 for his last 23

KANSAS CITY - Let’s get this out of the way, because it needs to be said right off the bat: Bryce Harper is going to start hitting again, and most likely sometime soon. He’s going to start hitting like the menace to opposing pitchers he has been for the vast majority of the last two seasons. That said, he sure isn’t hitting like that guy

Blown save exposes Jonathan Papelbon’s biggest red flag

KANSAS CITY - Because he had been quite effective at his job, successfully recording saves in nine of his first 10 opportunities this season, the Nationals had been able to overlook the other red flags attached to Jonathan Papelbon’s name. But on nights when Papelbon isn’t effective - and he certainly wasn’t tonight in blowing a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth and

Royals rally to beat Papelbon in ninth, end Nats winning streak

KANSAS CITY - They did everything right yet again, getting power and clutch hits from their lineup, a quality start from their hurler and effective work from their setup men. But when Jonathan Papelbon couldn’t seal the deal in the bottom of the ninth, the Nationals saw their perfect road trip come to an ignominious end. Papelbon blew a two-run lead, giving up four singles

Early power can’t offset Royals rally vs. Roark (Nats lose 7-6)

KANSAS CITY - The Nationals scored in the top of the first inning, keeping with their usual theme. But then their starting pitcher gave it right back (and then some) shortly after, completely bucking recent trends. Despite homers from Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy, the Nats find themselves trailing 3-2 after four innings at Kauffman Stadium after the Royals strung together a three-run rally against

Updates on Rendon, Zimmerman, Arroyo and Revere

KANSAS CITY - Any discussion of how the Nationals can improve their offensive production almost certainly starts with two struggling lineup members who have track records of success: Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman. The two infielders have lagged behind others through the season’s first month, combining for just one home run and nine RBIs (eight of them via Zimmerman). There are signs of encouragement, though.

Game 26 lineups: Nats at Royals

KANSAS CITY - Road interleague games present teams with the DH dilemma: Who to use, whether to pull a guy off the bench or whether to give one of your regulars a semi day-off by not playing the field. Last night, Dusty Baker went with a bench guy, Stephen Drew. Tonight, he’ll go with a regular, Jayson Werth. (The tentative plan for tomorrow is to

Nats getting contributions from entire bullpen

KANSAS CITY - With his team holding onto a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning last night against a Royals lineup that won last year’s World Series thanks in large part to its ability to string together big rallies late in games, Nationals manager Dusty Baker could have gone the paint-by-numbers approach with the back end of his bullpen. Felipe Rivero in the seventh. Blake

Calm, poised Gonzalez turning into “a different guy on the mound”

KANSAS CITY - There were moments during tonight’s game that looked all too familiar to Gio Gonzalez, moments when the left-hander could have been on the brink of disaster and too often in the past succumbed to the pressure. A 28-pitch first inning that featured tough at-bat after tough at-bat from the Royals. A two-on, two-out jam in the third with the heart of the

Gonzalez runs Nats’ winning streak to four games

KANSAS CITY - They marched into St. Louis and won three straight, pulling off their first sweep at Busch Stadium. Now they’ve marched into Kansas City and taken the opener of their interleague series against the defending World Series champs. Behind another highly effective pitching performance from Gio Gonzalez and another early offensive explosion, the Nationals took a quick 2-0 lead on the Royals and

First-inning offense continues, even without Harper (Nats win 2-0)

KANSAS CITY - The Nationals continue to do damage in the first inning, even if Bryce Harper isn’t contributing to it. With Harper mired in a sudden slump, the Nats have had to turn to others for offense. They delivered all weekend during a three-game sweep in St. Louis, and they delivered again in the top of the first tonight in their interleague series opener

After shaky debut, Kelley quietly dominant out of Nats bullpen

KANSAS CITY - The Nationals gave Shawn Kelley a three-year, $15 million contract over the winter because they believed he was a guy they could trust to pitch in big spots late in ballgames. And they couldn’t have found a much bigger spot to throw Kelley into for his first assignment this season: a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the bottom of the eighth inning of

Game 25 lineups: Nats at Royals

KANSAS CITY - Hello from beautiful Kauffman Stadium, maybe baseball’s most underrated ballpark. This is only the Nationals’ second trip here; they took two of three in 2013, but this is a far different Royals team they’re facing now than they did back then. The defending World Series champs are off to a bit of a ragged start, but they remain an imposing foe, making

Bryce Harper wins NL Player of the Month Award

KANSAS CITY - Bryce Harper was named National League Player of the Month for April this afternoon, further confirmation of the reigning league MVP’s torrid start to the 2016 season. Harper hit .286 with nine homers, 24 RBIs, five stolen bases and a 1.120 OPS in 23 game for the month, which the 23-year-old actually ended in a 1-for-13 slump. He was hitting .328 with

Ramos remembers his grandfather, ready to return to baseball

ST. LOUIS - Wilson Ramos ambled onto the field at Busch Stadium yesterday morning, his Nationals teammates having already been out there for a little while taking batting practice, and began the process of returning to his professional life after a five-day break to take care of his personal life. Ramos, who had gone home to Venezuela following the death of his grandfather, admittedly was

Nationals rediscover their swagger during St. Louis sweep

ST. LOUIS - That the Nationals just swept the Cardinals at Busch Stadium for the first time ever was notable enough. That they did it despite Bryce Harper going hitless in all three games this weekend was downright scary. Scary for future competition. “That tells me that somebody’s in trouble,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Somebody’s in trouble because Bryce ain’t going hitless for too long

Nats cap off historic sweep of Cardinals with 6-1 win

ST. LOUIS - With a big-time bounceback performance from Max Scherzer and back-to-back homers from a couple of previously slumping hitters, the Nationals beat the Cardinals yet again this afternoon, pulling off their first-ever series sweep in St. Louis. The Nationals’ 6-1 victory at Busch Stadium, on the heels of 5-4 and 6-1 triumphs, capped off an impressive weekend and kicked off a daunting road

Scherzer, Martinez dealing and dueling (Nats win 6-1)

ST. LOUIS - Max Scherzer looks like his old self so far today. And that must be bringing some semblance of relief to any Nationals fan who might have started worrying about their previously struggling ace. Scherzer mowed through the Cardinals lineup in his first crack this afternoon, striking out four and displaying much better command than he did in his last two troublesome starts.

Ramos returns from bereavement leave, Severino optioned

ST. LOUIS - Wilson Ramos rejoined the Nationals this morning and was activated off the bereavement list, making the veteran catcher eligible to play in today’s series finale against the Cardinals. Ramos had been away from the team five days following the death of his grandfather, Jesus Campos, missing the Nats’ entire series against the Phillies and then this weekend’s first two games in St.

Game 24 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

ST. LOUIS - In their 11-plus seasons of existence, the Nationals have never found themselves in this particular situation: a chance to sweep a series in St. Louis. Shoot, they had only taken two of three once before at either version of Busch Stadium, back in 2007 when Manny Acta’s club pulled it off. Today, though, the Nats are in position to do it. They

After best April in club history, what does May have in store for Nats?

ST. LOUIS - The calendar has shifted at last, the baseball season has entered its second month and the Nationals (unlike a year ago) are thrilled to have no reason to be shouting “Mayday!” right now. April could not have gone much better for the Nats, who at 16-7 are off to the best start in club history and the best start by any Washington

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