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A record-shattering performance to cap a remarkable month

There are so many numbers to put out there right now, so many records matched or broken the Nationals had to include an entire section of them in their postgame notes following today’s 23-5 demolition of the Mets. Here, though, is perhaps the most important number to take away from an awe-inspiring afternoon on South Capitol Street: 77. That’s the number of runs the Nationals

Rendon leads record-setting explosion in Nats’ 23-5 victory

As much as they know they’ll miss Adam Eaton the rest of this long season, the Nationals also know they’re blessed to have one of baseball’s deepest lineups, one capable of putting up big numbers even without the services of their injured center fielder. And if anyone doubted that, they needed only watch today’s 23-5 victory in which the Nats lineup put a sledgehammer to

Eaton prepares for long rehab: “I’m going to win another battle”

Adam Eaton sat at his locker inside the clubhouse at Nationals Park, his left leg wrapped and braced, a set of crutches beside him on the floor, a Capitals cap tugged low over his eyes as he tried not to turn too emotional talking about the injury he suffered Friday night and the long and unfamiliar rehab he now faces. “I’ve never had an injury

Game 25 lineups: Nats vs. Mets (updated)

The tide has turned for the Nationals, who in the last 48 hours have not only lost Adam Eaton to a season-ending ACL tear but also have lost two straight to the previously collapsing Mets. Now they need a win today just to avoid a three-game sweep. They’ll be asking Joe Ross to bounce back from a ragged start in Colorado in which the right-hander

Nationals’ fears confirmed: Eaton has torn ACL

Though they didn’t know for sure when it occurred Friday night, the Nationals feared from the outset Adam Eaton suffered a serious left leg injury when he awkwardly landed on first base and went tumbling to the ground in pain. Tonight those fears were realized when the Nats learned Eaton has a torn ACL in his left knee, a season-ending injury. The diagnosis, first reported

More on Scherzer’s struggles and Zimmerman’s resurgence

Adam Eaton’s left leg injury was first and foremost on everyone’s mind last night, and deservedly so given how bad the injury looked and what it could mean for the Nationals in the short- and long-term. (Byron Kerr will be at the park this morning and hopefully will have news of a more definitive diagnosis, so be sure to check the site for that.) There

No official word yet, but Nats fear serious injury for Eaton

It was, for a fleeting moment, the latest in a string of energizing moments for a Nationals club that was about to mount its latest (and perhaps most impressive) ninth-inning rally. And then jubilation among the crowd of 34,562 at Nationals Park turned to silence and shock as Adam Eaton lay on the ground just past first base, clutching his lower left leg in agony.

Nats can’t finish off rally, fall 7-5 to Mets and lose Eaton to injury

Nearly one month into this season, the Nationals are firmly establishing themselves as a club that is capable of doing just about anything offensively - and at any point in the game. They did it again tonight, nearly pulling off their most impressive rally to date, but it may have come at the cost of a key sparkplug to this electric offense: Adam Eaton. Despite

Home runs again bedevil Scherzer (Nats trail 5-3)

The Nationals didn’t leave their bats at Coors Field. Unfortunately, Travis d’Arnaud also made sure to bring his to South Capitol Street tonight. Despite early home runs from Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Wieters, the Nationals find themselves in a 5-3 hole thanks a pair of d’Arnaud blasts off Max Scherzer. The normally light-hitting Mets catcher has hammered a pair of Scherzer fastballs to left field

Solís’ MRI shows nerve inflammation, no ligament damage

Sammy Solís won’t be coming off the disabled list Saturday when eligible, but the injured Nationals reliever did get encouraging results from an MRI administered today on his left elbow. Solís said he has nerve inflammation, not ligament damage as he and the club briefly feared when his arm wasn’t responding to treatment over the last week while he has been on the DL. There

Game 23 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

When the Nationals last played in D.C., Blake Treinen was the closer, Trea Turner was on the disabled list, Joe Ross was in the minors, the Capitals and Maple Leafs were only two games into their first-round playoff series, the Wizards hadn’t opened their playoff run yet and the Nats needed Bryce Harper’s walk-off homer to avoid falling to .500. So, basically, nothing has really

Wednesday morning Nats Q&A

Last week’s Q&A came from 35,000 feet up in the air en route from Atlanta to New York. This week’s Q&A comes from my living room sofa. Not quite as dramatic a venue, sorry. But rest assured I’ve been following the Nationals closely the last two nights while they’ve been playing in Colorado, and I’ve been reading Byron Kerr’s coverage, so hopefully I’m still on

Best-in-majors Nats make early statement with sweep of Mets

NEW YORK - It’s three weeks into April, the Mets aren’t anything close to 100 percent healthy right now and 89 percent of the regular season remains to be played. So the Nationals aren’t gloating too much about their weekend sweep at Citi Field, punctuated by Sunday’s 6-3 victory. Neither are they apologizing for doing what needed to be done against a weakened opponent. “I

Monday notes on the lineup, Scherzer, Werth and tonight’s starter

NEW YORK - Some more news and notes from Sunday night’s 6-3 victory over the Mets, for anyone who couldn’t stay up that late (or perhaps was watching the local hockey team come up big in overtime )... * There’s a lot to like about what the Nationals are doing right now, and among the things to like the most is the way their lineup

Nats top Mets 6-3 to complete second straight road sweep

NEW YORK - Daniel Murphy’s latest big hit off the Mets gave the Nationals an early jolt of offense. Max Scherzer then did the rest, pitching the Nats to a 6-3 victory to seal a three-game sweep at Citi Field and a seven-game winning streak for the team that now owns baseball’s best record. Murphy’s first-inning grand slam capped a big early rally for the

Murphy terrorizes Mets again with grand slam (Nats win 6-3)

NEW YORK - Daniel Murphy is back to terrorizing his former team again. Not to mention tearing the cover off the ball again. Murphy launched a grand slam off Zack Wheeler in the top of the first inning tonight, helping the Nationals take a quick 4-0 lead on the Mets in their series finale at Citi Field. The Nats loaded the bases before ever making

Strasburg going on paternity leave, Turner likely to start Monday

NEW YORK - Stephen Strasburg is heading home to San Diego for the birth of his second child and won’t pitch for the Nationals in Colorado this week. Strasburg’s wife, Rachel, is expecting, so the Nationals plan to place Strasburg on the paternity leave list Monday. He would be required to be activated three days later, but he’s not scheduled to pitch again until either

Game 18 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - The Nationals are on Sunday Night Baseball, looking to complete a series sweep of the Mets and head out to Colorado on a seven-game winning streak. Max Scherzer gets the ball for this finale at Citi Field, looking forward to facing New York on the big national TV stage. Scherzer has been phenomenal against the Mets in his career, going 5-3 with

Road trip halfway complete, Nationals are a perfect 5-0

NEW YORK - Dusty Baker has been doing this - and by “this” we’re talking about playing, coaching and managing in the major leagues - long enough to know what he should and not worry about. And Baker legitimately was worried about the road trip his Nationals began a week ago, when they departed D.C. following Bryce Harper’s walk-off homer to beat the Phillies and

Bullpen leads the way again as Nationals keep rolling

NEW YORK - When this road trip began at the beginning of the week, the Nationals bullpen looked like an unsightly blackhead on an otherwise clean face. The 10-game trip now halfway complete, the Nationals having won all five games to date, that blackhead has all but disappeared thanks to the application of some Clearasil. Or, more accurately, the redefinition of roles for this relief

Nationals get another gem, beat Mets 3-1 for sixth straight win

NEW YORK - Gio Gonzalez’s early season run of dominance continues. So does his longstanding run of dominance at Citi Field. Gonzalez carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and wound up allowing just two hits to the Mets before handing things over to the Nationals’ reconfigured bullpen, which pieced together the final eight outs necessary to lock up a 3-1 victory. Matt Wieters, Trea

Gonzalez up to his old tricks at Citi Field (Nats win 3-1)

NEW YORK - Gio Gonzalez has pitched well throughout the early portion of this season. And he has always pitched well throughout his career at Citi Field. Those two trends seem to be converging this afternoon in a positive way for the Nationals: Despite some early wildness, Gonzalez has not allowed a hit through four innings against the Mets. The left-hander battled through a ragged

Baker expects flip-flop at top of lineup to be temporary

NEW YORK - Trea Turner is back in the Nationals lineup today, but he’s not back in his traditional spot atop the lineup. In his first start since injuring his right hamstring April 8, Turner is batting second against the Mets, with Adam Eaton retaining the leadoff job he has held the last two weeks with his teammate on the disabled list. The Eaton-Turner one-two

Game 17 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - It’s another gray, overcast, chilly day at Citi Field. And I’m talking the about the weather, not Mets fans’ emotions about their team right now. The Amazins are hurting, as was clearly evident last night when Terry Collins had to resort to pinch-hitting starting pitchers and sending injured players up to bat in extra innings because nobody else was available. They’re hoping

Saturday morning notes on Turner, Roark and Mets pitching

NEW YORK - Some Saturday morning notes to chew over while contemplating the Nationals’ 4-3 11-inning victory over the Mets, their five-game winning streak and their three-game lead in the division ... * Even though Trea Turner was activated off the disabled list Friday, Dusty Baker didn’t want to throw his young star right back into the lineup, especially on a cold night at Citi

Another night, another win, another string of highlights for Harper

NEW YORK - What’s the most impressive thing Bryce Harper is doing right now? Take your pick. He’s hitting home runs, including his first career blast off Matt Harvey tonight, giving him a league-leading seven for the young season. He’s driving in runs, two more tonight to give him 20 RBIs, tops in the majors. He’s hitting for average, going 2-for-4 tonight to raise his

Nationals outlast Mets, win 4-3 in 11 innings

NEW YORK - Dusty Baker didn’t hesitate to throw Trea Turner back to the wolves tonight, sending his leadoff man up to bat for the first time in 13 days with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game in the top of the 11th, with Jeurys Familia on the mound for the Mets. Turns out Turner didn’t need to take the bat

Harper finally connects off Harvey (Nats win 4-3 in 11)

NEW YORK - Bryce Harper entered tonight’s game with one hit in 26 career at-bats against Matt Harvey. No opposing pitcher has confounded the Nationals slugger like the Mets right-hander. Is there a reasonable explanation for Harvey’s one-sided domination of one of the best hitters in baseball? “I don’t know,” manager Dusty Baker said this afternoon. “I don’t think he knows. Matt knows it. Bryce

Updates on Turner, Werth, Zimmerman and Drew

NEW YORK - Trea Turner is in the Nationals dugout tonight, available to come off the bench if needed. But he’s not in the starting lineup just yet, with manager Dusty Baker wanting to give the just-activated shortstop a chance to rest his legs a bit after playing rehab games at extended spring training the last two days. “The thinking was: Today was supposed to

Game 16 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - Hello from Citi Field, where it’s about 30 degrees colder than it was yesterday at SunTrust Park in suburban Atlanta. It’s going to be quite chilly out there for the series opener between the Nationals and Mets, and that’s not what you ideally want for a team dealing with several minor leg injuries. With that in mind, several regulars are not in

Turner activated off DL, Green designated for assignment

NEW YORK - Trea Turner is back on the Nationals’ 25-man roster, activated off the disabled list in time for tonight’s series opener against the Mets. Turner, out since April 8 with a strained right hamstring, may not be in manager Dusty Baker’s starting lineup on a chilly evening at Citi Field, but he will be available off the bench if needed and is expected

Friday morning Nats Q&A from 35,000 feet over America

OK, these are always fun for me. I’m not just answering your Nats questions today. I’m answering them from seat 27F on my flight from Atlanta to New York, roughly 35,000 feet up in the skies over the East Coast. (That’s assuming Delta’s on-board WiFi works with no problems, of course.) If all goes according to plan, I should be able to start answering questions

Reworked bullpen wraps up a win ignited by Strasburg, Zimmerman

ATLANTA - There are any number of key moments in a one-run game, and there were plenty to choose from in the Nationals’ 3-2 victory over the Braves tonight. But the one that may resonate the most, the one that felt like the most significant moment in this game, came from a guy who had all but disappeared from the roster. Oliver Pérez was last

Nationals top Braves 3-2 to complete series sweep

ATLANTA - Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg were up to their old tricks, providing the Nationals the slimmest of leads heading into the late innings of tonight’s game. The Nats bullpen then found some new tricks to seal the deal in a 3-2 victory and complete a sweep of the Braves. Zimmerman’s two-run homer off R.A. Dickey gave the Nationals the lead for good, Strasburg

Dickey’s knuckleball presenting challenges tonight (Nats win 3-2)

ATLANTA - The Nationals haven’t seen too many knuckleballs the last few years, but they’re seeing one tonight, and they’d better be ready to see a lot more of it as this season plays out. R.A. Dickey is on the mound for the Braves tonight at SunTrust Park for the first of what should be several starts against the Nationals in 2017. The 42-year-old right-hander

Murphy scratched with leg tightness, plus more injury updates

ATLANTA - The Nationals aren’t dealing with any major injuries right now, but they are dealing with a growing list of nagging injuries, and Daniel Murphy joined that list today. Murphy was initially penciled into Dusty Baker’s lineup for tonight’s series finale against the Braves but had to be scratched after telling his manager he was dealing with “tightness” in his right leg. The veteran

Game 15 lineups: Nats at Braves (update: Murphy scratched)

ATLANTA - The Nationals go for the series sweep of the Braves tonight, which wouldn’t be a bad way at all to end the first leg of a tough, 10-game road trip that continues Friday night at Citi Field and then heads west Monday to Coors Field. Dusty Baker will hope for a continuation of last night’s offensive explosion, though he’ll have a different lineup

Ross impresses in long-awaited Nationals season debut

ATLANTA - In his perfect world, Joe Ross would have spent opening day at Nationals Park, not NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse. But Ross didn’t take his season-opening demotion to Triple-A personally, recognizing that the Nationals weren’t sending him down for performance reasons, but rather because it made the most sense for a club that didn’t need a full-time fifth starter until now. Wasn’t that

Minor ailments and issues aside, Nats are rolling early in 2017

ATLANTA - There are valid reasons to be concerned about the Nationals, most notably a bullpen that fewer than three weeks into the season has required a reshuffling of roles and a spate of minor injuries including the groin spasm suffered by Jayson Werth tonight. This is not a perfect team. Let’s not confuse a couple of problem areas, though, for a bad team. Or

Pair of grand slams propels Nats to 14-4 win over Braves

ATLANTA - Freddie Freeman may own the Nationals, but Bryce Harper’s ownage of Julio Teheran supersedes even the mightiest of opponents. Harper added two more homers to his deep collection off Teheran, including a grand slam that helped the Nationals overcome Freeman’s latest blast off them and propel them to a 14-4 victory tonight at SunTrust Park. Joe Ross bounced back from a shaky first

Werth injured on checked swing, leaves game (Nats win 14-4)

ATLANTA - Jayson Werth had to depart tonight’s game after injuring himself on a check-swing in the top of the third inning, the latest Nationals player to go down in the season’s first month. Werth checked his swing on a 1-0 pitch from the Braves’ Julio Teheran in his second at-bat of the night and appeared to grimace, his left leg perhaps tweaked. After stepping

Solís lands on DL with elbow inflammation (Nats lead 6-2)

ATLANTA - Sammy Solís pitched a key scoreless inning during Tuesday night’s victory over the Braves. Turns out he did so with something less than a perfectly healthy left arm. The Nationals placed Solís on the 10-day disabled list today with elbow inflammation, an injury that is not believed to be serious but was concerning enough to convince the club to shelve its top left-handed

Treinen out as closer; Nats will “mix and match” Kelley, Glover

ATLANTA - Blake Treinen is no longer going to pitch the ninth inning for the Nationals, but the club isn’t going to designate one replacement closer for now, choosing instead to split those duties between veteran Shawn Kelley and rookie Koda Glover. The decision was made in the wake of Treinen’s latest near-meltdown Tuesday night, when the right-hander entered with a 3-0 lead in hand

Game 14 lineups: Nats at Braves (Solís to DL)

ATLANTA - And we’re back at SunTrust Park, as the Nationals and Braves prepare for the second game of their three-game series, hoping for a little less drama (or at least a lot less umpiring drama) than they got last night during what ended as a 3-1 Nats victory. We know who will be pitching the first inning for the Nationals tonight: Joe Ross, who

Scherzer talks his way into a seventh scoreless inning

ATLANTA - Had the bottom of the ninth gone according to plan and without incident last night, the biggest takeaway from the Nationals’ 3-1 victory over the Braves would have been Max Scherzer’s dominant start. As it was, Scherzer’s outing took a backseat to the chaos that was the bottom of the ninth, from Blake Trienen’s implosion to Shawn Kelley’s takeover as closer to C.B.

Even in victory, Nationals left to fume after chaotic ninth

ATLANTA - The Nationals won a ballgame tonight. They probably are going to have a new closer when they wake up in the morning. And, oh by the way, the final out of this game turned into a full-blown fiasco after an egregious mistake that led their veteran leader to go on a postgame tirade that delicately teetered the line between acceptable criticism of umpires

Nats beat Braves 3-1 behind Scherzer and bailout from Kelley

ATLANTA - Max Scherzer scoffed after his last start when asked if his ring finger injury was finally behind him. His performance tonight would seem to confirm once and for all it’s no longer a topic for discussion. Scherzer dominated the Braves with seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball, appearing to talk his way into taking the mound for his final frame and building up

Baker: Turner won’t be activated Wednesday (Nats win 3-1)

ATLANTA - Trea Turner was at SunTrust Park this afternoon, putting his healing hamstring through a rigorous test that included baserunning drills and a full round of batting practice with his Nationals teammates, but it doesn’t appear he’ll remain here in Atlanta for long. Though he’s eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday, Turner likely won’t play for the Nationals until he’s had a

Ross will be recalled and start Wednesday night in Atlanta

ATLANTA - Joe Ross will make his long-awaited season debut Wednesday night, and the Nationals hope they don’t have to make any more changes to their rotation for quite some time. Ross will be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and start the second game of the Nationals’ series against the Braves at SunTrust Park, manager Dusty Baker said today, slotting in between Max Scherzer and Stephen

Game 13 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - Hello from SunTrust Park, the brand-new home of the Braves. I’m still taking it all in, but my first impressions of this place are better than I expected. It actually has a few interesting features. Unfortunately, most seem to be lesser versions of similar things in other parks: a brick wall in right field (like AT&T Park in San Francisco), pine trees and

Eaton out to prove he’s still an elite center fielder

Ask anyone who has watched the Nationals through the season’s first two weeks to name Adam Eaton’s biggest contribution to the team, and you’ll get a bunch of answers about his offensive performance. The 28-year-old sports a .326 batting average and .946 OPS and has successfully reached base in all 11 games he has started. Ask Eaton what he believes has been most consistent about

Gonzalez discovers uncharted territory: the eighth inning

As Gio Gonzalez took the mound late Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park, his pitch count approaching triple digits and only a couple of empty slots remaining on the scoreboard, he couldn’t help but recognize the rarity of this situation. “It was the eighth inning,” the left-hander said. “I haven’t seen one of those in a while.” No, he most certainly hadn’t. Gonzalez reached the eighth

Another magic moment for Harper to bail out victorious Nationals

Jayson Werth looked at Bryce Harper at some point this afternoon, having already seen his teammate hit one home run and deliver another opposite-field single to beat the opposition’s shift. Harper, the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year and the 2015 league MVP, entered the day batting .300 and slugging .500, basically having done just about everything he could by age 24 to establish

Harper’s walk-off homer brings Nats back for thrilling 6-4 win

Their bullpen and their defense had conspired to leave them in position to suffer yet another demoralizing loss late. Then Bryce Harper decided to take matters into his own hands and completely flip the script for the Nationals. Harper’s three-run homer on a full count with two outs in the bottom of the ninth brought the Nats back from the dead and gave them a

Turner ready to return but will defer to Nats’ medical decision

Trea Turner went through a full round of pregame drills this morning and suggested he’s ready to come off the disabled list Wednesday when he’s eligible, but acknowledged the Nationals may want to be more cautious in bringing him back from a mild right hamstring injury. Turner ran sprints in the outfield, took full batting practice and fielded grounders at short before today’s series finale

Game 12 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

You wouldn’t have thought the Nationals’ toughest opponent through the season’s first two weeks would end up being the Phillies, but here we are nonetheless. The Nats have lost three of their five head-to-head matchups so far with their rebuilding rivals from a couple hours up the road, including yesterday’s disheartening 4-2 defeat via another late home run off a reliever. The Nationals will try

Strasburg goes seven again in latest lengthy start

His 3.00 ERA, his 1.00 WHIP and his 19-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio all suggest Stephen Strasburg has pitched quite well to begin his season. The stat that the Nationals right-hander takes the most pride in after three starts? The 21 innings he has pitched. “Going out there for the seventh inning, every time,” he said. “I think that’s something that I want to try, and as

Murphy’s hittin’ and Harper’s haulin’ give Nationals a big win

Once he had reached out and poked Jeanmar Gómez’s sinker to left field, and once he saw the ball safely hit grass and start rolling toward the corner, Daniel Murphy’s eyes shifted to the man running the bases in front of him. “I’m watching Bryce,” Murphy said. As were 38,664 fans, and everybody else inside a crowded Nationals Park on this rare Friday late-afternoon ballgame.

Murphy’s double in 10th delivers 3-2 walk-off win for Nats

The first two weeks of the Nationals’ season have seen multiple games lost late when the bullpen couldn’t post zeros and the lineup couldn’t deliver a key hit. Perhaps this evening’s 3-2 victory over the Phillies will reverse that trend. Daniel Murphy’s double into the left field corner in the bottom of the 10th brought Bryce Harper all the way home from first base and

Baker on Ross’ return, Strasburg’s stretch and Wieters’ progress

Dusty Baker sees the same minor league box scores available to everyone else online, so he knows Joe Ross pitched seven innings of one-run ball Thursday afternoon for Triple-A Syracuse. The Nationals manager, however, isn’t so quick to evaluate Ross’ performance strictly off his pitching line. Because the setting didn’t exactly match what the right-hander would be seeing in the big leagues. “It’s a little

Game 10 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

Fresh from a day off, the Nationals return to action today for a rare Friday matinee against the Phillies. For those asking: No, I don’t know exactly why this game is starting at 4:05 p.m. It’s Good Friday, which has something to do with it. But nobody with the Nats I’ve asked over the last week was able to provide an explanation, or was even

After strong Triple-A start, Ross on track to join Nats next week

The Nationals should finally have their regular No. 5 starter pitching for them next week. And, barring some unforeseen complication, for many weeks to come. After a strong start for Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday, Joe Ross is now lined up to join the Nationals rotation next week and make his major league season debut Wednesday in Atlanta. Ross tossed seven innings of one-run ball Thursday

Thursday morning Nats Q&A

The first week and a half of the Nationals’ season has not lacked for compelling storylines. There have been positives (eight-ninths of the lineup, four-fifths of the rotation) and there have been negatives (injuries to everybody who plays shortstop, struggles by everybody who pitches out of the bullpen). The end result of all of that? A 5-4 record, with series wins at home over the

Recurring problem areas crop up again in loss to Cardinals

They are 5-4, with one of the most productive lineups in baseball and a 2.49 ERA among the permanent members of their starting rotation. So let’s not write the Nationals off altogether. Having said that, there are without question several areas of concern nine games into the season, areas that have mostly been responsible for their four losses to date and have nearly turned a

No comeback this time from Nationals in 6-1 loss to Cardinals

If nothing else, the Nationals have shown through the season’s first week-plus they don’t easily roll over. Six times in their first eight games, they came from behind to at least tie things up. So it wasn’t surprising this evening when, despite trailing by three runs late and showing few signs of life to that point, the Nationals again made things interesting. They couldn’t complete

With two shortstops down, Nats now turn to Difo and Green

Two days after placing their starting shortstop on the disabled list, the Nationals were forced to do the same with their backup shortstop, adding Stephen Drew to a rapidly growing infirmary. Drew was placed on the 10-day DL with a right hamstring strain, an injury he sustained in the fifth inning Tuesday night running out of the batter’s box on a comebacker to the mound.

Game 9 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals (Drew placed on DL)

The Nationals today send Max Scherzer to the mound with a chance to sweep the Cardinals. Now, hit the rewind button 48 hours and ask yourself how that statement would’ve sounded to you at the time. The Nats have righted the ship a bit here the last two nights, riding a ridiculously productive lineup to a pair of blowout wins and now have their ace

Roark pitches around shaky defense, emerges with a win

It’s not particularly fair to evaluate Tanner Roark based on his final pitching line from last night’s game. He gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits in five innings, throwing a whopping 104 pitches in the process. But that doesn’t provide an especially accurate portrayal of his performance. Roark’s numbers might have looked a whole lot better had the Nationals infield simply made

After dramatic double play, Nats turn clunker into blowout win

On a night in which the Nationals committed four errors - one a piece by every member of the starting infield - it was strangely fitting that the moment that changed the entire complexion of this game was a brilliant double play turned by three members of that very infield. Two on, one out in the top of the fifth, the Nationals trailing by two

Nationals start ugly, finish strong in 14-6 win over Cardinals

It certainly wasn’t easy on the eyes, unless your eyes were closed when they committed four errors and when they squandered a number of opportunities with men in scoring position. But sometimes you just gotta win ugly, and the Nationals won’t be apologizing for the lack of style points they displayed tonight in beating the Cardinals 14-6 to snap a two-game losing streak. Especially given

Turner lands on 10-day DL, Taylor recalled from Syracuse

Had Trea Turner suffered a mild right hamstring strain on April 8, 2016, the Nationals might well have waited a week to let him heal and then put him back in their lineup, avoiding a 15-day stint on the disabled list. But because Turner suffered his injury on April 8, 2017, and because Major League Baseball has turned the 15-day DL into the 10-day DL,

Game 7 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals (Turner to DL)

The Nationals are back in town, home for the entire week to face the Cardinals and Phillies, hoping for some better results than their weekend in Philadelphia. The bullpen probably will have a major say in how this all turns out, but first things first ... Tanner Roark is on the mound for the Nats in tonight’s opener against St. Louis. He pitched well in

More on Strasburg, Nathan and this week’s pitching matchups

Some day-after tidbits, quotes and thoughts as the Nationals lick their wounds from a tough weekend in Philadelphia and now prepare to host the Cardinals the next three days ... * It got lost in the shuffle after the ninth-inning drama Sunday, but Stephen Strasburg put together a very nice start. And it could easily have been a great start if not for some unfortunate

One week in, Nats hope relievers’ psyches aren’t damaged

PHILADELPHIA - Ryan Zimmerman and other veterans on the Nationals roster who have been through the grind before understand the significance of 1-of-26 weeks in a baseball season, especially when it’s the first one. “It’s one week,” Zimmerman said. “So it’s hard to take anything away from it.” Easy for a veteran to say. For the younger members of the Nationals, especially those who spend

Nats lose 4-3 to Phils, despite Zimmerman’s clutch homer

PHILADELPHIA - They got the big blast they needed from Ryan Zimmerman, just in the nick of time. But the Nationals bullpen again couldn’t seal the deal, and so what could’ve been an uplifting Sunday afternoon at the park instead turned into the team’s first two-game losing streak of the young season. Zimmerman’s three-run, pinch-hit homer with two outs in the top of the ninth

Murphy keeps on hitting in season’s first week (Nats lose 4-3)

PHILADELPHIA - If this is how Daniel Murphy hits after an abbreviated spring training, imagine how he’d hit had he actually been getting consistent at-bats throughout March. Murphy ripped a single to right field in his second at-bat this afternoon, extending his hitting streak to six games to open the season and raising his batting average to .522. Only the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, the Giants’

Nationals promote Albers, designate Guthrie for assignment

PHILADELPHIA - Needing a fresh arm after four consecutive days of extensive bullpen use, the Nationals purchased the contract of Matt Albers this morning, ensuring the veteran right-hander will be available if needed during today’s series finale against the Phillies. Jeremy Guthrie, who was rocked for 10 runs in only two-thirds of an inning Saturday night, was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot.

Game 6 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - It’s a new day, and that can only be a good thing for the Nationals after last night’s debacle. They still have an opportunity to win this series against the Phillies, and though their bullpen is pretty taxed at this point, they do have Stephen Strasburg starting this afternoon’s finale at Citizens Bank Park. Strasburg has been electric inside this stadium during his

Morning-after notes on the bullpen, Blanton, Kelley and Murphy

PHILADELPHIA - Some more notes, reactions and repercussions of last night’s ugly 17-3 loss to the Phillies ... * The last thing the Nationals needed last night was a start of anything fewer than five innings. So when Jeremy Guthrie had to be yanked with only two outs in the bottom of the first, the rest of the pitching staff might as well have gone

Encouraging news on Turner softens sting of blowout loss

PHILADELPHIA - At the end of a brutal night of baseball that saw the Nationals dig themselves into a 12-run hole in the first inning amid a barrage of hits against Jeremy Guthrie, then burn up what remained of their bullpen just to record the requisite number of outs required to make this 17-3 thumping at the hands of the Phillies official, there was at

Disastrous first inning sends Nationals on way to 17-3 loss

PHILADELPHIA - In the annals of worst innings in club history, this had to rank at the top. The Nationals gave up 12 runs to the Phillies in the first, and that might not even have been the worst thing to happen to them in the frame. As disastrous as that 12-spot was, with Jeremy Guthrie taking the brunt of the pounding, and as ugly

Trea Turner suffers apparent leg injury (Nats trounced 17-3)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals avoided significant injuries to prominent players throughout the spring and entered the season as healthy as any team in baseball, but that run of good fortune may have come to an abrupt end. Trea Turner had to come out of tonight’s game against the Phillies in the top of the first inning after suffering an apparent hamstring injury running the bases,

Taylor optioned to Triple-A, Ross struggles in Syracuse debut

PHILADELPHIA - Needing to clear a roster spot for Jeremy Guthrie before tonight’s game, the Nationals optioned Michael A. Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse, electing to keep an extra infielder on their bench instead of an outfielder. The decision essentially boiled down to demoting either Taylor or Wilmer Difo, who both made the opening day roster when the Nationals decided to carry a six-man bench. Neither

Game 5 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - If you asked anybody on the first day of spring training to name the Nationals’ No. 5 starter to open the season, I don’t think you would have found many people who would have replied: Jeremy Guthrie. Yet when the Nats take the field this evening at Citizens Bank Park, the man on the mound will be none other than the right-hander celebrating

Saturday morning notes and quotes

PHILADELPHIA - Some more tidbits and reactions from yesterday’s 7-6 win over the Phillies, and some other assorted thoughts to tide you over this Saturday morning until the Nationals arrive back at Citizens Bank Park for tonight’s game... * Daniel Murphy isn’t quite feeling right at the plate yet. We can say that because the Nationals second baseman is swinging and missing more than is

The good, and the not-so-good, from a Nationals victory

PHILADELPHIA - Four games into his team’s season, Dusty Baker hasn’t had a whole lot of opportunity to relax and enjoy managing a first place club. His Nationals may be 3-1, but all four games have been tense, down-to-the-wire affairs, perhaps none more than today’s contest at Citizens Bank Park. It didn’t have to be that way. The Nats led by seven runs after five

Nats go deep early, hang on late for 7-6 win over Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Jayson Werth all launched multi-run homers, and Max Scherzer dominated the Phillies once again at Citizens Bank Park. But what should’ve been an easy Nationals victory this afternoon instead turned into near-disaster before Blake Treinen hung on for dear life to wrap up a 7-6 victory. An announced crowd of 45,121 braved wind chills in the 30s for

Harper and Murphy go deep, Scherzer cruising (Nats win 7-6)

PHILADELPHIA - Earlier this afternoon, noting how five of his team’s six home runs to start this season have come with nobody on base, Dusty Baker joked that “homers are fine, but multi-run homers are better.” Members of the Nationals lineup must’ve been eavesdropping, because they’re putting that practice to work in today’s game against the Phillies. Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy each have launched

Nats early offense: lots of homers, not a lot of two-out hits

PHILADELPHIA - The good news about the Nationals lineup so far this season: They’ve hit six home runs in three games, third-most in the majors. The bad news about the Nationals lineup so far this season: They’ve scored 13 total runs in those three games, tied for 12th in the majors. That’s in only three games, of course, so be careful not to read too

Game 4 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Hello from Citizens Bank Park, where a couple of sleepy teams will take the field today for the home opener. The Nationals rolled into town around 1 a.m. following their twice-delayed 10-inning loss to the Marlins. The Phillies, meanwhile, flew in from Cincinnati last night following their loss to the Reds. So it’ll be a quick turnaround for today’s 3:05 p.m. first pitch.

After adjusted spring prep, Scherzer ready for season debut

PHILADELPHIA - You wouldn’t think there’s anything special about Max Scherzer taking the mound later today at Citizens Bank Park, his first start of the season. That’s no real accomplishment, right? “It’s a major accomplishment,” Scherzer insisted. Well, yes, considering what it took to ensure the Nationals ace would be ready to pitch a big league game in the first week of the season. “You’ve

Nationals relievers cope with first blown lead of 2017

During the first week of the season, when everything is magnified, it’s easy to fall into the trap of drawing long-term conclusions on both positive and negative developments. Two games into their season, the Nationals bullpen looked like a strength, their new closer up to the challenge. Three games into their season, that same bullpen looks like a weakness, the new closer unable to deliver

Bullpen struggles send Nats to first loss of season, 4-3 in 10

A marathon game that included more than two hours of rain delays, back-and-forth bullpen blow-ups and then extra innings ended with a first for the Nationals this season: a loss. Justin Bour’s two-out double off Joe Blanton in the top of the 10th brought J.T. Realmuto all the way around from first to score the run that gave the Marlins a wild 4-3 victory at

Nats planning to start Guthrie on Saturday in Philadelphia

Though the Nationals haven’t announced anything yet, Jeremy Guthrie is lined up to start Saturday’s game against the Phillies, completing a remarkable journey back to the big leagues as a member of one of baseball’s best rotations. The club announced Max Scherzer as the starter for Friday afternoon’s game at Citizens Bank Park, with Stephen Strasburg pitching Sunday’s series finale (and thus getting an extra

Game 3 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

I know what you’re thinking: There’s no way they can play baseball in D.C. today. Well, that may prove to be true, but I don’t think we’re going to get definitive word on that for a while. Because as hard as it is raining right now, and as much as it’s expected to continue raining this afternoon, it is expected to stop at some point,

An eventful debut for Enny Romero out of Nats bullpen

Enny Romero’s first pitch as a National didn’t go quite where he wanted it to go. Nor did it produce the kind of reaction he or anyone else in the park Wednesday night could have foreseen. Summoned by manager Dusty Baker to pitch the seventh inning with his team up four runs, Romero threw his very first pitch inside to Derek Dietrich, striking the Marlins

Rusty Roark still finds a way to pitch Nationals to victory

Two innings into his season debut, Tanner Roark might well have been forced into changing his goals for the night. His pitch count at 46, his command unusually off, he could have gone into survival mode and hoped simply to reach the fifth inning without the game getting out of hand. Fast-forward an hour or so, and there was Roark walking off the mound to

Nats bounce back from shaky start to beat Marlins 6-4

Tanner Roark looked awfully rusty early in his first start of the season, but the right-hander settled down nicely and then watched as his Nationals teammates went to work against the Marlins pitching staff en route to their second win of the season. Behind Roark’s quality start and a four-run rally in the bottom of the fourth, the Nats beat Miami 6-4 tonight and improved

How Baker and Maddux manage late-inning bullpen usage

For all the attention, ink and pixels devoted this spring to the question of who would be pitching the ninth inning for the Nationals in 2017, Dusty Baker knew all along that was a short-sighted take on the situation. “I’m always stressing to our guys: Let’s win the seventh, eighth and ninth, if necessary,” the manager said. “Which we did the other day.” Indeed, the

Game 2 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

The hoopla of opening day is over. The frustration of the day-off-after-opening-day is over. Now we begin the grind of the baseball season, Game 2 of 162. For the Nationals, there is good news before they take the field tonight against the Marlins: Anthony Rendon is in the lineup, his left calf feeling better a full nine days after he fouled a ball off it

Nats’ $162 million opening day payroll ranks ninth in majors

The Nationals’ opening day payroll was up 16 percent from last season and ranks ninth among all Major League Baseball clubs, according to figures compiled by USA Today. The players who made the Nats’ opening day 25-man roster or disabled list have a combined salary of $162,742,157. That ranks ninth in the majors, behind the Dodgers, Tigers, Rangers, Giants, Mets, Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs.

Tuesday morning Nats Q&A

So, how did everybody out there enjoy opening day? On the field, you certainly couldn’t have many complaints about the Nationals’ performance in a 4-2 victory over the Marlins. In the stands, it sounds like there were some unfortunate issues with concessions and the distribution of the ballpark giveaway. On the air ... well, I can’t speak to that since I was covering the game

Strasburg does his part with another effective opener

Stephen Strasburg was still in the first base dugout at Nationals Park during the bottom of the seventh Monday afternoon, having only completed his work a few minutes earlier, when he watched with glee as Adam Lind’s pinch-hit homer sailed over the fence, turning a 2-1 deficit to the Marlins into a 3-2 lead. Until that moment, Strasburg was staring at a hard-luck loss next

Lind debuts with a D.C. curtain call: “You can’t really beat it”

One has been hitting big home runs in front of big crowds seemingly from the moment he reached the big leagues, especially on opening day. The other, despite 186 career home runs to his name, had never before taken a curtain call. Bryce Harper and Adam Lind don’t share a whole lot in common, either in baseball pedigree or off-field personality, but they will forever

Late homers by Harper, Lind propel Nats to 4-2 win in opener

For five innings, the Nationals gave their opening day sellout crowd reason to get nervous about the long grind ahead. Despite countless opportunities to make a dent into Marlins starter Edinson Volquez, they simply could not produce a hit with a runner in scoring position, surely making fans (and manager Dusty Baker) cringe about the long-term prospects for this lineup. Turns out the Nats didn’t

Update on Rendon and the Nats’ fifth starter options

The Nationals enjoyed a particularly healthy spring, enough to leave manager Dusty Baker as encouraged as he’s ever going to be heading into a season. But not healthy enough to field their full starting lineup on opening day. Anthony Rendon, who fouled a ball off his left calf one week ago in Florida, was held out of today’s season opener against the Marlins. Baker described

Game 1 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

The day has come at last. The 2017 season is here, and it all gets underway this afternoon on South Capitol Street when the Nationals host the Marlins in Game 1 of 162 (or more). There will be plenty of pomp and circumstance leading up to first pitch at 1:05 p.m., from the introduction of both teams to the ceremonial first pitches thrown by one

2017 Nats media season predictions

OK, your long nightmare is over. It’s no longer the offseason. It’s no longer the preseason. It’s officially baseball season again in Washington. Opening day is full of all kinds of traditions, and so it is that we present our own annual tradition: the Nationals media opening day season predictions. Now in its eighth year of existence, this feature has spanned three different websites and

25-man roster includes Difo and Taylor, no Ross or Guthrie

The Nationals will open the season with only four starting pitchers but six bench players. The club announced its opening day roster this morning, and it does not include Joe Ross or Jeremy Guthrie. Ross, who had been tabbed all along as the No. 5 starter, was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. Guthrie, who was trying to make it as a long reliever, was reassigned to

2017 MLB predictions

And so the time has come. Baseball season begins today for the Yankees, Rays, Giants, Diamondbacks, Cubs and Cardinals. It begins Monday for everybody else, including the Nationals. Which means it’s time for some predictions. Don’t worry, our annual Nats beat writer predictions will be posted Monday morning, an opening day tradition. For now, you’ll just have to be satisfied with my own personal league-wide

Nats savor the full Navy experience: “Today was awesome”

ANNAPOLIS - From the morning spent dining with a roomful of midshipmen and touring the United States Naval Academy grounds to the early afternoon spent dressing in a locker room in a football stadium down the road to the late afternoon spent playing an exhibition game in front of 1,030 fans (most of them in full dress uniform) in the tiniest ballpark most of them

Scherzer closes out abbreviated spring (Scherzer to start Friday)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP Score: Nats 4, Red Sox 4 Recap: Playing at Max Bishop Stadium in front of several hundred U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen, the Nationals and Red Sox wrapped up spring training in a unique setting. Max Scherzer had to work against Boston’s grind-it-out lineup, but the right-hander got better as his afternoon progressed and finished with two runs allowed in five innings, throwing

Final roster decisions come into focus with 48 hours to go

ANNAPOLIS - The focus of today’s game at the United States Naval Academy is mostly on the setting and the hundreds of midshipmen who are getting the chance to watch major leaguers up close and personal. There is, however, still some business to attend to, and for the Nationals that means finalizing their opening day roster. They haven’t made any formal announcement yet, but there

Starting lineups: Nats vs. Red Sox in Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS - They say anytime you come to the ballpark, you have a chance to see something you’ve never seen before. Well, that’s definitely going to be true today. Hello from Max Bishop Stadium at the United States Naval Academy, where this afternoon the Nationals and Red Sox are going to play a truly unique exhibition game. This is the first time a service academy

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