Entries Listing

Nats eke out a win, but one-run games are coming at a cost

Davey Martinez sat down for his postgame news conference, minutes after yet another nip-and-tuck affair, and sighed. “That was exciting,” the Nationals manager said. “We’ve got to start scoring runs when we can. They’re playing well, they really are. But when we have a chance to put teams away, we’ve got to start putting them away.” It needs to be stressed at this point that

Roark goes seven, tired bullpen finishes off 3-2 win over Bucs

The back end of the Nationals’ bullpen would’ve loved a blowout win - and the respite that would accompany it - tonight. Alas, this team doesn’t enjoy many blowout wins these days, last Wednesday’s 15-2 thumping of the Giants serving as a distinct anomaly. So it should have come as no surprise to anyone inside Nationals Park tonight when the home team carried a one-run

Murphy returns from Florida, Rendon tests out toe in workout

They don’t have any of their three key injured regulars back in the lineup tonight, but the Nationals did have a welcome visitor to their clubhouse this afternoon: Daniel Murphy. The veteran second baseman, who has yet to make his season debut following October knee surgery, made the trip up from West Palm Beach after two weeks spent at extended spring training. Murphy, who was

Game 29 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates (Suero promoted)

Another day, another roster move for the Nationals, who have been burning up the transaction wire during a busier-than-expected opening month of the season. One day after calling up Austin Voth from Triple-A for the first time, the Nats sent the right-hander back to Syracuse and called up Wander Suero from Syracuse for the first time. The rationale behind it all: The Nationals desperately needed

Overworked relievers taking it day-by-day at end of long month

As they gathered at Nationals Park on Sunday morning, Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle did a quick analysis of their respective statuses for the upcoming series finale against the Diamondbacks. All three relievers have been getting plenty of work through the season’s first month, but given the state of things only one of them could reasonably be given the day off. So who

Martinez gives Gonzalez rope, lefty responds with big win

It was as animated as Gio Gonzalez had been during a postgame interview in several years. After getting pulled by new manager Davey Martinez following a leadoff walk in the bottom of the sixth on Monday night in San Francisco, the veteran left-hander didn’t hide his true feelings about the matter. “It sucks, because I want to be out there,” said Gonzalez, who had thrown

Nats jump on D-backs early, then ride Gonzalez to 3-1 win

The familiar elements were there. An early lead but missed opportunities to add on. A starter getting into trouble late in his outing, leaving the manager to decide whether to stick with him or turn to his struggling bullpen. And then some tense moments late as they tried to hang on for a much-needed win. The setup was familiar. The end result was not. The

Rendon unlikely to return until Tuesday at earliest (Nats win 3-1)

Anthony Rendon wasn’t activated off the disabled list today even though he was eligible, but the Nationals third baseman appears to be close to returning from a bruised left big toe. Rendon hit, ran and took grounders this morning with no issues, manager Davey Martinez said. The Nationals weren’t prepared to activate him off the 10-day DL yet, and Martinez said the move probably won’t

Voth gets first big league call, struggling A. Adams is optioned

Needing a fresh arm after using all seven of their relievers during Saturday’s 10-inning loss, the Nationals optioned Austin L. Adams to Triple-A and promoted fellow right-hander Austin Voth from Syracuse for the first time. Adams was on the mound for the critical moment of the 4-3 loss to the Diamondbacks, summoned by manager Davey Martinez with two on and one out in the top

Game 28 lineups: Nats vs. Diamondbacks

It’s been said on several occasions already this young season, but the Nationals really need a win today. They’ve already lost the first two games of this series to a very good Diamondbacks club, each by one run, and they simply can’t afford another loss in today’s finale at suddenly chilly and windy Nationals Park. Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for this one, on the

What to make of the Nats’ awful record in one-run games

Does a team’s record in one-run games reveal anything about it? Is a good record in those tight games evidence of a team that just finds ways to win or a sign of good fortune? Is a bad record evidence of an unlucky team or one that has a fundamental flaw? We don’t know yet which explanation applies to the 2018 Nationals. But we do

Nats lament another night of missed chances

Four runs, with Stephen Strasburg on the mound, probably should have been enough for the Nationals tonight. It would’ve been enough in any of his final 10 starts last season. This season, it’s been a slightly different story. Three times in six starts, Strasburg has allowed four or more runs, including the five he surrendered to the Diamondbacks in 6 1/3 innings tonight. So you

Nationals drop another one-run game, lose 5-4 to D-backs

The depleted Nationals know they have little margin for error right now if they want to eke out victories in close ballgames. Once again tonight, they did just enough to put themselves in position to win, and then just enough to end up on the wrong side of the final tally. Despite several opportunities to bust the game open at the plate, and despite multiple

Rizzo on ever-changing roster: “Nobody said it would be easy”

Mike Rizzo goes into every season knowing there will be unexpected ailments and performances that require roster changes. And the Nationals general manager goes into every season prepared to tap into as much depth as is necessary from his club’s farm system. The first month of this season, though, is testing that depth like never before. “It’s a grind, man,” Rizzo said this afternoon before

Game 26 lineups: Nats vs. Diamondbacks

Walking into Nationals Park this afternoon, it felt like it had been a month since the Nationals last played here. It hasn’t been quite that long, but it has been 12 days since their last home game, and that is a while. They also have undergone quite a few roster changes since then, adding to their air of mystique when they finally take the field

Friday morning Nats Q&A

What a long, strange road trip it was. The Nationals went to New York desperate for some success and used a dramatic, eighth-inning rally in the opener to propel them to back-to-back wins before losing the finale. Then Max Scherzer outdueled Clayton Kershaw in the opener in Los Angeles, and everything appeared to be on track. Except the Nats then lost four straight to the

After long trip, Nats know there’s plenty of work ahead of them

SAN FRANCISCO - The flight home at the end of a three-city, nine-game, cross-country road trip is pleasant for no one. The Nationals were scheduled to land at Dulles International Airport at 2:20 a.m. this morning, but by the time they bused back into the city to retrieve their cars and then head home, they were looking at something like a 3:30 a.m. walk through

With barrage of two-out hits, Nationals celebrate a rare blowout

SAN FRANCISCO - The hits would come, Davey Martinez insisted, as long as the Nationals kept giving themselves opportunities and had the right approach in key situations. The first-year manager is a relentless optimist, but he surely had developed more than a few doubters over the season’s first month, especially over the last week while his club flailed away at what few scoring opportunities they

Nats bats explode in 15-2 rout over Giants to conclude road trip

SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals figured the best way to end their four-game losing streak was to send Max Scherzer to the mound for today’s series finale at AT&T Park. Turns out the better strategy was sending a lineup featuring several backups and recent call-ups up to the plate against Jeff Samardzija and the Giants bullpen. Behind an onslaught of two-out hits with runners in

Dream Foundation to dedicate Bryce Harper Field (Nats win 15-2)

SAN FRANCISCO - Bryce Harper is about to become the third Nationals player to have a youth baseball field named for him. The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation announced today it will be dedicating Bryce Harper Field at the Takoma Community Center in Northwest Washington in early May. The project was made possible through financial contributions from Harper and the Dream Foundation, in partnership with the

Game 25 lineups: Nats at Giants

SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals have won only one of their last six games. That win came Friday night in Los Angeles, against Clayton Kershaw, which sounds improbable given the current state of the lineup except once you remember who pitched that game for the Nats: Max Scherzer. Today, the Nationals are going to need another effort from Scherzer - not to mention some runs

Pivotal sixth inning has become Nationals’ toughest frame

SAN FRANCISCO - What’s the most important inning in a ballgame? For the Nationals right now, it might be the sixth. The Nats pitching staff has had all kinds of trouble navigating through that bridge inning without getting into serious trouble, and it has cost them several games along the way. The Nationals have been scored upon in the sixth inning in 11 of 24

Nationals’ 4-3 loss to Giants has familiar refrain

SAN FRANCISCO - It felt like a potential turning point for a lineup desperately in need of one. Michael A. Taylor’s three-run, opposite-field homer in the top of the fourth tonight at AT&T Park was exactly what the offensively starved Nationals needed, a jolt of life that left them tied with the Giants and chance to win this game if they simply made key pitches

Taylor’s three-run blast jolts lineup back to life (Nats lose 4-3)

SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals were doing absolutely nothing at the plate for 3 2/3 innings tonight against Ty Blach. Of the first 12 batters who came to the plate against the Giants lefty, only one (Howie Kendrick) hit a ball out of the infield. And then Ryan Zimmerman drew a two-out walk in the fourth, and Moisés Sierra followed with a single through the

Nats throw Sanchez right into lineup, hope Bautista stays hot

SAN FRANCISCO - With Shawn Kelley headed to the disabled list, but two workhorses starting the final games of this road trip in advance of an off-day, the Nationals decided to go with an extra bench player tonight and Wednesday against the Giants. That led to the recalls today of infielder Adrian Sanchez and outfielder Rafael Bautista from Triple-A, the two taking the roster spots

Game 24 lineups: Nats at Giants

SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals need a win tonight. It’s kind of that simple after losing three in row to the Dodgers and Giants. Beyond that, they need some other events as well to help make a win more possible. The Nats could certainly use a big-time start from Tanner Roark. Here’s the good news: He has owned the Giants in his career, to the

Sanchez and Bautista promoted, Reynolds demoted, Kelley to DL

SAN FRANCISCO - A long road trip for the Nationals has featured a host of roster transactions, and a bunch more are being added to the list today. The Nationals are calling up infielder Adrian Sanchez and outfielder Rafael Bautista from Triple-A, optioning infielder Matt Reynolds to Syracuse and placing reliever Shawn Kelley on the disabled list with an elbow injury, sources familiar with the

On scoring opportunities and missed opportunities

SAN FRANCISCO - The focus inside the Nationals clubhouse after Monday night’s 4-2 loss to the Giants was on the pitching staff, notably Gio Gonzalez’s frustration after getting pulled following a leadoff walk in the sixth and then Shawn Kelley immediately giving up a 464-foot home run and departing three pitches later with a recurrence of nerve irritation in his elbow. A clutch hit or

Gonzalez upset, Kelley injured during Nationals’ 4-2 loss

SAN FRANCISCO - The details of the Nationals’ 4-2 loss to the Giants tonight contained some familiar events. Squandered opportunities with runners in scoring position. An ill-advised play in the field. Decisive runs scored off the middle of the bullpen. Adding to the dismay of the Nats’ third straight loss, though, was the departure of Shawn Kelley with the latest in his long string of

Cole traded to Yankees for cash considerations (Nats lose 4-2)

SAN FRANCISCO - A.J. Cole’s time with the Nationals is officially over, but he’s going to get another chance to pitch in the big leagues. With the Yankees. The Nats announced tonight they traded Cole to the Yankees for cash considerations, receiving something in return for the right-hander who had been designated for assignment on Friday. Cole opened the season as the Nationals’ No. 5

Madson available to pitch tonight; Baker stops by to say hello

SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals should have their full complement of late-inning relievers available tonight should the situation arise in their series opener against the Giants. Ryan Madson, who was unavailable for all three games over the weekend in Los Angeles while his arm recovered from three straight days of work prior to that, told Davey Martinez he would be good to go tonight if

Game 23 lineups: Nats at Giants

SAN FRANCISCO - It’s not as warm here as it was a few hundred miles down the coast over the weekend, but it’s no less pleasant as the Nationals shift from Los Angeles to San Francisco for the final leg of their road trip. After dropping two-of-three in frustrating fashion to the Dodgers, the Nats have a chance to come home with a winning record

Injuries, lack of depth costing Nationals in tight games

LOS ANGELES - The Nationals head to San Francisco for the final leg of their three-city road trip with a 10-12 record that feels like it should at least be flipped around, if not even better than that. The Nats are 1-5 in one-run games so far this season, the lone victory coming way back in the opening series in Cincinnati after Sean Doolittle gave

Nationals can’t hold onto lead, can’t finish late rally in 4-3 loss

LOS ANGELES - There’s no shame losing two of three at Dodger Stadium to the defending National League champs. The Nationals shouldn’t walk out of here with heads hung low. Yet after beating Clayton Kershaw in Friday’s opener and then getting a gem from Stephen Strasburg on Saturday and then holding a three-run lead in the sixth inning tonight, this weekend felt like something of

Zimmerman, Taylor finally heating up at the plate (Nats lose 4-3)

LOS ANGELES - It took about three weeks, but Ryan Zimmerman and Michael A. Taylor have finally gotten hot at the plate. And at the same time, no less, much to the Nationals’ happiness. Zimmerman and Taylor each delivered big extra-base hits early tonight to stake the Nats to a 2-0 lead over the Dodgers and continue their recent upswing. Zimmerman led off the top

Nats concede and place Rendon on DL, promote reliever Adams

LOS ANGELES - For eight days, they waited and hoped Anthony Rendon would be able to return to the lineup after fouling a ball off his left big toe. On the ninth day, the Nationals finally decided they could wait no longer. Except now they’ll have to wait at least seven more days for Rendon to be eligible to return from the disabled list. In

Game 22 lineups: Nats at Dodgers (Rendon to DL)

LOS ANGELES - After some star-studded matchups to begin this weekend’s series, the finale on Sunday Night Baseball doesn’t quite stack up. It’s Jeremy Hellickson versus Alex Wood. Not that this game is any less important for either the Nationals or Dodgers, each very motivated to win the series and get back to the .500 mark in the process. As has been the case for

With toe still sore, Nats will “re-evaluate” Rendon’s status

LOS ANGELES - Davey Martinez’s afternoon declaration that Anthony Rendon would likely be available to pinch-hit surely left many of Nationals fans wondering why the star third baseman never did emerge from the dugout during Saturday night’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. It’s not like there wasn’t an opportunity, most notably the top of the eighth, when with his team trailing by two runs, Martinez

Punchless Nationals squander Strasburg’s gem in 4-0 loss

LOS ANGELES - It was as electric a moment as the Nationals have experienced so far this season, it ranked with any moment of Stephen Strasburg’s career and it felt like it could have been the moment that propelled the Nats to come back and beat the Dodgers tonight. By game’s end, though, Strasburg’s dazzling escape from a bases-loaded jam in the sixth was a

Pederson stakes Dodgers to early lead (Nats lose 4-0)

LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers are making a lot of loud contact against Stephen Strasburg tonight, but so far, only one of them has managed to cause any actual damage on the scoreboard. Joc Pederson’s solo homer in the bottom of the second represents the lone run of the evening for either team midway through this game. That blast to center field off a 97

Grace to DL with groin strain, Rendon could be ready off bench

LOS ANGELES - Though he was able to strike out Corey Seager after a mound visit from an athletic trainer Friday night, Matt Grace wasn’t able to avoid the disabled list today. The Nationals placed Grace on the 10-day DL with a left groin strain, an injury the reliever said he had been dealing with for several days but became particularly noticeable during his seventh-inning

Game 21 lineups: Nats at Dodgers

LOS ANGELES - They beat Clayton Kershaw. Now the Nationals have a chance to take this weekend series with another win tonight at Dodger Stadium. And they’ll have Stephen Strasburg on the mound leading the way. Strasburg has enjoyed some significant success against the Dodgers in his career. In seven starts versus Los Angeles, the right-hander has surrendered more than two earned runs only once.

More on Scherzer’s start, Grace’s hip and Solís’ big escape

LOS ANGELES - Though he was the clear winner of Friday night’s vaunted showdown with Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer wasn’t exactly in peak form for the Nationals. The reigning back-to-back National League Cy Young Award winner allowed only one run over six innings and emerged with the win in the Nats’ 5-2 victory over Kershaw and the Dodgers, but he found himself pitching out of

Nats jump on Kershaw, then ride Scherzer and bullpen to win

LOS ANGELES - Ballplayers don’t like to make a big deal out of any one individual game, especially the 20th game of a 162-game season. There are, however, exceptions, and Max Scherzer versus Clayton Kershaw certainly qualified. Only 12 times before in major league history had two pitchers with three Cy Young Awards apiece gone head to head, none in the last dozen years. So

Aggressive approach pays off early vs. Kershaw (Nats win 5-2)

LOS ANGELES - How do you beat Clayton Kershaw, Davey Martinez was asked this afternoon. “You’ve got to be aggressive,” the Nationals manager said. “He’s going to be in the strike zone. So get a good pitch you can hit.” How about three pitches to three batters? Is that aggressive enough? The Nats came out swinging tonight against the Dodgers’ three-time Cy Young Award winner,

Nats expect Rendon back this weekend, Eaton during road trip

LOS ANGELES - Anthony Rendon fouled a ball off his left big toe one week ago, in the fifth inning last Friday night at Nationals Park. He hasn’t played since, and despite initial hope he’d be back for tonight’s series opener against the Dodgers, he’s not in the lineup. Which begs the question: Why, given the fact he’s now been out seven days, was Rendon

Game 20 lineups: Nats at Dodgers

LOS ANGELES - The sun is shining, the mountains in the distance aren’t being obscured by smog and Max Scherzer is facing Clayton Kershaw tonight at Dodger Stadium. Yep, this is about as good as it gets. The Nationals and Dodgers open up a big weekend series at Chavez Ravine, and they’re starting it off in style with as good a pitching showdown as you

Cole designated for assignment, Torres added to bullpen

LOS ANGELES - Needing a fresh arm in their bullpen after a taxing series at Citi Field, the Nationals promoted veteran right-hander Carlos Torres from Triple-A Syracuse and made the decision to cut ties with A.J. Cole. Cole, who was out of options, was designated for assignment and now is available to any other club to claim off waivers over the next week. If he

Nats in much better standing as road trip shifts to West Coast

LOS ANGELES - The Nationals left Washington five days ago, reeling from a 3-7 homestand, heading to New York to face a red-hot Mets club that had opened up a six-game lead in the National League East division, all the while knowing they still had to head out west to face the Dodgers and Giants to conclude this long road trip. Well, the East Coast

Reeling Nationals face suddenly critical series in New York

Davey Martinez won’t look at the standings, certainly not in April. He doesn’t believe it does him or his players any good to pay attention right now to the records of other teams in relation to their own record. Which is all well and good except for one teensy little fact: The Nationals head to New York tonight for the opener of a three-game series

Nats teetering on the brink after mistake-filled homestand

There were outs inexplicably made on the bases. There were home runs being served up despite pitchers being in advantageous counts. There were countless opportunities for long, sustained rallies, the kind of opportunities made possible when you draw 10 walks to the opposition’s one on the afternoon. Consider all the reasons the Nationals should have won today’s game against the Rockies, not the least of

Late mistakes doom Nationals in 6-5 loss to Rockies

If the Nationals intend to scrap their way back from a ragged start to their season, they’re going to have to do so playing smart, fundamentally sound baseball. They certainly didn’t do that today during a 6-5 loss to the Rockies that easily could have tilted in their direction had they simply not made a handful of drastic mistakes at critical moments. And because of

Will Hellickson start Monday in New York? (Nats lose 6-5)

The Nationals have not yet named a starter for Monday night’s series opener against the Mets. That in itself offers a hint that the club is preparing to add veteran Jeremy Hellickson to its big league roster and send him to the mound at Citi Field. A.J. Cole is on turn to make the start, but the right-hander (who was roughed up in his season

Murphy heading to Florida to play in extended spring training

As the Nationals head out on a long road trip, Daniel Murphy is heading down to Florida to start playing in extended spring training games. Murphy, now in the final stages of rehab from October microfracture knee surgery, is scheduled to fly to West Palm Beach on Monday and begin getting at-bats with others from the organization who remain at the club’s complex for extended

Game 16 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies

The weather was absolutely delightful yesterday when the Nationals beat the Rockies 6-2. The weather is most definitely not delightful today as the two clubs wrap up their four-game series. It’s overcast, the temperature has been dropping all morning and will continue to drop through the afternoon, and there’s rain in the forecast. It’s just a question of when the rain arrives. For now, it

On Scherzer’s hit, Goodwin’s wrist, Romero’s departure

Some Sunday morning news and notes before the Nationals and Rockies wrap up their four-game series ... * It didn’t lead to any actual runs scored for the Nationals, but there’s no denying Max Scherzer’s fifth-inning single Saturday served as something of a wakeup call for a slumbering offense and fired up the entire dugout. The Nationals trailed the Rockies 2-1 and hadn’t found any

Squeeze play highlights Nats’ long-awaited rally

Michael A. Taylor wasn’t surprised when he got the sign from Bob Henley. “I’m ready for anything,” the Nationals center fielder said. “We did work on it in spring training, so I feel comfortable with it.” “It” was the safety squeeze manager Davey Martinez called in the bottom of the sixth this afternoon, the Nationals and Rockies tied at that point with runners on the

Nats finally rally, reward Scherzer for gem, beat Rockies 6-2

The rally was coming, of this Davey Martinez was sure. Give a lineup like this enough chances, the rookie manager figured, and it would happen. Even if that lineup featured only four regulars and a couple of names even the die-hards might not have known prior to a week ago. Sure enough, the rally did finally come. It came in the bottom of the sixth

Scherzer dominating after early blast (Nats win 6-2)

If the Nationals, with a makeshift lineup, needed Max Scherzer to be perfect today, they found out very quickly that wouldn’t be the case. Scherzer issued a four-pitch walk to Gerardo Parra and then served up a two-run homer to Charlie Blackmon in the top of the first this afternoon, leaving the offensively challenged Nats in an early 2-0 hole against the Rockies. Not that

Rendon still dealing with sore toe, Goodwin out with sore wrist

Anthony Rendon isn’t in the Nationals lineup this afternoon. That’s not a surprise, given the third baseman had to come out of Friday night’s game after fouling a ball off his left big toe. The real question now is how much time Rendon will need before he is ready to return to an already-struggling lineup that keeps losing key players to injury. “He’s sore, real

Game 15 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies (Goodwin scratched)

The last thing the Nationals want to do is call today’s game - on April 14, mind you - “must-win.” But let’s not kid ourselves here. Having lost eight of their last 10, and having fallen a full six games behind the Mets in the National League East division - seven games in the loss column - this team simply can’t afford to lose a

End results aside, Roark pitching well to begin season

No pitcher will ever admit it, but it had to be on Tanner Roark’s mind Friday night. With the Nationals struggling mightily to score runs these days, the right-hander must have felt like he needed to be near-perfect on the mound against the Rockies. “No, you’ve just got to pitch your game, execute pitches,” Roark insisted. “They’ll get the job done. You’ve got to do

After 2-8 stretch, Nationals entering dangerous territory

They’re preaching patience and levelheadedness in the Nationals clubhouse right now, and honestly that’s what they have to do on April 13 when the ballclub is struggling to score runs, is two games under .500 and just got held to one run on four hits by the Rockies for the second straight night. “Just got to keep grinding,” Bryce Harper said. “Keep doing the things

Nats bats still silent during 2-1 loss to Rockies

Davey Martinez began the day with a message for his slumping hitters. “Just because you don’t hit doesn’t mean you can’t help us by defense, by running the bases, a walk, whatever,” the Nationals manager said. “But do something to help us win every day.” Several hours later, Martinez found himself watching his team slog through another slow night at the plate, then surrender the

Martinez preaching patience at plate, better play in field

If you want a firsthand take on the perils of freaking out over April offensive numbers, look no farther than Davey Martinez, whose own career was a textbook example of the disparity many big leaguers face between early season stats and rest-of-the-season stats. “You don’t want to look up my April,” the Nationals manager said. “They were awful.” Martinez wasn’t kidding. During a career that

Game 13 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies

The Nationals need to start hitting. There’s no getting around this. Since April 4 (their series finale in Atlanta) they’ve scored an average of 2.5 runs per game. Only the Brewers (2.25) have scored fewer in the majors in that span. That’s not good. Perhaps a matchup tonight against Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland could help matters a little bit. The Nationals have a very right-handed-lineup

Nats thwart Inciarte’s bold attempt to steal home in extras

On the list of baseball’s most daring plays, the straight steal of home with two outs in the 10th inning ranks awfully high. It’s a rare, do-or-die play at any moment in a game, let alone in extra innings with no margin for error. Ender Inciarte isn’t afraid to take chances, though, and he took the ultimate one during Wednesday’s game at Nationals Park. Leading

Pressed into extra duty again, Nats bullpen can’t finish the job

Life in a major league bullpen is strange. Forty-eight hours ago, the Nationals relief corps was exhausted, desperately in need of a night off, forever grateful to Max Scherzer for giving them exactly that with a complete game and then grateful to Stephen Strasburg for nearly duplicating the feat the next night. So the unit was well-rested and ready to go today when the Nationals

Nats rally twice to tie but can’t finish the job, lose 5-3 in 12

They got the start they needed from A.J. Cole. They got the big blast they needed from Matt Adams to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. And they got the clutch hit they needed from Howie Kendrick to keep the game going in the bottom of the 11th. But the Nationals bullpen could not post a zero when the club most needed

Wieters returns, Severino stays, Montero dropped from roster

Matt Wieters is back on the Nationals’ active roster. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s back as their unquestioned No. 1 catcher. The Nationals activated Wieters off the 10-day disabled list this morning, but also made the mildly surprising decision to designate veteran Miguel Montero for assignment and keep 24-year-old Pedro Severino in the big leagues, where he’ll continue to get significant playing time. Wieters, who

Game 12 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

What a different 48 hours makes. When this series began, the Nationals were reeling from a five-game losing streak, with questions about the big picture starting to percolate. Now, thanks to back-to-back dominant performances from Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, they’re seeking a series sweep of the Braves and a whole new outlook on life. In order to pull that off, though, they’ll need a

When chips were down, Nationals turned to their pair of aces

Sure, there were reasons for at least mild concern when the Nationals lost five straight games and found themselves sporting more losses then wins for the first time in 2 1/2 years. There also were a couple of guys named Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg scheduled to make back-to-back starts. Need to stop a losing streak? Handing the ball to those two aces is a

Strasburg keeps it rolling, tosses eight scoreless in 4-1 win

Stephen Strasburg will never say it publicly, but it’s tough to imagine the right-hander doesn’t see Max Scherzer dominate one night and not want to try to at least duplicate it 24 hours later. Whether he says it or not, Strasburg let his performance speak for itself tonight. On the heels of Scherzer’s two-hit shutout Monday, the Nationals’ second staff ace tossed eight scoreless innings

Martinez tries Rendon in cleanup spot, Zimmerman in fifth spot

Nobody in the National League owns a better on-base percentage right now than Bryce Harper, whose .553 mark has put him in position to score a ton of runs through the season’s first 11 games. Nobody in the NL owns a worse OPS right now, though, than Ryan Zimmerman, whose .370 mark has contributed mightily to a bunch of wasted scoring opportunities for the Nationals

Game 11 lineups: Nats vs. Braves (Eaton scratched)

It’s a beautiful spring afternoon here in the nation’s capital, the kind of day you’d much rather be sitting inside a ballpark watching a game than, oh I don’t know, sitting in the Senate Judiciary hearing room, to name just one alternative. ... The real news in town is taking place 1 1/2 miles down South Capitol Street, where the Nationals are looking to make

Tight leg forces Kendrick to bench early in Monday’s win

Howie Kendrick delivered the only run-scoring hit of Monday night’s game at Nationals Park. But he may not be available to his club tonight after his right leg tightened up on him late, forcing manager Davey Martinez to pull him after seven innings. “His right leg tightened up on him,” Martinez said following the Nats’ 2-0 win over the Braves. “That’s all he told me.

With dominance and efficiency, Scherzer authors latest gem

Max Scherzer tries not to think about it until he gets deep into a game. No sense worrying about going the distance until it’s within realistic reach. Scherzer’s goal when he took the mound tonight at Nationals Park was to get through at least seven innings on 105 pitches. That would be enough to help cover for a relief corps that tossed a combined seven

Scherzer goes the distance to stop Nats’ skid, win 2-0

With a five-game losing streak on their minds and an exhausted set of relievers in their bullpen, the Nationals tonight turned to the kind of guy who is hardwired to solve all of his team’s woes in one brilliant pitching performance. Max Scherzer is the ace of this club, and the National League’s back-to-back Cy Young Award winner for a reason. And that reason was

Wieters to rehab with Potomac, Severino could stay with Nats

Assuming all goes well during a brief rehab assignment with Single-A Potomac, the Nationals expect to have Matt Wieters back on their active roster Thursday when he becomes eligible to return from the 10-day disabled list. At which point they are going to face a dilemma involving the emerging Pedro Severino. Wieters, out since April 2 with a mild left oblique strain, worked out on

Game 10 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

It’s one thing to lose five in a row. It’s another thing to lose five in a row to the two division rivals that currently sit above you in the standings. That has added a bit of significance to the Nationals’ current slide, which leaves them at 4-5 overall and 3 1/2 games behind the Mets, two games behind the Braves (the two teams they’ve

Nightmare sequence with two outs ruins Roark’s outing

In some respects, Tanner Roark was thrilled with the way he pitched Sunday night. Why wouldn’t the right-hander be happy with nine strikeouts in five innings? And yet, there was that fateful stretch of four batters in the top of the third that ultimately defined his start and made everything else secondary. Roark had recorded two quick outs to begin the inning. Then came the

Outs on the bases haunt Nationals during 12-inning loss

Pick your reasons for the Nationals’ latest loss to the Mets, this one by a 6-5 count in 12 innings. Point to Tanner Roark walking the bases loaded in the top of the third and then serving up a grand slam to Adrián González on his next pitch. Mention Brandon Kintzler taking the loss for the second straight day and surrendering a run for the

Nats lose to Mets in 12, get swept and fall below .500 mark

The Nationals can’t say they didn’t keep giving themselves opportunities to beat the Mets tonight and avoid a disheartening, early-season, three-game sweep at the hands of their division rivals. All the opportunities in the world, though, mean nothing if you can’t deliver in those situations. Or, at the very least, not commit baserunning blunders every 15 minutes or so. So it was that the Nats

Murphy still needs a week of running before playing games

Daniel Murphy’s advancement in daily workouts - running sprints in the outfield, taking full rounds of batting practice and grounders at second base - may suggest the rehabbing Nationals veteran is nearly ready to begin playing in games. To anyone who is having that notion right now, manager Davey Martinez wants you to start pumping the brakes a bit. Despite the significant progress he’s made

Game 9 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

It’s been a very pleasant, if just a bit chilly, afternoon here in the nation’s capital. Would’ve been a great day for a ballgame. Unfortunately the Nationals and Mets don’t play til 8:08 p.m., after the sun has gone down and the temperatures drop. It’s going to be in the low 40s for most of tonight’s game, maybe even dipping into the 30s before the

Kintzler struggles again, Severino surprises at the plate

After a disastrous appearance Thursday that was capped by a grand slam, Brandon Kintzler vowed to get back to throwing his bread-and-butter pitch (sinker) instead of the off-speed pitch (slider) he inexplicably relied too much on that afternoon. The good news about Kintzler’s return to the mound Saturday: He threw only one slider among the 15 pitches he threw during the top of the seventh.

Rendon, Nats lament quick ejection during latest loss

Anthony Rendon didn’t say a word - “I don’t think my mouth even opened to chew gum,” the mild-mannered Nationals third baseman said - but it was his actions and not his words in the third inning of today’s 3-2 loss to the Mets that caught plate umpire Marty Foster’s ire. When Foster saw Rendon step out of the batter’s box after Steven Matz’s 2-1

Frustrated Nats drop fourth straight, fall 3-2 to Mets

They kept their composure during three straight losses. By the fourth, the Nationals couldn’t hold back their frustration any longer. Particularly with an umpire with a healthy strike zone on a cold afternoon in the District. Today’s 3-2 loss to the Mets, in which the tying and go-ahead runs were scored off reliever Brandon Kintzler in the top of the seventh, leaves the Nationals with

Rendon, Martinez ejected arguing strike three call (Nats lose 3-2)

For all his mild-mannered appearances in interviews, Davey Martinez has insisted all along he can get riled up with the best of them when he gets upset. And he just proved it in the bottom of the third inning at Nationals Park. Moments after Anthony Rendon was ejected following a borderline strike three call by plate umpire Marty Foster, Martinez came storming out of the

Cole pushed back, Hellickson still in Florida

A.J. Cole will remain in the Nationals rotation for now. But he’ll be pushed back a couple of days. With Jeremy Hellickson continuing to breathe down his neck. Friday’s off-day afforded the Nats the opportunity to adjust their rotation, and they’ve decided to have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg remain on a five-day schedule and start Monday and Tuesday against the Braves. Cole now will

Romero designated, Montero goes on paternity list

The combination of a short bench, better-than-expected weather and the pending birth of a player’s child led the Nationals to make a flurry of roster moves before today’s game against the Mets. Already playing with a four-man bench to begin the season, the club was facing the possibility of even fewer options after Adam Eaton tweaked his ankle during Thursday’s home opener. Though the dynamic

Game 8 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

It’s cold. It’s gray. It’s windy. But it’s dry at Nationals Park, and it appears it’s going to stay that way the rest of the day. So there will indeed be baseball this afternoon, the second game of this weekend series against the Mets, who are off to a 5-1 start and the (extremely early) top spot in the National League East division. Given the

Kintzler regrets using off-speed pitches in four-run inning

The vast majority of Brandon Kintzler’s appearances this season should come with the Nationals leading, or perhaps tied, late in games. But the right-hander hadn’t pitched in a week, and with the club off Friday, manager Davey Martinez wanted to make sure he and fellow bullpen stalwarts Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle got some work in Thursday regardless of the score. So it was that

Friday morning Nats Q&A

So I sense a little bit of angst out there among the Nationals faithful. Is that a fair reading of public opinion following three straight losses, including Thursday’s 8-2 dud against the Mets in the home opener? The Nationals looked great for four games; they’ve looked far-from-great in three games since. The top of the order is hitting, the rest of the lineup, not so

Eaton tweaks ankle, but expects to return in a day or two

It was both a wonderful sight to behold while simultaneously leaving 42,477 people inside Nationals Park holding their collective breaths. Adam Eaton being waved around third base on a double into the left field corner? How long has everyone been waiting for that moment since that fateful night nearly one year ago when the Nationals outfielder tore his left ACL tripping over first base against

Nats drop third straight 8-2 in dud of a home opener

There’s a long way to go, a really long way, and nobody should give more than a cursory look at the standings on April 5, when the temperatures are in the low 40s and there’s snow in the weekend forecast. But if you do happen to glance at the National League East tally right now, you might notice the team sitting atop the division doesn’t

Rizzo glad to get extension finalized, avoid distraction

Though he might not have been worried about his contract status, Mike Rizzo sensed it was starting to become a topic of conversation within the Nationals clubhouse. So when the opportunity arose this week to get a two-year extension finalized, the longtime general manager felt the time was right. “I thought it was important for the team not to have this as a distraction,” Rizzo

Game 7 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Hello from South Capitol Street, at long last. Yes, after a six-game road trip to begin the season - and then quite a disastrous commute into the city this morning - the Nationals are here and ready for their 2018 home opener. They come home having won four straight in Cincinnati and Atlanta before then dropping the final two games of the series against the

Nationals sign GM Mike Rizzo to two-year extension

On the heels of a quick start to the season and just hours before they host their home opener on South Capitol Street, the Nationals have locked up the architect of their franchise and resolved one of their most pressing questions that loomed over the club all winter and spring. The Nats announced this morning they have signed Mike Rizzo to a two-year contract extension,

Heavily used Madson delivers in an emergency for Nats

CINCINNATI - The plan was to give both Brandon Kintzler and Ryan Madson the day off. Both had pitched in Friday’s season opener. Both had warmed up in the bullpen during Saturday’s nailbiter, even though neither was needed in the game. But when Sammy Solís failed to retire the first four Reds batters he faced in the bottom of the eighth Sunday evening, and with

With quick strikes from the top, Nats lineup feasts all weekend

CINCINNATI - There were home runs, four of them during today’s 6-5 victory over the Reds, and four more during Saturday’s blowout win. The Nationals are going to hit a lot of home runs this season, given the thunder they have up and down their lineup. But everything they did offensively this weekend during a season-opening sweep at Great American Ball Park began with one

Nats again score early, never look back to complete sweep

CINCINNATI - At some point this season, a Nationals pitcher will take the mound with his team trailing. Or even tied. That point, though, did not come during the club’s three-game weekend series against the Reds. No, thanks to top-of-the-first runs in all three games at Great American Ball Park, Nationals starters never once stood on the mound with anything but a lead. And thanks

Pitcher batting eighth for first time since 2011 (Nats win 6-5)

CINCINNATI - In their first 13 seasons of existence, the Nationals submitted a starting lineup with their pitcher batting eighth only 11 times, all of them coming in succession in mid-June 2011. Unable to find a consistently effective leadoff man, former manager Jim Riggleman decided to shake things up, move Jayson Werth to the No. 1 spot, slide everybody else up a slot and bat

Solís delivers big outs in first relief opportunity

CINCINNATI - Davey Martinez knows he can’t rely exclusively on his three best relievers this season, especially early on when workloads have to more diligently be monitored. Someone else from the eight-man ‘pen is going to have to step up and deliver in key situations. So consider Saturday’s performance by Sammy Solís a significant one, not only for the role it played in the Nationals’

Game 3 lineups: Nats at Reds

CINCINNATI - To the best of my knowledge, the Nationals have batted the pitcher eighth only 11 times in club history. All of those came in succession during a stretch in June 2011, when then-manager Jim Riggleman didn’t have a real viable leadoff hitter and decided to just bump everyone else up a slot and have Jayson Werth at the top. The Nats proceeded to

Goodwin makes most of his start with first career grand slam

CINCINNATI - Brian Goodwin got to be a part of some significant moments last year, the first time the young outfielder was on a big league roster for an extended stretch. He led off two games for the Nationals with home runs. He gave his team late leads with clutch hits. He made the postseason roster. When asked Saturday where his ninth-inning grand slam during

« March 2018 | Main Index | Archives | May 2018 »