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Same lineup, old results for Nats in 3-2 loss to Phillies (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - When Chip Hale asked Davey Martinez for tonight’s lineup, the Nationals manager looked at his bench coach with a skeptical eye. Uh, they scored 17 runs and launched seven homers Friday night. They were going with the exact same lineup tonight, no need to ask. Past success, especially fleeting past success, of course does not guarantee future success. Martinez knew this, but he

Notes on Zimmerman, Read, Strasburg, Robles, Ross (Nats lose 3-2)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals made another set of transactions today in addition to the ones that allowed Jeremy Hellickson to come off the disabled list at the expense of Sammy Solís. They also moved Ryan Zimmerman to the 60-day DL so they could reinstate minor league catcher Raudy Read after he completed his 80-game suspension for a positive drug test. Read, whose suspension was handed

Solís surprised, upset by demotion to Triple-A

PHILADELPHIA - Sammy Solís knew the Nationals were going to need to drop one of their nine relievers today to make room for starter Jeremy Hellickson. He just didn’t expect to be the one who got dropped. Solís, though, was the only one of those nine relievers on the current roster who still had a remaining option and thus could be sent to the minors

Game 81 lineups: Nats at Phillies (Solís optioned)

PHILADELPHIA - What do you do after hitting seven homers and exploding for 17 runs? Trot out the same lineup the next night, right? That’s what Davey Martinez is doing tonight, going with the same batting order from Friday night’s win over the Phillies. There is one change, of course, and that’s the return of Jeremy Hellickson from a strained hamstring. The veteran right-hander, who

Fedde labors but gets long-awaited first career win

PHILADELPHIA - Erick Fedde was well aware of the situation. He had started seven previous big league games and had yet to emerge with a win in any of them. “I mean, it was a thought,” the rookie right-hander admitted. “Not something ever when I was out on the field. Maybe when I get back home. But it’s really nice to get that first one

Nats flip the script with seven homers in 17-7 win (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - Answering a question this afternoon after his team’s dramatic drop in home runs during this long and frustrating month, Davey Martinez offered up a different cure for the Nationals’ offensive woes. “If you’ve noticed the days we’ve actually had good at-bats, we’ve hit a lot of balls up the middle,” the manager said. “And the approach was like that. There’s a lot of

Power stroke returns in rapid fire in Philly (Nats win 17-7)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals entered play tonight dead-last in the majors with only 12 home runs hit this month. Two innings later, they’ve taken over sole possession of 29th place, and they’re only one away from moving into a tie for 28th. Three big blasts by Trea Turner, Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon have brought this previously moribund lineup to life and allowed the Nats

Will Nats convince Zimmerman to go on rehab assignment?

PHILADELPHIA - Ryan Zimmerman took the unusual step this afternoon of walking into the visitors’ bullpen at Citizens Bank Park with a bat in hand. The purpose: To stand in the batter’s box as both Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez threw pitches during their standard between-starts bullpen session. “Just trying to see pitches as much as I can,” said Zimmerman, who has been on the

Game 80 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals have gotten into a habit of doing virtually nothing at the plate for much of a ballgame and then trying to mount a furious rally late. That strategy worked once (Sunday night at home against the Phillies) but has failed several other times (most recently Thursday night here at Citizens Bank Park). So perhaps they’ll see if they can generate something

New-look Roark gets better, if not perfect, results

PHILADELPHIA - First things first, and the first thing everyone noticed about Tanner Roark when he took the mound Thursday night was the major alteration he made to his facial hair. Having sported a thick beard for several years now, the right-hander suddenly showed up with a mustache and sharp-angled sideburns, a look best described as a parody of a style popular in the 1970s.

Nats drop opener of key series in Philly 4-3 (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - Davey Martinez wasn’t afraid to admit it. “We’ve got some pretty big games coming up, some teams that are doing really well,” the Nationals manager said this afternoon. “What I’d really like for them to see is to kind of play with a sense of urgency. This is a time right now where we can make up some ground and do some good

Roark laboring again in opener vs. Phillies (Nats lose 4-3)

PHILADELPHIA - Tanner Roark has a new look adorning his face, but his performance on the mound so far tonight unfortunately has looked too familiar to the Nationals. Roark, who shaved off his large beard but retained a thick mustache and sharp-angled sideburns for tonight’s start against the Phillies, has been laboring on the mound from the get-go and appears headed for another quick exit.

Strasburg close to bullpen session, plus Zimmerman news

PHILADELPHIA - Stephen Strasburg continues progress in his return from a shoulder injury and appears to be a few days away from throwing off a mound for the first time since landing on the disabled list. Strasburg, three weeks removed from his last outing for the Nationals, threw pitches off flat ground in the outfield at Citizens Bank Park this afternoon, ramping up from the

Game 79 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - A big series? During the final weekend of June? For the Nationals, well, yeah I think it’s safe to say this qualifies. Having lost nine of their last 12 games, including back-to-back shutouts at Tampa Bay earlier this week, the Nats come to Citizens Bank Park desperate to get back on track. To do that, they’ll have to play well in a four-game

After calling it a career, Werth’s legacy in D.C. is complete

Jayson Werth always insisted he could play well into his 40s, that as a late bloomer who didn’t become a big league regular until his late 20s and someone who was big into nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, he was uniquely positioned to continue his playing career beyond the norm. And no doubt Werth still believed that deep in his heart when he went

Clearly defined roles coming to back end of Nationals bullpen

Very soon - perhaps as soon as Monday, if right-hander Brandon Kintzler gets through his minor league rehabilitation assignment this afternoon with Single-A Potomac without any issues - the Nationals will be able to set up their bullpen with the goal of shortening games to six or seven innings. That will require the back end relievers - Kintzler, righties Ryan Madson and Kelvin Herrera, and

Little mistakes haunt Nationals, Fedde in 5-3 loss to Phillies

Spend even a few minutes around Nationals manager Davey Martinez and you quickly realize how much he craves attention to detail. No action is too small to be rushed through or done poorly. Pay attention to the small stuff, and you’ll prosper; ignore it, and you invite fate to intercede, usually in the worst possible way. The little things loomed large in Saturday’s 5-3 loss

Phils’ two-out rally ups Fedde’s pitch count (Nats fall 5-3)

Erick Fedde cruised through the first five hitters he faced Saturday afternoon, but then the Phillies nickel-and-dimed the right-hander to death, stringing together four straight singles in the second inning to forge a 2-2 tie. Scott Kingery’s infield single to short prolonged the inning and set the stage for the rally. Maikel Franco dropped a single into left field and then Jorge Alfaro’s single to

Zimmerman “about a week away” from rehab stint, Martinez says

Nationals manager Davey Martinez says injured first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 12 (retroactive to May 10) with a right oblique strain, is progressing in his recovery and could be “about a week away” from beginning a minor league rehabilitation assignment, assuming he doesn’t encounter a setback. “He’s missed a lot of time,” Martinez said before the

Game 75 lineups: Phillies at Nats

With a glut of healthy outfielders, it was a forgone conclusion that Michael A. Taylor would be the odd man out. Bryce Harper needs to play to get untracked, Juan Soto continues to sizzle and Adam Eaton can be a difference-maker at the top of the Nationals lineup when healthy. But instead of being the square peg trying to fit into the proverbial round hole,

Nats say it’s still early, but they should beware recent history

After losing a mid-June game in frustrating fashion and staring up at two teams in front of them in the standings for the first time, the Nationals manager insisted this was no time to panic. “I don’t worry about that,” the skipper said. “It’s a little too early for me to start watching the scoreboard.” After a different mid-June loss that left them hovering just

Nats thumped by Phillies 12-2 in opener, drop into third place

It’s not a make-or-break series, not in late June, but if the Nationals wanted to remind the Phillies in tonight’s weekend opener on South Capitol Street that they’re still top dogs in the division, they didn’t do a particularly convincing job. With another laborious and ineffective start from Tanner Roark and another lackluster performance from their lineup, the Nats were roughed up by rivals from

Strasburg throwing again, Hellickson ready for start at Potomac

Two weeks removed from his last start, Stephen Strasburg is throwing again, his right shoulder inflammation having cleared up enough to allow the Nationals right-hander to get back to baseball activities. Strasburg has thrown off flat ground in the outfield twice this week, most recently this afternoon. It was only a light game of catch, and there are several steps left for him to take

Game 74 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

So, as you know, it’s been raining all day here in town. But as I type this, the rain has mostly halted, and they’re currently working on the infield with the tarp off. And the forecast suggests that perhaps they can actually start tonight’s game on time, though it probably won’t stay dry all evening. In other words ... your guess is as good as

Previewing a weekend series with the Phillies

Hard as this may be to believe, the Nationals’ season is nearly half complete. They’ve now played 72 games, a full 44.4 percent of the regular season. Just as hard to believe, the Nats have only played three games to date against the Phillies, their geographically closest division rivals. And they haven’t even been to Citizens Bank Park yet in 2018 (that will finally happen

With “unbelievable poise,” Soto delivers from cleanup spot

Among the plethora of compliments bestowed upon Juan Soto in his first month in the big leagues, perhaps this latest one from the mouth of his manager tonight is most meaningful. “He’s got unbelievable poise,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said, “no matter what the situation is.” Martinez already knew that before Soto stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth tonight, the Nats’

Harper sets table, Soto drives him in to secure Nats’ 4-2 win

When the Nationals really needed to deliver a late rally to pull out a close ballgame, they turned to Bryce Harper to set the table and Juan Soto to drive him in. Hey, these are strange times in the nation’s capital. What used to work can’t be counted on to work anymore. Sometimes you’ve got to try something different. Davey Martinez did just that tonight,

Kintzler, Hellickson ready for rehab assignments

Brandon Kintzler and Jeremy Hellickson each have passed significant throwing tests in the last few days and now are set to face minor league hitters this weekend in a final tune-up before returning to the Nationals’ active roster. Kintzler threw a bullpen session Wednesday, his first since going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right forearm. The reliever focused on throwing

Soto working on defensive form to match hitting stroke

Juan Soto reached the big leagues in near-record time because of his supremely advanced offensive skills. The Nationals knew his defensive skills in the outfield weren’t on par at this point, but they figured that would come with time. Now that Soto appears to be here to stay, though, the Nats are trying to give him a crash course in some fundamentals in left field.

Long night ends with Nats shut out for fourth time in nine games

The diehard few who decided to wait out a 2-hour, 43-minute rain delay tonight at Nationals Park were rewarded for their patience with an offer from the club to move down to the best seats in the house for the final five innings of this game. By night’s end, you couldn’t help but wonder if those fans would happily have remained in their original nosebleed

Nats fall behind before rain strikes in fourth (lose 3-0)

With a major line of storms approaching from the west, the Nationals and Orioles got underway on time tonight, both clubs fully aware the odds of nine innings being played before the rain hit were dubious. And so this may have become a race to get five innings in, ensuring this would be an official game in the event it could not be continued. Which

Martinez insists Taylor will play despite recent stretch on bench

There has been no more productive hitter on the Nationals roster over the last two weeks than Michael A. Taylor. Since June 6, he’s sporting a monstrous .545/.600/.636 offensive slash line, tops on the roster in each of those categories. So why has the hottest hitter on the team started only six of the team’s 12 games during this stretch, none of the last three?

Game 72 lineups: Nats vs. Orioles

The Nationals scored nine runs last night, so you can understand why Davey Martinez is going with the same lineup tonight (aside from a swap of catchers, and of course pitchers). That does mean, however, that Michael A. Taylor is again on the bench, despite the fact he’s 12-for-22 with a .600 on-base percentage and 1.236 OPS the last two weeks. That lineup is going

Eaton getting more comfortable every day, at plate and in field

Nearly all of Adam Eaton’s tenure with the Nationals has been spent trying to get comfortable, whether that was in the form of assimilating into a new roster and clubhouse last season or twice trying to get back into daily action after missing significant time due to injury. It’s an ongoing process, but through it all the dynamic outfielder has remained a consistently productive hitter.

Nats secure first season series win over O’s since 2007 (updated)

The hits finally came, in rapid succession, both from guys who have been hitting recently and from guys who haven’t been doing it for a while. And then after turning the rest of the game over to their newly reconfigured bullpen, the Nationals looked like the best version of themselves again, outlasting the Orioles for a 9-7 victory that ensured a small bit of history

Adams lands on DL with fractured left index finger

Just when it looked like they were getting healthier, the Nationals found out today they’re losing another key regular for some time. Matt Adams, who while trying to bunt Friday in Toronto took a pitch off his left hand, has been diagnosed with a fractured left index finger and placed on the 10-day disabled list. The Nationals aren’t offering any firm timetable for Adams to

Game 71 lineups: Nats vs. Orioles

It was scorching hot this afternoon ... and then a storm of biblical proportions broke out and doused the entire area. What does that mean for tonight’s opener of Part 2 of the Battle of the Beltways at Nationals Park? Stay tuned, but it does appear as though the rain will be clearing out before scheduled first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Assuming that first pitch

Roster decisions await Nationals before tonight’s game

Monday was an eventful day on South Capitol Street. The Nationals split a pseudo-doubleheader with the Yankees. Juan Soto hit a home run five days before making his major league debut. Kelvin Herrera was acquired from the Royals for three minor leaguers. Today might not quite rival that, but it figures to be a newsworthy day at the ballpark nonetheless, with multiple roster moves on

Relievers thrilled with trade for Herrera, who will set up Doolittle

Kelvin Herrera has been among the best closers in the American League this season, one of the best relievers, period, in the majors for several seasons. Sean Doolittle has been among the best closers in the National League this season, one of the best relievers, period, in the majors for several seasons. They’re now teammates, along with Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler, each a proven

Nats acquire Royals closer Herrera for three minor leaguers

Seeking to bolster their bullpen with another proven late-inning reliever, the Nationals have finalized a deal for Royals closer Kevin Herrera, the club announced this evening. The Nationals will be sending three minor leaguers to Kansas City for Herrera, the 28-year-old right-hander with 57 career saves and a 1.05 ERA in 27 appearances this season. Included in the package are third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez (rated

Soto’s latest blast propels Nats to long-awaited win over Yanks (updated)

The visiting Yankees took the field first in their gray road uniforms, a reliever trotting from the dugout to the mound. The home Nationals, in their red alternate jerseys, sent Bryce Harper into the on-deck circle to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning of a game that began a month earlier. And then a rookie outfielder who went 3-for-4 with an RBI for

Hellickson ready to face live hitters again

The Nationals appear close to getting one of their injured rotation members back, though they’ll still need to call upon a minor leaguer for Tuesday’s start against the Orioles. Jeremy Hellickson, on the disabled list since June 3 with a strained right hamstring, went through what he referred to as “probably the last step” in his recovery today, fielding bunts and running to cover first

A primer for tonight’s unusual, sort-of doubleheader

No two days at the ballpark are ever alike, but it’s safe to say today at Nationals Park isn’t going to be like any previous day in the stadium’s 10-year history. What was originally supposed to be an off-day on the schedule instead turned into an unusual, pseudo-doubleheader against the Yankees, thanks to a whole lot of rain when the Bronx Bombers were in town

Wild game ends with rare homers off Madson, sweep in Toronto

TORONTO - As wild and wacky and frustrating and exhilarating as today’s ballgame at Rogers Centre was, the sight of Ryan Madson on the mound in the bottom of the eighth had to be as comforting a thought as the Nationals were going to get. Madson was simply being asked to keep a back-and-forth game tied and give his teammates a chance to mount a

Adams still out, Eaton off, Harper will DH (Nats lose 8-6)

TORONTO - Davey Martinez went into the weekend with a plan for his lineup, who would get days off and who would get opportunities to serve as designated hitter. But Matt Adams’ injury Friday night and the lineup’s continued struggles forced the Nationals manager to make some tweaks for today’s series finale against the Blue Jays. With Adams still sidelined - “he’s doing better today,”

Game 68 lineups: Nats at Blue Jays

TORONTO - It’s a glorious Father’s Day here in Canada (and, yes, they celebrate it here, too) but it hasn’t been a glorious road trip for the Nationals, who have gone 1-3 so far against the Yankees and Blue Jays and have been shut out twice. They’ll need to bounce back this afternoon if they want to avoid a weekend sweep at the hands

Martinez’s key for Harper to break out of slump: less work

TORONTO - Ask Bryce Harper how he feels at the plate right now, and he’ll insist everything’s fine. “I feel great,” he said yesterday. “Just missing pitches.” Harper is missing a lot of pitches, though. In 12 games so far this month, he’s batting .163 with one homer, three RBIs, four walks, 20 strikeouts and a .498 OPS that ranks 169th out of 184 qualified

Nats shut out for third time in five games, lose 2-0 (updated)

TORONTO - The Nationals, as currently constructed, know they have to win on the broad shoulders of their pitching staff, especially ace Max Scherzer. They also know there isn’t a pitching performance in the history of baseball that could overcome a string of nine zeros by their lineup. And so it didn’t matter that Scherzer today recorded the 74th double-digit strikeout game of his career,

Adams’ finger in splint, X-rays inconclusive (Nats lose 2-0)

TORONTO - Matt Adams, as surmised, is not in the Nationals lineup this afternoon. Now the club can only wait to find out how many more games (if any) the slugger is going to need to miss with an injured left index finger. Adams, who was struck by a pitch while squaring around to bunt Friday night, had an X-ray taken after the game, the

Game 67 lineups: Nats at Blue Jays

TORONTO - The Nationals’ unfamiliarity with Rogers Centre cost them during Friday night’s 6-5 loss. Perhaps now that they’ve experienced this unique ballpark a little bit, they won’t be victimized by it in the second game of their weekend series with the Blue Jays. It doesn’t hurt, of course, to have Max Scherzer on the mound. The ace has made four prior starts here in

On Adams’ swollen finger and Eaton’s quick out in the ninth

TORONTO - Matt Adams finished the at-bat, and he played another inning in the field, but deep down the Nationals first baseman knew his left index finger was in no real condition to continue playing after it was struck by a pitch in the top of the second Friday night. “I mean, I knew from the get-go it was bad, but I wanted to do

Against a late Canadian dusk, a lost ball costs the Nats

TORONTO - The ball came off Teoscar Hernández’s bat, went high in the air toward right field and left just about everyone inside Rogers Centre assuming it would fall harmlessly into Adam Eaton’s glove for the first out in the bottom of the seventh. Alas, both Eaton and Gio Gonzalez knew otherwise. Because each knew the same thing: They had no clue where the ball

Misplay in right, subsequent homer send Nats to 6-5 loss to Jays

TORONTO - The Nationals put themselves in a position to win tonight’s series opener at Rogers Centre with a late rally, but it would have required spotless relief and airtight defense, and they received neither. A misplay in right field by Adam Eaton in the bottom of the seventh turned a routine fly ball into a costly double, and Justin Miller’s first poor relief outing

Adams departs after taking pitch off left hand (Nats lose 6-5)

TORONTO - Matt Adams had been one of the few members of the Nationals lineup to avoid injury so far this season. Add the big first baseman to the list now. Adams had to depart tonight’s game before the bottom of the third, one inning after he took a pitch off his left hand while squaring around to bunt the previous inning. Leading off the

Lineup, outfield decisions for Martinez this weekend

TORONTO - A week’s worth of games in American League ballparks is allowing Davey Martinez to ease Daniel Murphy into action as designated hitter, but it’s also forcing the Nationals manager to sit one of his four healthy starting-caliber outfielders, creating daily lineup decisions. With right-hander Aaron Sanchez starting for the Blue Jays in tonight’s series opener at Rogers Centre, Martinez is sticking with the

Game 66 lineups: Nats at Blue Jays

TORONTO - A very pleasant good day to you from Rogers Centre, where the Nationals are making their first appearance since 2012, when their 19-year-old slugger was asked a clown question by a Canadian reporter. What does this weekend have in store for the lads in curly W caps? The Nats face a reeling Blue Jays club that opened the season 13-6 and has since

Friday morning news and notes from Toronto

TORONTO - Some Friday morning news and notes for you as the Nationals prepare to play their first series north of the border since a 19-year-old Bryce Harper was asked a “clown question” back in 2012 ... * Erick Fedde’s second big league start of the season was less impressive than his first start, but this one was a far tougher assignment. After getting his

An ownership change in name, but not in intentions

TORONTO - From the day he purchased the Nationals from Major League Baseball in 2006, Ted Lerner made it clear this would - and always would - be a family-run operation. Though the patriarch of one of the wealthiest and most influential families in Washington would have final say over any organizational decisions, he insisted none would be made without consultation of the seven other

With Miller’s surprising emergence, Nats bullpen a strength again

NEW YORK - Juan Soto stole the show Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. But let’s not ignore the job the Nationals bullpen did to ensure Soto’s two homers made the difference in a 5-4 victory instead of being mere footnotes in another frustrating loss. After starter Erick Fedde departed, having allowed four runs in five innings, the quartet of Justin Miller, Sammy Solís, Ryan Madson

Soto’s star shines brighter than ever in Nats’ win (updated)

NEW YORK - Under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium, a young left-handed slugger from Washington wowed a crowd of 45,030 (and the assembled New York media) with a prodigious display of power that surely left plenty around here dreaming he might someday wear the fabled pinstripes. And we’re not talking about Bryce Harper, folks. No, the star slugger on this evening was Juan Soto,

Scoreless streak ends at 19 innings (Nats win 5-4)

NEW YORK - The Nationals’ scoreless streak has mercifully come to an end. With a top-of-the-first rally tonight at Yankee Stadium, the Nats plated their first run since Saturday, snapping their streak at 19 consecutive scoreless innings. Adam Eaton got things started with a leadoff double off Sonny Gray, then advanced to third on Trea Turner’s infield single. Turner promptly stole second base, recording the

Murphy, Harper healthy after Tuesday’s game and back in lineup

NEW YORK - Davey Martinez met with Daniel Murphy earlier today to check on the veteran’s health status coming out of his season debut Tuesday night. Murphy told him his surgically repaired knee felt fine, but the manager probably didn’t need that confirmation. By simply watching Murphy’s postgame routine, he knew he was good to go. Fifteen minutes after the Nationals’ 3-0 loss to the

Game 65 lineups: Nats at Yankees

NEW YORK - The Nationals have been shut out in back-to-back games for the 12th time in club history. They’ve never been shut out in back-to-back-to-back games, so there’s the minimum bar for success in tonight’s series finale at Yankee Stadium. After flailing away at C.C. Sabathia and three Yankees relievers Tuesday night, the Nats will get a shot tonight at right-hander Sonny Gray, who

Why Nats didn’t retaliate for Harper plunkings

NEW YORK - Some more thoughts and reactions from Tuesday night’s 3-0 loss to the Yankees, plus a look ahead to tonight’s game in the Bronx ... * A good number of fans wanted to know why the Nationals didn’t immediately retaliate after Bryce Harper was twice hit by pitches late in the game. To which I’d reply: Harper wasn’t upset by any of it.

Harper OK after getting hit, Nats lineup not OK after latest shutout

NEW YORK - The scene - Bryce Harper getting hit by a pitch on his left foot, taking a few steps toward first base and then retreating to the dugout before a Nationals trainer could even emerge to check on him - looked bad, not only to the casual observer watching the game but to the man who suddenly had to find a replacement for

Fortified Nats lineup loses Harper to injury, gets shut out again

NEW YORK - Though their lineup is not yet at full strength, the return of Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy in recent days did give the Nationals batting order a more formidable look for the first time all season. The results, though, were painfully familiar tonight, no matter who had been added to the mix. The Nationals were shut out for the second straight game,

Fedde lined up to face Yankees on Wednesday (Nats lose 3-0)

NEW YORK - Though they weren’t ready to announce anything this afternoon, the Nationals are preparing to recall Erick Fedde from Triple-A Syracuse and send the right-hander to the mound for Wednesday’s series finale at Yankee Stadium. Stephen Strasburg would have been scheduled to make the start, but he departed his last outing with shoulder inflammation and was subsequently placed on the disabled list. Fedde

Pretty or not, Murphy ready to play in big league games

NEW YORK - Daniel Murphy and the Nationals know there are going to be times when the veteran second baseman appears to be less than 100 percent comfortable running the bases or making plays in the field, even eight months removed from microfracture surgery on his right knee. What both sides also know, though, is this: No matter how many styles points he loses, Murphy’s

Game 64 lineups: Nats at Yankees

NEW YORK - Hello from Yankee Stadium, where the Nationals face the best team in baseball the next two nights and will take that team on with their best hitter in the lineup for the first time this season. Yes, Daniel Murphy has been activated off the disabled list and is making his 2018 debut at long last, nearly eight months removed from microfracture surgery

Murphy activated, will make season debut tonight

NEW YORK - As they prepare to open a two-game series against the owners of the best record in the majors, the Nationals at long last have their best pure hitter in the lineup for the first time this season. Daniel Murphy, finally recovered from October microfracture surgery on his right knee, has been activated off the disabled list and will play tonight when the

How many Nats are likely to make the All-Star team?

The Nationals have been well represented at the All-Star Game in recent years, sending four players to the 2012 game, two apiece in 2013, 2014 and 2015, then five each of the last two years. And with the 2018 Midsummer Classic taking place right on South Capitol Street, this is a golden opportunity for the franchise to showcase its depth of talent on a national

Will returning vets help bring consistency to Nats lineup?

The Nationals rank in the middle of the pack in most offensive categories right now. They’re sixth in the National League in runs scored per game (4.4), 10th in batting average (.237), eighth in on-base percentage (.316) and eighth in slugging percentage (.403), though tied for third in home runs (78). What’s more notable, though, may be the path they’ve taken to get to this

Nats are silent at plate, lose 2-0 on homer allowed by Scherzer

Brilliant as he is usually is, Max Scherzer isn’t perfect. He’s allotted one or two mistakes per game. The hope is that the rest of the Nationals can simply do their part to make Scherzer’s human moments inconsequential. They were not able to do that today. And as a result, Scherzer’s one mistake proved the difference in the game. Brandon Crawford’s two-run homer in the

Murphy making trip with Nats, could be activated Tuesday

Daniel Murphy was back at Nationals Park this morning. He’ll accompany the Nationals tonight on their train ride to New York. The only remaining question: Will he be on the active roster Tuesday night when they face the Yankees? The Nationals haven’t made that decision yet, but they appear to be preparing for the possibility, assuming Murphy’s surgically repaired right knee feels fine over the

Game 63 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

The Nationals usually play Sunday home games at 1:35 p.m. Except for the day after their annual Dream Foundation Gala. Wanting to give everyone some extra time to, uh, recover from that evening event, they push back the following day’s game until 4:05 p.m. It makes sense. Except on a day like today, when the skies are forecasted to be dry early in the afternoon

The Caps and The Cup get their day at Nationals Park

The Cup first made its way into the bowels of Nationals Park shortly before 11 a.m., safely stored inside its personalized black trunk. By the time its full tour of the ballpark was complete, it had been unveiled, polished, stood in the Nats’ clubhouse, the press conference room, been carried around the infield by Alex Ovechkin and then watched this afternoon’s game against the Giants

Shoulder injury leaves Strasburg, Nats waiting for MRI results

At various points in his career, Stephen Strasburg has missed time with injuries to his elbow, back, neck, lat and oblique. Only once, though, has he missed any time due to a shoulder injury, and that one was as minor as they get. You have to go all the way back to the night of July 28, 2010, the night a rookie Strasburg had trouble

Strasburg leaves with early injury, Nats fall to Giants in opener

A sellout crowd of 41,591, the vast majority wearing red and more boisterous than usual thanks to the good vibes still permeating through the city after Thursday night’s Stanley Cup celebration, filed into Nationals Park this evening ready to celebrate the local baseball team. Two innings in, that crowd was murmuring and lamenting an all-too-familiar sight from this town’s pre-championship days: the early departure of

Eaton on verge of returning to Nationals lineup

Adam Eaton was back at Nationals Park this afternoon. And all signs point to the outfielder being in the Nationals lineup Saturday afternoon. Eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list today, Eaton remained inactive as he went through a full pregame workout with his teammates before tonight’s series opener against the Giants. But manager Davey Martinez strongly suggested the transaction will happen within the

Game 61 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

So, there’s a sporting event taking place tonight in Washington. It’s not as big as some other sporting events that have been going on in town of late. But it’s not bad, either, with the first-place Nationals hosting the Giants in the opener of a three-game weekend series, one that could feature a cameo appearance by Lord Stanley himself at some point. Stephen Strasburg gets

As Caps finally proved, D.C. can be a championship town

I really didn’t have much of an opinion of Washington as a sports town before I moved here in 2001. I knew the Redskins had won three Super Bowls and were the biggest deal in this city. I knew the Capitals made the playoffs most years and had been swept by the Red Wings in the 1998 Stanley Cup Final. To be honest, I didn’t

With Eaton nearing return, how will Nats configure outfield?

When the Nationals promoted Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg 18 days ago, which came only 10 days after he had been promoted from high-Single-A Potomac, which came only 17 days after he had been promoted from low-Single-A Hagerstown, they did so out of desperation. Injuries to Adam Eaton, Howie Kendrick, Brian Goodwin, Victor Robles and Rafael Bautista had ravaged the Nationals outfield, so much so

With better approach, Nats enjoy best offensive day in weeks

It wasn’t simply that the Nationals scored 11 runs today, five of those in the first inning. It was the fact that they scored those 11 runs without a single ball reaching the bleachers. And that 10 of those runs were scored via hits that landed either in center or the opposite field. Davey Martinez couldn’t have drawn up a better game plan for success

Nationals score early and often in 11-2 rout of Rays

Davey Martinez wanted early offense via more walks and more quality at-bats. He got that and then some this afternoon as the Nationals cruised to a two-game sweep of the Rays. Behind a five-run first inning that included everything their manager asked for and more, the Nationals took a quick lead on Tampa Bay and then kept the pressure on all afternoon to earn an

Martinez seeks more walks from Harper (Nats win 11-2)

Bryce Harper leads all National League hitters with 18 home runs. That’s a good thing. He’s tied for 50th in hits. That’s not such a good thing. Harper leads the NL in walks for the season, with 47. That’s a good thing. Since May 1, he’s tied for 60th with only nine walks. That’s definitely not a good thing. Such is the odd nature of

Game 60 lineups: Nats vs. Rays

The Nationals are going to face something different today in their series finale against Tampa Bay. The Rays aren’t sending a starter to the mound for the bottom of the first. They’re sending an “opener.” That would be Jonny Venters, a reliever who actually will start the game and pitch one or two innings before manager Kevin Cash then summons Ryan Yarbrough (a starter who

Ramos enjoys emotional return to Nationals Park

The first cheer came when his name was announced as part of the Rays’ starting lineup. The next one came after a video tribute on the scoreboard at Nationals Park, with the crowd ultimately serenading him with the familiar “Wil-son!” chant as he squatted in the visitors’ bullpen warming up Nathan Eovaldi. By the time Wilson Ramos came up to bat in the top of

Scherzer carves up Rays in 4-2 victory for Nats (updated)

He spent Saturday coming off the bench in the 14th inning in Atlanta to deliver a pinch-hit single and then score the game-winning run from first base. He spent Monday donning a Capitals jersey, helmet, gloves and stick along with Ryan Zimmerman and getting the crowd at Capital One Arena fired up for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. And Max Scherzer loved every

Hellickson goes on DL, Grace and Collins return to bullpen

Jeremy Hellickson’s hamstring strain was deemed to be “mild” by those looking at his MRI, but the veteran right-hander will need to miss at least a couple of starts and thus was placed on the 10-day disabled list today by the Nationals. The Nats also sent right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (who impressively threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings in emergency relief of Hellickson on Sunday) back to

Game 59 lineups: Nats vs. Rays

The Nationals are back in town, albeit only for five games this week, beginning with a quick two-game interleague series against the Rays. Who, yes, are featuring cleanup-hitting catcher Wilson Ramos in The Buffalo’s return to D.C. for the first time as a visiting player. Here’s hoping he gets a nice ovation from the crowd. Matt Adams is back in the Nationals’ lineup, batting cleanup,

A lot to watch for before and during tonight’s Nats game

If your attention has been diverted from baseball to hockey in recent days, you are forgiven. Hey, this kind of thing hasn’t happened in these parts for 26 years. It’s OK to get swept up in it. But if you need something to keep you occupied for the next 48 hours until they carry the Stanley Cup into the building in Las Vegas, you should

Nats suffering from depleted lineup of free swingers

ATLANTA - It’s easy to look at Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Braves and place blame at the arms of Shawn Kelley and Tanner Roark, who surrendered the two late home runs that turned a one-run lead into a two-run defeat. Not that those two right-handers don’t deserve some criticism for their failure to keep the ball in the park at the most critical points

Worst-case scenario plays out for Nats bullpen in loss to Braves

ATLANTA - Davey Martinez and his staff prepare for every conceivable scenario before they take their positions in the dugout for any given ballgame. And so they had concocted a plan this morning for what truly amounted to a worst-case scenario in today’s series finale against the Braves: an early departure by Jeremy Hellickson. That plan was going to include Jefry Rodriguez, summoned from Double-A

Overtaxed pitching staff suffers 4-2 walk-off loss to Braves

ATLANTA - After going 14 innings on Saturday, after watching Jeremy Hellickson depart with an apparent hamstring injury in the first inning today and then after watching the Braves rally to tie the game late, the Nationals reached a point late this afternoon where the need for their series finale to end was about to become more important than the need to win. That point

Hellickson out after two batters with hamstring injury (Nats lose 4-2)

ATLANTA - After watching their bullpen throw seven perfect innings during Saturday’s 14-inning win, the last thing the Nationals needed was to have to turn to their relief corps early today. Which is exactly what happened after starter Jeremy Hellickson departed only two batters into the bottom of the first with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Hellickson hurt himself trying to make a

Murphy not ready for season debut yet

ATLANTA - The Nationals don’t know yet when Daniel Murphy will make his season debut, but they seem to have conceded it won’t come at the start of this week’s homestand. Murphy, who has spent the last week playing six rehab games for Double-A Harrisburg, is scheduled to be back in Washington on Tuesday to be evaluated by doctors and meet with club officials. Despite

Game 58 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - It’s another scorching hot and humid day here at SunTrust Park, where the Nationals and Braves wrap up their four-game series, the Nats trying to salvage a split after yesterday’s dramatic 14-inning victory. To do so, they’re probably going to need some effective work from their bullpen again today, though that group was taxed yesterday and has a new face in it today.

On the dominant pitching that made Saturday’s win possible

ATLANTA - A lot happened during Saturday’s 5-3 14-inning victory for the Nationals. Obviously, Max Scherzer’s pinch-hit single and scamper around the bases to score the go-ahead run drew much of the attention and rightfully so. But this game also would not have been won by the Nationals if not for a brilliant pitching performance against a Braves lineup that has been among the most

Scherzer ignites 14th-inning rally to propel Nats over Braves

ATLANTA - All afternoon and into the evening they were searching for somebody, anybody, to deliver the hit that would break their moribund lineup out of its slumber. Who knew the answer wasn’t any of the Nationals’ position players, but rather their ace? Max Scherzer - yes, Max Scherzer - delivered the one-out single that got a 14th-inning rally jumpstarted, then raced all the way

Gonzalez cruising, Adams departs early (Nats win 5-3 in 14)

ATLANTA - Gio Gonzalez is authoring another gem. Juan Soto and Michael A. Taylor have supplied some early offense, but the Nationals will have to play the rest of today’s game without cleanup hitter Matt Adams. Adams departed in the middle of the fourth inning with an apparent injury. He fouled a ball off his foot in the top of the frame before flying out

Scherzer wins another NL Pitcher of the Month award

ATLANTA - It doesn’t rank with the back-to-back Cy Young Awards he owns, but the back-to-back National League Pitcher of the Month awards Max Scherzer now owns could help his cause to win a third straight Cy Young. Scherzer was named NL Pitcher of the Month for May this afternoon, this honor coming on the heels of his comparable award following an equally dominant April.

Game 57 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - The Nationals have scored two runs in this series and have been shut out on four total hits over the last 15 innings. That’s not good. This is a lineup that, given the injuries and young players filling in on a regular basis, has been very hit-or-miss over the last month. It’ll need to swing back into the hit category today if these

Saturday morning odds and ends

ATLANTA - Some odds and ends to get you going on this Saturday morning before the Nationals and Braves return for a 4:10 p.m. game at SunTrust Park ... * The bottom of the seventh last night, in which the Braves scored all four of their runs, obviously was the decisive inning of the game. How rare, though, was that outburst against Stephen Strasburg? Extremely.

Strasburg’s one mistake costs Nats on night Braves made none

ATLANTA - Stephen Strasburg felt like he made only one mistake, a curveball down in the zone but over the plate to Dansby Swanson with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Then again, one mistake was all it took for the Nationals to drop tonight’s game to the Braves, who rode a two-hit shutout from Mike Foltynewicz to a 4-0 victory and a

Four-run seventh dooms Nationals in 4-0 loss to Braves

ATLANTA - For six innings they dueled, Stephen Strasburg and Mike Foltynewicz posting up zero after zero, neither willing to give in on a muggy Friday night at SunTrust Park. Somebody, though, had to give in at some point. That somebody was Strasburg. And that point was the bottom of the seventh, the decisive frame that turned a brilliant pitchers’ duel into a 4-0 Nationals

Return of key players could impact lineup (Nats lose 4-0)

ATLANTA - The Nationals outfield received a boost today with Brian Goodwin’s return from the disabled list, and another boost is likely coming next week when Adam Eaton expects to return from his ankle surgery. All of which leaves Davey Martinez facing some questions about how he intends to divvy up playing time among, in theory, five outfielders with only three positions to fill. Goodwin

Game 56 lineups: Nats at Braves (Goodwin activated)

ATLANTA - The threat of rain halted Nationals batting practice Thursday night but didn’t impact the game. We may not be as fortunate tonight, with storms all around the area threatening to cause problems not only before tonight’s scheduled 7:35 p.m. game but also the early portion of the game itself. As always, stay tuned. When they do play, the Nationals will send Stephen Strasburg

Nationals recognize surprising Braves are for real

ATLANTA - The outcome of Thursday night’s game wasn’t going to make or break the Nationals’ season. They were either going to increase their lead over the Braves to 1 1/2 games or cede first place in the division back to Atlanta and fall 1/2-game behind. Either way, it was only game No. 55 out of 162. And by the end of the weekend, they’ll

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