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As soon-to-be-traded Gonzalez watches, Nats fall to Brewers

They played a ballgame tonight at Nationals Park, the first of 28 remaining ballgames in a season that - it certainly seems safe to now say - will not extend into October. Gio Gonzalez spent the majority of it watching from the dugout, chatting and smiling with teammates like it was any other game, all the while knowing it would be the last time he

Source: Nats sending Gonzalez to Brewers

As the clock ticks toward 11:59 p.m., the Nationals aren’t done trading away veterans to other clubs seeking some help for the stretch run. The Nats have a deal in place to send Gio Gonzalez to the Brewers, a source familiar with the transaction confirmed just minutes before those two teams opened a three-game series on South Capitol Street, bringing an abrupt end to the

As Madson heads to L.A., Nats cope with summer of trades

Ryan Madson said he was surprised. So did Davey Martinez. Truth be told, neither should have been shocked that the Nationals traded Madson to the Dodgers today, not when considering the situation this team is now in on the final day players can be dealt and still be eligible for their new club’s postseason roster. “No, I was surprised,” Madson told reporters during a brief

Game 135 lineups: Nats vs. Brewers

An August to forget comes to a close tonight when the Nationals host the Brewers in the opener of a three-game series (weather permitting). And it will close with another big-name veteran no longer part of the roster after Ryan Madson was traded to the Dodgers for a minor league right-hander. Madson had made only one appearance since returning from his back injury, so the

Nats send Madson to Dodgers for minor league pitcher

The Nationals made the latest in a string of late-summer moves to deal away soon-to-be-free-agents this afternoon, sending reliever Ryan Madson to the Dodgers for minor league right-hander Andrew Istler just hours before Major League Baseball’s pseudo-deadline to trade players who have been placed on revocable waivers. Madson heads to Los Angeles after an up-and-down season in Washington, one in which he was counted on

Holland hits reset button, gets a second chance

PHILADELPHIA - Greg Holland has waited a while to collect his first save of the season before - but that was early in his career when he wasn’t an established closer. So if it took him until August to save a game, it wasn’t a big deal. But there was Holland on the Citizens Bank Park mound Tuesday night, the beneficiary of a weird, game-ending

Gonzalez, Martinez lament another frustrating start by lefty

PHILADELPHIA - While Davey Martinez keeps insisting that his charges are playing better baseball and control their own fate in the most improbable of postseason runs, one look at Gio Gonzalez in the clubhouse after tonight’s 8-6 loss to the Phillies demonstrated how the message isn’t always getting through and offsetting a poor performance. Gonzalez walked out of the shower, slowly shuffling to his locker

Homers by Turner, Soto erase Phillies lead (Nats fall 8-6)

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez was one strike away from getting out of a two-on, one-out jam in the bottom of the second. But he couldn’t finish off Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta, who lined a two-run single to left to give the home team a 2-0 lead. Not to worry, Gonzalez’s teammates made sure to pick the southpaw up. The Nationals took full advantage

Hellickson focuses on fastballs, changeups in first bullpen session

PHILADELPHIA - Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson threw 30 pitches off a bullpen mound Wednesday afternoon, his first time since going on the disabled list, but didn’t test his sprained right wrist by throwing curveballs yet. “It’s just like any other thing. You’ve got to take it slow and listen to what our trainers tell us to do, and it’s feeling better every day,” said Hellickson, who

Game 134 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Gio Gonzalez will take the mound for the finale of a three-game series between Nationals and Phillies. The Nats are going for a sweep of the Phillies and their fourth straight victory. But which version of the erratic left-hander will show up at Citizens Bank Park? In his last outing against the Mets on Aug. 24 at Citi Field, Gonzalez pitched a gem,

Nationals’ 2019 spring training schedule released

There are 4 1/2 weeks to go in the 2018 regular season, not to mention a month’s worth of postseason games for those franchises fortunate enough to advance, but Major League Baseball has already unveiled the entire 2019 schedule, including spring training now. MLB released the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules this afternoon, far earlier than has been typical in previous years. It’s perhaps

More on a lopsided win, Herrera’s injury and Harper’s pinch-hit

More thoughts, observations and reactions from Sunday’s 15-0 drubbing of the Mets at Citi Field ... * This was yet another game that made you shake your head and try to figure out why this team has been so erratic all season. Clearly, the Nationals have the talent to win games like this on a regular basis. Why, though, haven’t they been able to do

Nats end drought with 15-0 win, lose Herrera to injury (updated)

NEW YORK - At 10:51 p.m. Wednesday, Ryan Zimmerman launched a drive to right-center field that - thanks to a replay review reversal - gave the Nationals a walk-off win over the Phillies. Eighty-eight hours and one minute after that uplifting moment, Trea Turner scampered home from third base on Juan Soto’s groundout to first, pumped his fist and was welcomed back to the dugout

Harper, not Soto, gets series finale off (Nats up 9-0)

NEW YORK - Davey Martinez was thinking about sitting one of his left-handed-hitting star outfielders for today’s series finale at Citi Field. But not necessarily the one who actually is on the bench this afternoon against the Mets. Despite consideration to giving Juan Soto his first day off since July 4, Martinez instead sat Bryce Harper, who has been dealing with an illness over the

Game 131 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - Will the Nationals score a run today? That it has come to this is quite a statement on where things currently stand for this ballclub. Since Ryan Zimmerman’s dramatic, walk-off homer Wednesday night against the Phillies, the Nats have come up to bat 27 times. And 27 times they have failed to score a run. As you know, this is the first

After brushback and plunking, Eaton defends his slide

NEW YORK - Adam Eaton had not been in the Nationals’ starting lineup against the Mets since Aug. 1, the day he slid hard into second base and wound up injuring Phillip Evans. (Evans suffered a non-displaced plateau fracture of the left tibia and remains on the disabled list 3 1/2 weeks later.) And given Mets manager Mickey Callaway’s reaction to the play a day

Nats shut out three straight games for first time ever (updated)

NEW YORK - The Nationals have played 2,234 games in nearly 14 seasons since arriving in the District. And most of the first 1,000 or so of those games were played by losing teams, many of them with lineups severely lacking in talent. Never before, however, had this team failed to score a run in three consecutive games. Not during the Lastings Milledge Era. Not

Madson rejoins club, could rejoin roster in days (Nats down 2-0)

NEW YORK - Ryan Madson rejoined the Nationals today after a week spent with his personal trainer in Phoenix. Whether the veteran reliever will be ready to rejoin the Nationals’ active roster in the next few days depends on how he comes out of a planned bullpen session before Sunday’s game. Out since August 12, when he served up a walk-off grand slam at Wrigley

Game 130 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - We know the Nationals’ offensive production has been awfully hit-or-miss - no pun intended, though actually, yes pun intended - this season, and we got a good glimpse of that Friday night when a group that has been pretty effective over the last month was completely shut down by underwhelming left-hander Jason Vargas. What reason is there to believe today will be

Lefty matchup backfires late in Friday’s loss

NEW YORK - Davey Martinez was talking Friday afternoon about one benefit of his ever-changing bullpen: the ability to bring in one or two left-handers to matchup for one or two batters late in a game. That wasn’t the case only a few weeks ago, when Sammy Solís was the only lefty used in that kind of situation (despite his reverse splits that showed he

Nationals shut out again, fall back under .500 (updated)

NEW YORK - It was one thing when the Nationals were shut out Thursday afternoon by Aaron Nola and Pat Neshek. It was quite another thing when they did the exact same thing tonight against Jason Vargas, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. So much for any positive momentum to come out of their back-to-back, come-from-behind wins over the Phillies to begin the week. Since Ryan

Strasburg will make next start on regular turn (Nats down 1-0)

NEW YORK - Though his return from the disabled list earlier this week raised some red flags, Stephen Strasburg will make his next scheduled start for the Nationals early next week. Strasburg, who returned from a month-long stint on the DL due to a neck injury and lasted only four innings against the Phillies with diminished velocity, threw a between-starts bullpen session this afternoon and

Game 129 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - Gio Gonzalez’s season has, by every measure, been a colossal disappointment. If you want to compile a list of things that went wrong this year, the lefty’s performance ranks high. One positive constant remains for Gonzalez, though: He still dominates the Mets. Gonzalez enters tonight’s start at Citi Field the owner of a 15-5 record and 2.90 ERA in 25 career starts

Bullpen steps up to make late heroics possible

For 8 2/3 innings Wednesday night, the most significant thing that happened at Nationals Park was Stephen Strasburg’s worrisome return from the disabled list, a shaky four-inning start that raised questions about the right-hander’s health and stamina. Then with one dramatic swing, Ryan Zimmerman stole the show and added to his already impressive legacy with the 11th walk-off homer of his career, propelling the roller

The kid and the veteran team up for one shining moment

The first time he did it, way back on Father’s Day 2006 off the Yankees’ Chien-Ming Wang, Ryan Zimmerman was a 21-year-old rookie third baseman, with a whole career still ahead of him and no clue how winding a path he would take despite spending all of it as a National. Juan Soto? He was a 7-year-old kid in Santo Domingo who perhaps already had

Zimmerman to the rescue with 11th career walk-off homer

There is plenty still for the Nationals to be concerned about, most notably Stephen Strasburg’s health after a worrisome performance in his return from the disabled list tonight. But remarkably, there are still reasons for this team to have some optimism no matter how hopeless their situation appears, and tonight an old friend provided the moment that helped raise those hopes another notch. Trailing with

What’s the state of Nats bullpen entering tonight’s game?

Tuesday night’s 10-4 win over the Phillies took a lot out of the Nationals. They only got three innings out of Tanner Roark because of a 1-hour, 45-minute rain delay that prevented the starter from retaking the mound. That forced an already makeshift bullpen to churn out six innings, with no true long man available after Tommy Milone threw four innings in garbage time during

Game 127 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

It’s been a strange, eventful summer for the Nationals, and it has only grown stranger and more eventful in recent days - and that’s not going to change tonight. Because in the wake of everything else that has gone on around here lately, Stephen Strasburg is coming back from the disabled list to make only his second start in 2 1/2 months, looking to help

Young Nats who might get a closer look the rest of the season

If the Nationals truly have waved the white flag on 2018 - whether they have depends on your interpretation of Tuesday’s trades and subsequent statements made by Mark Lerner, Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez - then their focus for the remaining 5 1/2 weeks of the season is going to have to shift at least somewhat toward preparing for 2019. What, though, does that mean

Replacements come through in win over Phillies (updated)

Hours after watching their front office trade away two popular veterans and their owner issue a statement that all but served as a concession speech for the 2018 season, the Nationals took the field tonight to face a Phillies team that is very much in a pennant race for the first time in seven years, then sat through a 1-hour, 42-minute rain delay in the

Nats send Murphy to Cubs, Adams to Cards (updated)

The general manager and manager stopped short of calling it a concession on the remainder of a disappointing season. The owner’s statement, though, was more forthright in its admission that today’s dumping of Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams came about once Nationals officials decided it simply wasn’t going to happen in 2018. “I believed in this team, and would have loved to see them all

Previewing the Nats’ last-ditch series vs. Philly

If the Nationals have any hope whatsoever of storming back to win their fifth National League East title in seven years - and yes, we fully acknowledge the odds of it are rather slim at this point - they’re going to have to win a whole lot of their remaining games with the Phillies and Braves. Twelve of the Nats’ final 37 games come against

What happened to the Nationals?

It’s the most pervasive question in Washington this summer, at least in the realm of sports: What happened to the Nationals? The answer isn’t nearly as simple as many would like. If only there was one concrete reason for the Nationals’ slow descent from division favorites to a sub-.500 club trying to hang on for dear life. But the truth is, a combination of things

Nats lose series in dud vs. Marlins (updated)

The Nationals desperately want their 12 remaining games with the Phillies and Braves to be meaningful. The way they’ve been playing against the Marlins suggests those games with the National League East’s top two contenders aren’t going to matter. In their latest - and most aggravating - performance vs. the division’s cellar-dwellers, the Nationals were trounced by Miami 12-1 this afternoon, capping an ugly weekend

Nats will start Roark, Strasburg, Scherzer vs. Phillies

The significance of the series, given the Nationals’ current predicament in the standings, can be debated. But if nothing else, they can take some solace in knowing they’ll finally be able to send their three best starting pitchers to the mound this week against the Phillies. Davey Martinez confirmed as much this morning when he announced that Stephen Strasburg will return from the disabled list

Rodriguez making strides, making case for long-term

The Nationals made a late rotation change this weekend, electing not to start Tommy Milone as planned Saturday night against the Marlins and instead promote Jefry Rodriguez from Triple-A. The rationale? Rodriguez had been on a roll - he had an 0.83 ERA over his last four starts, split between Syracuse and Washington - and Milone could prove more valuable as a much-needed long reliever

Nats lose another wild one, fall to Marlins in 10 (updated)

The Nationals know they can’t win every game the rest of the way, that there are going to be nights they simply don’t put themselves in position to win and have to shrug off a loss. But they also know there have been and will continue to be games that are right there for the taking, games they absolutely must win if they have any

Strasburg, Herrera both could return for Phillies series

The Nationals could have both Stephen Strasburg and Kelvin Herrera back on their active pitching staff for next week’s series against the Phillies, though a final determination on each injured right-hander won’t be made until Sunday at the earliest. Strasburg and Herrera each threw this afternoon at Nationals Park, and each appeared to emerge from the session in good shape. Strasburg threw more than 40

Game 124 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

The Nationals tonight are seeking their third straight win, and they’ll be doing so with a different pitcher on the mound then they originally planned. Tommy Milone no longer is starting this game; instead it’ll be Jefry Rodriguez getting the promotion from Triple-A Syracuse. We haven’t heard any official reasoning for this, but the hunch is simply that they liked the Rodriguez matchup against the

Still confident as ever, Glover displaying a different demeanor

Koda Glover has never lacked for confidence. Give him the ball - preferably in the ninth inning, with the game on the line - and the right-hander will call on his reserve of firepower to crank the radar gun toward triple digits. But the version of Glover that has assumed ninth-inning duties for the Nationals with three other closers - lefty Sean Doolittle (stress reaction

Scherzer does in Marlins on mound and on bases

Max Scherzer didn’t need to go nine innings to subdue the Marlins on Friday night. He didn’t need to strike out a dozen opposing batters. Thanks to the offense behind him, the Nationals ace had the latitude to pitch effectively and put zeros on the scoreboard. Never mind that the 96 pitches the right-hander threw on a hot, humid night with the heat index approaching

Martinez hopes Doolittle inching closer to return (Nats win 8-2)

Nationals skipper Davey Martinez said he’s awaiting results of the bullpen session injured closer Sean Doolittle was scheduled to throw this afternoon, and is hopeful that the right-hander will soon rejoin the bullpen after an extended stay on the disabled list with a stress reaction in his left foot. “We’ll talk to him after, but hopefully he’s getting close,” Martinez said. “He’s been frustrated with

Sprained right wrist will send Hellickson to DL

Jeremy Hellickson is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right wrist, and the Nationals hope the right-hander will miss only one start. “He has a bad sprain,” manager Davey Martinez said Friday afternoon, before the Nats opened a three-game home series against the Marlins. “He’s going to miss a start, so we’re going to put him on the DL. We haven’t made

Game 123 lineups: Marlins at Nats

If the Nationals are serious about getting back in the National League East race, and building some momentum from last night’s victory in St. Louis, they need to start beating beatable teams, beginning with the three-game series against the Marlins that begins tonight on South Capitol Street. Miami has dropped five straight and eight of nine games overall, and is 3-8 against the Nats this

Nationals set to unveil bullpen cart tonight

ST. LOUIS - OK, so it’s not quite the addition to the Nationals bullpen everyone is looking for at this perilous moment in a season on the brink. But if the club’s new bullpen cart can bring some smiles to people’s faces and maybe even help relievers save some energy before they enter to pitch, this could prove to be an important late-summer acquisition after

Miller, Glover close out 5-4 win to end road trip (updated)

ST. LOUIS - It wasn’t all that long ago that Davey Martinez had no shortage of established late-inning relievers at his disposal when he needed to try to close out a game. There was Sean Doolittle. There was Kelvin Herrera. There was Ryan Madson. There was Brandon Kintzler. When Martinez looked down to that bullpen this evening at Busch Stadium, though, none of those established

After rehab start, Ross on track for September return (Nats up 5-4)

ST. LOUIS - It may come too late to have much impact on their fortunes this season, but Joe Ross is on track to return from Tommy John surgery and pitch for the Nationals in September. Ross, who had elbow ligament replacement surgery on July 19, 2017, made a rehab start for Single-A Potomac this afternoon, throwing 63 pitches of scoreless ball over 3 2/3

Hellickson getting MRI, Strasburg still on target for Tuesday

ST. LOUIS - Jeremy Hellickson may not be able to make his next scheduled start for the Nationals, but Stephen Strasburg appears on track to return himself and perhaps mitigate the loss of Hellickson to a wrist injury suffered during Wednesday’s loss. Hellickson, who hurt himself bracing for impact after he jumped over the Cardinals’ Harrison Bader sliding across the plate on a wild pitch,

Game 122 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

ST. LOUIS - There may be no bigger house of horrors for the Nationals than Busch Stadium. Either version of the ballpark. Did you know that in the 14 seasons since this franchise arrived in D.C., it owns an 11-31 record on the road against the Cardinals? That’s 11 wins in 14 seasons. That’s really not good. And three of those wins came during a

After disastrous 72 hours, Nats cope with reality of standings

ST. LOUIS - At 10:03 p.m. CDT Sunday, as Ryan Madson prepared to deliver his 2-2 pitch to David Bote at Wrigley Field, the Nationals were one strike away from moving to within 4 1/2 games of first place in the National League East. By 10:21 p.m. CDT Wednesday, as Trea Turner’s fly ball to center field at Busch Stadium settled into Harrison Bader’s glove,

Nats lose Hellickson to wrist injury, fall nine games back (updated)

ST. LOUIS - This isn’t the Nationals’ longest road trip of the season. It only feels like it. And because of that, the 41 games that still remain on the schedule in 2018 are perilously close to losing all significance. With a lackluster 4-2 loss at Busch Stadium tonight, the Nationals dropped their third straight to the Cardinals and fell to 1-5 on this season-defining

Strasburg could make return Tuesday vs. Phillies (Nats down 3-0)

ST. LOUIS - If Stephen Strasburg recovers from today’s simulated game against Nationals teammates with no lingering issues, the right-hander could make his return to the active roster as soon as Tuesday to face the Phillies in Washington, D.C. Though Davey Martinez had previously said the plan for Strasburg, out since July 20 with a pinched nerve in his neck, included a minor league rehab

Game 121 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

ST. LOUIS - This critical road trip in the Nationals season has not gone how they would have liked, but it’s not over yet. There are two games left to be played against the Cardinals, two games that could either continue the slide into oblivion or perhaps perk everyone up a bit and recapture some semblance of positive momentum. It begins tonight with Jeremy Hellickson

The math for the Nationals isn’t pretty

ST. LOUIS - It probably feels like grasping at straws, but it’s about all the Nationals can do at this point without completely giving up on the season. And they are making it plain and clear they aren’t doing that. “The energy’s there,” Davey Martinez said after Tuesday night’s 6-4 loss to the Cardinals, the Nats’ third straight and fourth in five games to begin

No drama, only another loss for .500 Nats (updated)

ST. LOUIS - There was no ninth-inning disaster tonight, no bullpen implosion, no nightmare for the manager or his players to have to try to explain. There was only a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals that felt relatively mundane for a Nationals club that hasn’t experienced anything resembling a mundane loss in some time. There was the requisite last-gasp rally that brought the go-ahead run

Madson goes on DL, Solís sent to Triple-A (Nats down 6-4)

ST. LOUIS - On the heels of back-to-back bullpen implosions caused both by injury and poor performance, the Nationals brought in two new relievers - Tim Collins and Trevor Gott - for tonight’s game against the Cardinals and removed Ryan Madson and Sammy Solís from the active roster. Madson, who turned a 3-0 lead into a 4-3 loss via David Bote’s walk-off grand slam Sunday

Game 120 lineups: Nats at Cardinals (updated)

ST. LOUIS - And we’re back for another evening of exciting Nationals baseball at Busch Stadium. What does tonight have in store for the D.C. nine? It’s tough to imagine anything more dramatic (or devastating) than what this team has experienced in the last 48 hours. But at this point, nothing should surprise you. We don’t yet know the state of the Nats bullpen for

There’s no quick fix to Nationals’ bullpen woes

ST. LOUIS - Every manager has to enter every game with a plan in mind for bullpen usage. He considers that night’s starting pitcher. He takes into account who pitched the previous night, who warmed up and who’s available tonight. He sets contingencies for an abrupt exit by the starter and/or extra innings in which someone is needed to provide length. He might even consider

Nationals find new way to lose late, fall to Cards 7-6 (updated)

ST. LOUIS - The 2018 Nationals don’t lose baseball games. They lose Greek tragedies. There’s no such thing as a simple ballgame for this team right now. The wins, few and far between as they seem, are still excruciating affairs. The losses? Well, they fall into a category all their own, suitable only to be written about by men named Thespis or Euripides. And so

Madson didn’t reveal back injury until after walk-off loss

ST. LOUIS - As Ryan Madson was struggling on the mound in the bottom of the ninth Sunday night at Wrigley Field, Davey Martinez was unaware his fill-in closer was battling anything other than a loss of command. By the time Justin Miller had begun throwing off the bullpen mound behind the ivy in right field, the bases already were loaded and David Bote was

Game 119 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

ST. LOUIS - It’s a new day, in a new town and there’s a new ballgame for the Nationals to play tonight. Whether last night’s events have any carryover effect in their series opener at Busch Stadium remains to be seen. Your guess is as good as anyone’s when it comes to this. The Nats will need Tommy Milone to give them a chance, though.

Zimmerman wins NL Player of the Week

ST. LOUIS - It will come as very small consolation after a crushing weekend at Wrigley Field for the Nationals, but Ryan Zimmerman’s individual performance was nonetheless recognized. Zimmerman was named National League Player of the Week this afternoon after going on a tear that culminated with some big-time games against the Cubs. Zimmerman hit .476 (10-for-21) with three doubles, three homers, 12 RBIs and

How do the Nationals bounce back from another crushing loss?

CHICAGO - The Nationals have gone 12-10 since the All-Star break, but consider how five of those 10 losses went down ... * July 24 at Milwaukee: Up 4-3 in the seventh, the Nationals blew the lead, then lost 5-4 in 10 innings. * July 28 at Miami: Down 1-0 in the ninth, the Nationals rallied to tie the game, then lost 2-1 in 10.

One strike away, Nats lose another heartbreaker (updated)

CHICAGO - The Nationals have been in this position too many times this summer. And too many times they’ve trudged off the field agonizing over a game that somehow got away from them late. If somehow they’re going to survive this roller coaster season to keep playing in October, they simply are going to have to flip the script on these games. Where better, then,

Murphy finding stroke, still terrorizing Cubs (Nats lead 1-0)

CHICAGO - Daniel Murphy has been terrorizing the Cubs since the 2015 National League Championship Series, and he’s been up to his old tricks this weekend at Wrigley Field. Murphy, finally feeling healthy and confident in his swing after a long recovery from knee surgery, had seven hits in his first 10 at-bats of the Nationals’ series against the Cubs. That included a single down

Rendon sits again, Doolittle ready to throw off mound

CHICAGO - Anthony Rendon is out of the Nationals lineup for the second straight day, but manager Davey Martinez expressed some level of confidence his starting third baseman won’t need to miss a third straight game. Rendon, who was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the first inning Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, is available to come off the bench for tonight’s

Game 118 lineups: Nats at Cubs

CHICAGO - We’ve seen no shortage of wacky and wild stuff this summer from a Nationals team that seems to vacillate from contender to pretender on a daily basis. So who knows which version we’ll see tonight on Sunday Night Baseball. But we do know we’re going to see a marquee matchup: Max Scherzer vs. Cole Hamels. Yes, it’s Cy Young Award vs. World Series

Roark extends himself, wins fourth straight

CHICAGO - When Tanner Roark walked off the mound following a scoreless bottom of the seventh Saturday afternoon, he was greeted at the top of the dugout steps by Davey Martinez, who proceeded to have a conversation with the pitcher. When that conversation ended, Roark got a fist-bump from his manager and went back into the dugout. He didn’t get a handshake or any hugs

Zimmerman vanquishes Wrigley demons in Nats’ 9-4 win (updated)

CHICAGO - There are few hitters havens in baseball like Wrigley Field, provided the wind isn’t blowing in and the temperature isn’t 43 degrees. But there’s no park in the majors that has haunted Ryan Zimmerman like the Friendly Confines on the corner of Clark and Addison, at least in recent years. Ever since he became manager of the Cubs in 2015, there is no

Zimmerman finally delivering behind Harper (Nats up 9-1)

CHICAGO - The Bryce Harper-Ryan Zimmerman 1-2 punch doesn’t exactly have a storied history at Wrigley Field. This, of course, is the venue where two years ago the Cubs did everything they could to avoid pitching to Harper and instead go after Zimmerman, who simply could not make them pay for the strategy. So when Anthony Rendon was scratched from today’s game with a bruised

Rendon has wrist contusion, plus more injury updates

CHICAGO - When Anthony Rendon was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the top of the first Friday afternoon, the Nationals third baseman waved off a trainer and remained in the game. Rendon played all nine innings of the Nats’ 3-2 loss to the Cubs. He batted three more times, driving a ball to the warning track in left field that was

Game 117 lineups: Nats at Cubs (Rendon scratched)

CHICAGO - Another day, another opportunity for the Nationals to change the script of a season that has pretty much followed one path. And not the path this team wanted to follow. After their latest agonizing loss, the Nats will try to reverse the trend this afternoon at Wrigley Field and take the second game of this weekend series. They’ll be hoping Tanner Roark can

Glover, Suero could ascend into late-inning roles

CHICAGO - For all the difficulty Sammy Solís and Greg Holland had in the sixth and seventh innings, ultimately costing the Nats the game, Koda Glover and Wander Suero pitched exceptionally well after that. And in doing so may have earned their manager’s trust to start pitching in big situations like the ones Solís and Holland failed in at Wrigley Field. After Holland walked in

Nats let another close one slip away, fall 3-2 to Cubs (updated)

CHICAGO - The stakes perhaps felt a little higher, given the opposition, the location and all the familiar faces that have worn both clubs’ uniforms in the last two seasons. But today’s series opener at Wrigley Field felt remarkably familiar for a Nationals team that has found itself in situations just like this all summer long and consistently has shown itself unable to emerge victorious.

Wrigley wind helping Hellickson keep ball in park (Nats down 3-2)

CHICAGO - The Nationals are hitting singles and doubles against Kyle Hendricks so far today, and reaping the benefits of it. The Cubs are trying to hit homers off Jeremy Hellickson, and paying the price on a windy day at Wrigley Field. Four innings into the opener of a key weekend series, the Nationals hold a 2-0 lead thanks to six hits off Hendricks (five

Rehab program likely leaves Strasburg return two weeks away

CHICAGO - Stephen Strasburg is ramping up his throwing program, but the right-hander still appears to be at least two weeks away from rejoining the Nationals rotation. Strasburg, who has made only one start since June 8 due to shoulder and neck ailments, is slated to throw a “heavy” bullpen session Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. If that goes well, manager Davey Martinez said he’ll

Game 116 lineups: Nats at Cubs

CHICAGO - It’s a warm, sunny day at the corner of Clark and Addison, but the wind’s actually blowing in, a rarity at Wrigley Field given the other conditions. That could help keep the ball in the park, which of course benefits the pitchers in today’s series opener between the Nationals and Cubs. Jeremy Hellickson is the kind of pitcher who looks for groundballs, so

A blow-by-blow of Soto’s first-ever ejection

There were any number of reasons the Nationals lost to the Braves on Wednesday night, and any number of ways they could have made up for those reasons and actually pulled off an impressive comeback that would’ve changed the entire outlook of this critical series. But the primary focus from many corners afterward was on Juan Soto’s sixth-inning ejection, so it’s worth revisiting that sequence,

Emotions run hot during Nationals’ 8-3 loss (updated)

The Nationals showed some much-needed emotion tonight during a critical game against the Braves. Unfortunately, it only came after they trailed by a hefty margin and after their youngest star was ejected for the first time in his life. After Tommy Milone dug his teammates into a six-run hole, and the Nats tried to claw their way back while also watching 19-year-old slugger Juan Soto

Glover relieved to finally be back in majors (Nats lose 8-3)

Koda Glover was extraordinarily excited to be in the Nationals clubhouse this afternoon, back on an active big league roster, healthy and available to pitch for the first time in 2018. Given what the high-energy reliever has been through the last two years, can you blame him? “You have no idea. It was way worse than Tommy John, anything like that,” he said. “But like

As Herrera lands on DL, Doolittle fights urge not to rush back

Kelvin Herrera is now on the disabled list, and though the Nationals hope his stay won’t be long, they also know any time lost to injury right now is a detriment to their chances of catching up in a pennant race that is running out of days. Herrera, who had to depart Tuesday night’s game after giving up two runs and three hits in the

Game 114 lineups: Nats vs. Braves (Herrera to DL)

As if the sting of Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Braves in the second half of their day-night doubleheader wasn’t enough, today the Nationals learned they’ve now lost Kelvin Herrera to a shoulder injury. Herrera, who had an MRI this morning, has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right shoulder impingement. We’ll get more details - and, hopefully, an estimated timeline

With six-hit day, Zimmerman sustaining success at plate

The sting of Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Braves in the nightcap of a significant doubleheader was still fresh in everyone’s mind, but if the Nationals were looking for reasons to remain optimistic the day and night Ryan Zimmerman had the plate was a good place to start. Zimmerman was a one-man wrecking crew with the bat on a long day at the ballpark.

Nats drop nightcap in ninth, lose Herrera to injury (updated)

It was right there for the taking, a doubleheader sweep and a chance to make a definitive statement that they intend to thrust themselves into the mix of the National League East’s three-team pennant race right now. Instead, the Nationals squandered yet another golden opportunity to win a close ballgame, and because of that a long and exhausting day and night at the ballpark wound

Soto keeps adding to rookie legacy (game tied 1-1)

With each passing day, Juan Soto does something else that makes you pause to remember just how remarkable the Nationals rookie’s season has been. No matter his age. Soto added to the growing legend tonight when he homered in the bottom of the first. To the opposite field. Off a left-hander. On an 0-2 pitch. This, of course, has become commonplace for the 19-year-old since

Game 113 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

And we’re back for the nightcap of today’s doubleheader. The Nationals did what they needed to in the opener, riding five strong innings from Jefry Rodriguez and a pair of four-run rallies to an 8-3 victory that moved them to within five games of the Phillies and 3 1/2 games of the Braves. There’s still an opportunity to either gain or lose ground the rest

Nats take doubleheader opener, gain ground in NL East (updated)

Davey Martinez didn’t want his players looking at this week’s critical series as a whole, believing there was no good to be had worrying about all four games with the Braves until they’d played the first one. Well, Martinez’s Nationals did exactly what they needed to do it today’s matinee opener. And now they get to go for a doubleheader sweep with their ace on

Holland ready to go and ready to reverse his season (Nats up 8-2)

Greg Holland last pitched on July 21, for the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. He gave up three runs to the Cubs, took a blown save and watched his ERA rise to 7.92. The Cardinals would go on to designate the veteran reliever for assignment, then released him after he cleared waivers. Today, Holland is in a No. 56 Nationals jersey, active and almost certain to

Game 112 lineups: Nats vs. Braves (Holland signed)

Who’s ready for a long - and important - day and night of baseball? The Nationals better hope they are. They enter the day 5 1/2 games behind the Phillies, four games behind the Braves. By night’s end, they could be anywhere from four to seven games behind Philadelphia, two to six games behind Atlanta. So, yeah, it’s a big day. It all gets started

Nats open daunting four-game series with Braves today

They’re all big games and big series for the Nationals at this point, with fewer than one-third of the season remaining on the schedule. But four games in three days against the Braves? Yeah, this is an especially big series. The Nationals get 16 more cracks in total against the two teams that have resided above them in the National League East for much of

On Herrera’s one-run save and Martinez’s late-game strategy

Even though Sean Doolittle has been sidelined for four weeks now with a toe injury, the Nationals on Sunday called upon Kelvin Herrera in a save situation for only the third time. The vast majority of their wins over the last month have come with sizeable leads, leaving their fill-in closer rarely taking the ball in the ninth inning with a slim lead. Sunday, though,

Kelley traded to A’s for international bonus slot value

Shawn Kelley’s tenure with the Nationals officially came to an end today when the club traded the veteran reliever to the Athletics in exchange for international bonus slot value. Kelley had been designated for assignment Wednesday, the morning after he upset team officials when he slammed his glove to the ground after giving up a home run in the top of the ninth inning of

Roark rounding into form right as Nationals need it

Tanner Roark isn’t No. 1 on the list of “Most Important Nationals for the Remainder of the Season,” but he’s on the list somewhere, and probably closer to the top than the bottom. The Nats have been built to win behind consistently great starting pitching for many years now, and typically as Roark has gone so has the team as a whole. So among the

Nats hold off Reds 2-1, get long-awaited one-run victory

The Nationals have shown they can win some lopsided games, riding big offensive showings to big victories. If, however, they’re going to pull off a late-season surge, they’re going to have to start winning some tight ballgames when there’s little-to-no margin for error. Like today’s series finale against the Reds, in which the Nationals held a one-run lead in the fourth inning and then tried

Harper back in lineup after Saturday night plunking (Nats up 2-1)

Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals’ lineup for today’s series finale against the Reds, a development that was very much uncertain when the star outfielder left the ballpark Saturday night with a barking right knee. Harper was hit by a pitch square on the kneecap during the bottom of the sixth inning of the Nats’ 6-2 win over Cincinnati. He remained in the game

Game 111 lineups: Nats vs. Reds

After a long day and night at the ballpark on Saturday, the Nationals return to the ballpark today for what amounts to a pretty big series finale with the Reds. Obviously, every game is big at this point, but consider that the Nats need to win today to win the series. And carry some positive momentum into their critical upcoming four-games-in-three-days series with the Braves.

Nats-Reds game postponed, day-night doubleheader Saturday

With one round of rain having already swept through shortly before scheduled first pitch and another round expected later this evening, the Nationals’ game against the Reds has been postponed. The game will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, with the makeup game now at 1:05 p.m. and a separate ticket required for the originally scheduled 7:05 p.m. game. Gio

Wieters relieved, determined to improve after trade deadline

Like everyone else in the Nationals clubhouse, Matt Wieters was well aware of the dilemma his team’s front office faced earlier this week as the July 31 trade deadline approached. And Wieters knew he might be affected more than just about anyone else, given his struggles the last two seasons and the sense general manager Mike Rizzo might be seeking a catching upgrade. So when

Game 109 lineups: Nats vs. Reds

The Nationals haven’t enjoyed a four-game winning streak since the final week of May, when they managed to sweep the Marlins and Orioles in successive road series. More than two months later, they finally have a chance tonight to put “W4” in the “Streak” column of the standings. It’ll be Gio Gonzalez on the mound. He’s coming off a strong start in Miami but still

Nats’ offensive numbers looking more familiar since break

Levelheaded ballplayers like to espouse the belief that everything will even out over a 162-game season, and numbers that may look subpar in May or July inevitably will resemble career norms come late September. “They’re called averages for a reason,” these players will say. If you believe in that mantra, you like what you’ve seen from several key Nationals of late. And you probably believe

Nationals ride early six-run rally to rout of Reds (updated)

Compile a list of “Things the Nationals Need to Do Better to Make the Playoffs in 2018,” and somewhere near the top it would read: “Better Situational Hitting.” It’s not the only thing this team lacked through the season’s first four months, but it’s among the most significant, and one of the best ways to ensure a higher rate of success in the season’s final

Soto is Rookie of Month again, plus injury updates

Among the many traits Juan Soto has displayed during his unexpected rookie season, perhaps the most impressive has been the remarkable consistency he has maintained throughout. Soto’s OPS in May (when he played in only 12 games) was .998. In June, it was 1.050, earning him National League Rookie of the Month honors. And in July, it was .924, earning him those honors once again.

Game 108 lineups: Nats vs. Reds

It is pouring at this moment on South Capitol Street, and there is rain in the forecast at various points throughout the remainder of the afternoon and evening. What that means for tonight’s series opener against the Reds ... we just don’t know yet. Stay tuned. As always, when we know, you’ll know. The Nationals would very much like to play, trying to sustain some

Harper going the other way more, leading to more hits

You can spend hours upon hours trying to figure out why the Nationals have struggled all season to find offensive consistency, but sometimes it’s the simplest explanations that make the most sense. Like this one: When Bryce Harper hits, the Nats win. When he doesn’t, they lose. The numbers back this up. Harper’s offensive slash line in games the Nationals have won this season is

Milone again leads the way as Nats sweep Mets (updated)

They aren’t going to score 25 runs every night, the Nationals very much know this. Given the inconsistent nature of their offensive performance this season, they know their best path to a late-season surge is going to come from their pitching staff, first and foremost a rotation that has surprisingly underachieved all summer. Who would have imagined, though, that salvation would come in the form

Nats drop Kelley, citing “disrespect” in Tuesday’s game

Citing the “disrespect” they felt he displayed toward his manager and the organization as a whole when he slammed his glove to the ground in frustration in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s 25-4 win over the Mets, the Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment this morning, perhaps making a broader statement in the process to a clubhouse of players that has been through

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