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Depleted lineup again struggles during 3-2 loss (updated)

The bullpen has managed to straighten itself out over the last three days. The rotation, while not pitching up to its lofty potential, is mostly giving the team a chance to win. The Nationals lineup? Well, that has now become the roster’s biggest problem area. With three key regulars on the injured list and several others struggling mightily to produce with any consistency, the Nationals

Once situation became a “stalemate,” Nats placed Rendon on IL

When Anthony Rendon took a pitch off his left elbow April 20 in Miami, the Nationals knew he was in pain. But they also believed the star third baseman, who had suffered only a bad bruise, wouldn’t need more than a handful of days to make it back. And so they kept Rendon on their active roster, electing to play with a short bench while

Game 28 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

If you’ve been following, you knew this was coming: Anthony Rendon is now on the injured list. The Nationals officially placed the third baseman on the 10-day IL with a bruised left elbow today, a move that’s backdated the maximum three days allowed but now prevents him from being activated until May 7 at the earliest. The Nats are using that roster spot to help

Nats notes: Decision time on Rendon, bullpen suddenly hot

Just about every day over the last week-plus, Davey Martinez has been asked if Anthony Rendon will be available to pinch-hit that night, and the Nationals manager has almost always answered in a hopeful manner. Martinez, though, sounded less hopeful when asked about the possibility Monday afternoon as the Nationals prepared to face the Cardinals with their star third baseman still out of the lineup

Nats open daunting stretch with 6-3 loss to Cards (updated)

They slogged their way through a rough stretch against less-intimidating competition, and now the Nationals were opening a 13-game stretch against three division leaders and another team that came within one game of reaching the World Series last fall. It’s going to require improvement in all facets of the game for the Nats to emerge successful from this daunting stretch. And though they got some

Why Rendon isn’t on IL but Zimmerman is

Anthony Rendon has played once in the last nine days, leaving the Nationals a man short on their active roster. But if you assumed that would’ve convinced the team to place its star third baseman on the injured list by now, you’d be wrong. Though his bruised left elbow continues to prevent him from fully extending when he swings, Rendon believes he’s only a day

Game 27 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

The Nationals just completed a stretch in which they went 6-9 against the Pirates, Giants, Marlins, Rockies and Padres. Now they open a 16-game stretch in which they’ll face the Cardinals, Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers and Mets. Suffice it to say, they need to play better in every facet of the game if they are going to survive this. It doesn’t help matters that tonight they

Youngest Nationals make history with trio of home runs

As Carter Kieboom rounded the bases following his game-tying homer in the fifth inning - this on the heels of Victor Robles’ solo homer the previous inning, that on the heels of Juan Soto’s three-run blast the inning prior to that - Davey Martinez paused to consider what the three youngest players on the Nationals roster had just accomplished. “I sat there, and I go,

Adams’ titanic blast in 11th caps Nats’ big comeback (updated)

It took just about every ounce of intestinal fortitude the Nationals had in them just to get into position to win this afternoon, whether overcoming an early six-run deficit, asking their three youngest players to ignite a rally with a historic trio of homers or asking a couple of longtime rotation prospects to deliver a bunch of scoreless innings out of the bullpen. It was

Zimmerman to IL with foot injury, Rendon out again (tied 6-6)

Ryan Zimmerman is now on the injured list with plantar fasciitis. Anthony Rendon isn’t there yet, but if his elbow doesn’t heal real soon he may wind up off the active roster as well. All of which leaves the Nationals with a makeshift lineup for today’s series finale against the Padres, a short bench and an extra bullpen arm in the form of Erick Fedde.

Game 26 lineups: Nats vs. Padres

The Nationals already are assured of losing their third straight series. It’s too late to change that. But they have to win today to avoid their first series sweep of the season, and if that isn’t motivation enough for this afternoon’s contest with the Padres, what else is? We know the Nats need to be able to lock down games late, their biggest problem area.

Scherzer fixes glitch, dominates, reaches strikeout milestone

Max Scherzer had to deal with an unusual injury - a strained ribcage muscle suffered when he dodged a foul ball in the dugout - and that alone made this a strange week and disrupted his typical preparation for Friday night’s start against the Padres. But Scherzer being Scherzer, there was a more important task at hand all week: Fix whatever it was that led

Rare blast off Doolittle spoils Kieboom’s debut (updated)

With Max Scherzer dealing and notching his 2,500th career strikeout and Carter Kieboom providing the highlight home run in his major league debut, the Nationals should have had all kinds of reason to celebrate tonight. Even though their bullpen had surrendered another eighth-inning run in agonizing fashion, they still had Sean Doolittle on the mound in the ninth inning of a tie game. How could

Kieboom ready for “special” debut while Turner keeps healing

Carter Kieboom woke up at 9 a.m. Thursday to the ring of his hotel room phone in Reno. He had figured he had plenty of time to relax before heading to the ballpark for Fresno’s 6:35 p.m. Pacific Coast League game against the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate. But then he checked his cell phone and realized he had missed five calls from Grizzles manager Randy Knorr,

Game 24 lineups: Nats vs. Padres

It is absolutely pouring here on South Capitol Street, as appears to be the case throughout the region. The good news: The storms are supposed to clear out of here before gametime, though it may be awfully windy for the Nationals’ series opener against the Padres. The weather won’t do anything to dampen Carter Kieboom’s excitement for his major league debut. The 21-year-old infielder officially

If history is guide, Nats will give Kieboom chance to stay

When his team suffered a spate of early-season injuries in April 2012, Mike Rizzo made the decision to call up Bryce Harper and give the 19-year-old a chance in the big leagues. Harper never returned to the minors. When his team needed a third baseman in April 2013, Rizzo summoned Anthony Rendon straight from Double-A. Rendon would briefly return to the minors, but by June

Source: Nats promoting top prospect Carter Kieboom (updated)

Carter Kieboom, the Nationals’ top prospect off to a red-hot start at the plate with Triple-A Fresno, is getting called up to make his major league debut this weekend, a source familiar with the move confirmed. It’s not yet clear what corresponding transaction (or transactions) will be made before Kieboom’s contract is purchased. The Nationals not only need to remove someone from the active, 25-man

Time for Nats to make a decision on Rosenthal

DENVER - They’ve been putting this off for several weeks now, hoping beyond hope things would get better and they could proceed as they intended all along. But the time has probably come for the Nationals to do something with Trevor Rosenthal. They can’t afford to keep waiting and keep hoping. They’ve put Rosenthal on the mound seven times in the last month. They’ve yet

Nats can’t sustain momentum, drop another series (updated)

DENVER - They lose one, they win one, they lose one, they hope to win the next one. It was the Nationals’ recurring pattern in 2018, and it has become the recurring theme in 2019 as well. One day this team looks like a mess, dropping a series opener and digging itself into a hole. The next day, all looks right again and there seems

Pregame injury updates from Colorado (Nats down 6-3)

DENVER - Some injury updates for you before the Nationals and Rockies wrap up their three-game series ... * Anthony Rendon is out of the lineup for the fourth straight game with a bruised left elbow, but the Nationals remain optimistic about their third baseman and believe he’s on the verge of returning to action. Rendon, who hasn’t played since he was struck by a

Game 23 lineups: Nats at Rockies

DENVER - The Nationals are 1-7 in series openers so far this season, and that’s a bad thing. But they’re 6-1 in series finales, and that’s a good thing. Despite digging themselves into a hole every time they open new set against a new opponent, they’ve found a way to climb out of it and emerge still in one piece. They’ll try to do that

Nats easing Ross into higher-leverage situations

DENVER - The day began with Davey Martinez mentioning he felt like it was time to start putting Joe Ross on the mound for significant situations. “We’re going to have to use him as more than a long man,” the Nationals manager said Tuesday afternoon. So when the bottom of the seventh arrived a few hours later, the Nats clinging to a 4-3 lead over

Asked to hold slim lead at Coors, Nats bullpen delivers (updated)

DENVER - The Nationals seemed determined to make the four early runs they scored tonight hold up through an entire ballgame. At Coors Field. With the majors’ least effective bullpen. A bold strategy, to say the least. And yet somehow they pulled it off. (With a little help from two long-awaited insurance runs via ineffective relief from the opposition.) Behind three scoreless innings from four

Rendon out of lineup but resumes swinging (Nats up 4-3)

DENVER - Though he’s out of the Nationals lineup for the third straight day, Anthony Rendon is showing signs of progress in his recovery from a bruised left elbow. Rendon, who was struck by a pitch Saturday night in Miami, was able to take swings in the batting tunnel today at Coors Field and the results were encouraging. “He swung today, so he feels pretty

Scherzer still on track for Friday start after throwing off mound

DENVER - Max Scherzer believes he’ll be good to make his next scheduled start as planned Friday night. But even if he isn’t, the Nationals ace is grateful he’s only dealing with a mild ribcage strain after dodging a foul ball Sunday in Miami that could have caused far more damage had it struck him. “First of all, you’ve got to understand: This is best-case

Game 22 lineups: Nats at Rockies

DENVER - What a difference a day makes. It’s currently 20 degrees warmer at Coors Field than it was for last night’s series opener, and there isn’t a cloud in the sky, either. Now the Nationals have to hope the result on the field differs from last night as well. After dropping that game 7-5 - their seventh loss in eight series openers so far

On Dozier, pinch-hitting decisions and losing series openers

DENVER - It got lost in the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Rockies that saw the home team score the final five runs, but in the larger picture the Nats have to be encouraged by Brian Dozier’s recent resurgence at the plate. Dozier, among the biggest disappointments on the roster through the season’s first three weeks, has come back to life on this road trip.

Nats score early, not late in 7-5 loss to Rockies (updated)

DENVER - Davey Martinez has participated in enough games at Coors Field - as a player, as a coach and as a manager - to know what kind of mindset anyone in uniform must bring to this park. “You gotta try to score as many runs as possible,” he said this afternoon. “No game’s ever over.” So even when the Nationals scored two runs in

Rendon out of lineup again, but no IL move yet (game tied 5-5)

DENVER - Though they don’t believe Anthony Rendon will need to miss much time with a bruised left elbow, the Nationals decided they couldn’t proceed any longer without any backup infielders, so they recalled Jake Noll from Triple-A today and sent reliever Austin Adams to Fresno to clear a roster spot. Rendon, who was struck in the elbow by a pitch Saturday night in Miami,

Game 21 lineups: Nats at Rockies (Noll recalled)

DENVER - Hello from Coors Field, where the air is not only thin but really cold. At least today, it is. The high temperature might crack 50 degrees this afternoon, and it’ll be dropping down through the 40s during tonight’s series opener. You’d think that would be a bad thing for hitters, but I’m not sure it’s possible for any game in this ballpark to

After surviving opening stretch, time for Nats to start thriving

They faced an 11-game opening gauntlet against nothing but two division rivals expecting to win this season. They’ve been without their starting shortstop for more than two weeks now. They continue to have to piece together their bullpen on a nightly basis, hoping to find a combination that records the necessary outs before giving up too many runs. Things have not gone swimmingly for the

Corbin hits his spots, finally rewarded with first Nats win

The Nationals had seen glimpses of Patrick Corbin at his best, but today they saw the left-hander at his absolute best from the moment he took the mound until the moment he departed 7 2/3 innings later. And what they saw during a 4-2 victory over the Giants confirmed what they’ve suspected all along: This is one of the best starters in baseball. “He really

Behind Corbin’s gem, Nats take series from Giants

Patrick Corbin had pitched well every time he had taken the mound wearing a Nationals uniform. Now the prized lefty finally has his first win in Washington. With 7 2/3 innings of two-hit ball, Corbin put his team in prime position to defeat the Giants today. And thanks to some early offense and a late escape act by the bullpen, the Nationals walked off the

Rendon extends hit streak to 16 games (Nats up 4-0)

Anthony Rendon went hitless on opening day against Jacob deGrom. He hasn’t gone hitless since. With a double off the left field wall in the bottom of the third this afternoon, Rendon extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games and helped the Nationals open up a 2-0 lead on the Giants. Rendon, who kept his streak alive with a single in his final at-bat

Eaton gets first day off, Robles gets first chance to bat first

It’s been kind of taken for granted, but given what he went through the last two years, the fact that Adam Eaton started each of the Nationals’ first 16 games this season is quite significant. Eaton, of course, missed most of 2017 after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Then he missed considerable time early in 2018 after Baltimore foot specialist Lew Schon suspected

Game 17 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

Surely this is the most important official release of the day in Washington: the Nationals’ starting lineup for their series finale against the Giants! While much of the world is focused on a different building in a different part of town, baseball fans are most interested in what takes place here on South Capitol Street, where the Nats are trying to take back-to-back games and

Big blasts for Soto and Adams, for different reasons

Let’s ignore, tough as it may be, the Nationals bullpen for just one night. Yes, this remains the biggest topic of discussion on a team that too often is seeing the good work of others overshadowed by ineffective work in the late innings by the majors’ worst relief corps. Tonight’s 9-6 victory over the Giants was that close only because of a near ninth-inning collapse,

Early, late blasts power Nationals to 9-6 win over Giants

Davey Martinez spent most of the evening sweating in the dugout, this despite the heavy coat he was wearing on a deceptively chilly mid-April evening on South Capitol Street. His Nationals had opened up an early lead on the Giants but couldn’t add on, and so now the second-year manager had to figure out how he was going to get the requisite outs necessary from

After sluggish few days, Martinez trying out different lineup

In making some changes to his lineup for tonight’s game, Davey Martinez had a couple of goals in mind: * Get Matt Adams and Howie Kendrick, both swinging hot bats in recent days, in the lineup. * Give Brian Dozier, who fouled a ball off his toe Tuesday night, a breather. * Move Anthony Rendon, the team’s best hitter to date this season, up to

Game 16 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

Davey Martinez has stuck with a pretty consistent lineup since opening day. When he’s made changes, he’s simply plugged in a Matt Adams or a Howie Kendrick or a Kurt Suzuki into the same spot in the batting order as the regular said player is replacing. But after struggling to score runs Sunday and again Tuesday night, Martinez is going with a different look. Adams

Strasburg laments predictability of pitches that led to homers

Stephen Strasburg gives up home runs, but typically not in bunches. He entered Tuesday night’s game against the Giants having surrendered three homers in a start only two previous times in his career. So when it happened this time, when he surrendered three long balls in a span of only eight batters, to the least productive lineup in the National League, it obviously raised some

Little goes according to script in Nats’ 7-3 loss (updated)

Stephen Strasburg was serving up home runs with alarming regularity. The Giants, owners of the least productive lineup in the National League, were piling up runs. Davey Martinez was getting fired up and getting ejected. And Trevor Rosenthal was throwing strikes and retiring batters. No, very little went according to script tonight during the Nationals’ 7-3 loss to the Giants. Was this just one of

Sources: Rendon, Nationals resumed negotiations today

Both the Nationals and Anthony Rendon have insisted they’re willing to hold contract negotiations in-season, and they’re staying true to their word. Rendon and general manager Mike Rizzo met this afternoon prior to batting practice before the Nationals’ series opener against the Giants, according to multiple sources familiar with the meeting, which took place in the team’s family room just outside the home clubhouse at

Game 15 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

We’ve got a pretty cool pitching matchup here in tonight’s series opener between the Nationals and Giants. It’s Stephen Strasburg versus Dereck Rodríguez, son of Iván, who of course was behind the plate for Strasburg’s major league debut nine years ago. Yep, it’s OK to start feeling old after reading that tidbit. After a great rookie season, Rodríguez has pitched OK through his first three

Some positive early-season developments (non-bullpen division)

You know what the dominant storyline of the Nationals’ season has been to date. It’s been the overriding narrative in nearly all of their 14 games so far. Which sometimes pushes other players and facets of this team out of the spotlight, through no fault of their own. So as a new week begins and the Nationals prepare to host the Giants for three games,

Sánchez turns in latest gem for Nationals rotation

Before Wander Suero pitched a 1-2-3 top of the eighth, before Adam Eaton and Howie Kendrick hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the eighth, before Sean Doolittle closed it out in the top of the ninth for the Nationals’ first save of the season, there was Aníbal Sánchez. The Nats’ dramatic 3-2 win over the Pirates on Saturday wouldn’t have been possible without the

After drama on ice, a comeback on the diamond

As he stood in the batter’s box with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, fouling off pitch after pitch, Adam Eaton heard some random pockets of the stands at Nationals Park begin to cheer. He wasn’t exactly sure what had happened, but he knew they weren’t cheering his foul balls off Richard Rodríguez. What Eaton didn’t know was that 2.4 miles north of

Back-to-back blasts propel Nationals to come-from-behind win

The Nationals finally found a formula to win a game late: Get a scoreless top of the eighth from one of their few effective relievers, take the lead with back-to-back homers in the bottom of the eighth, then let Sean Doolittle take care of the ninth. Oh, and do all this moments after the Capitals win a playoff game in overtime a few miles away.

Williams is next man up in ever-changing bullpen

Austen Williams figured something was up when he was summoned out of Fresno’s bullpen in the third inning of Friday night’s game at Las Vegas. He knew he wasn’t being called in to pitch that early in a game. Sure enough, Williams’ hunch was correct. He was being called up to Washington, and now he had to race the clock (and the sun) to get

Game 13 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates

The sun is out, and it’s going to be a warm afternoon here on South Capitol Street as the Nationals and Pirates return to action after last night’s rainy (and frustrating, for the Nats) affair. They’ll try to get back on track with Aníbal Sánchez on the mound, though, as we all know, the performance of the starter matters less than the performance of whichever

Bullpen’s latest collapse ends with Miller headed to IL

They can’t trust their planned setup man in any situation of consequence. The other experienced right-hander they added this winter can’t prevent an inherited runner from scoring. The lefty they signed late in spring training doesn’t look fully ready for this workload. And now one of the few members of the Nationals bullpen to perform early on and merit a chance in high-leverage spots is

Corbin’s gem, Rendon’s blasts wasted by another bullpen loss

Only two weeks in, the Nationals’ lineup has established an encouraging trend for late-game heroics, often making up for the club’s bullpen woes. Alas, they can’t always count on their bats to do the job their relief corps cannot. Especially when they’ve already done it once on a given night. It happened tonight during a 6-3, 10-inning loss to the Pirates that was as discouraging

Scherzer pushed back to Sunday, Sipp good to go tonight

Max Scherzer insists he could start as planned Saturday, but the Nationals decided not to take any chances with their ace after he was struck by a comebacker in his last outing, so they’ve pushed him back to Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates. Aníbal Sánchez will now start Saturday afternoon, though the veteran right-hander will be on normal rest thanks to the club’s off-day

Game 12 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates

For the first time this season, the Nationals are facing someone other than the Mets or Phillies. If they play, that is. Yes, if it’s a home game, that means there’s rain in the forecast. It appears that we may be OK early on, but there is a line of storms approaching that could impact us later tonight. As always, when we know something, you’ll

As bullpen finally settles down, Nats say no to Norris

That minor league deal the Nationals were working on with Bud Norris? It isn’t happening anymore. And that Nationals bullpen that had been a train wreck through the season’s first eight games? It might be starting to come together. Norris had been invited to West Palm Beach earlier this week to work out at extended spring training as Nationals baseball and medical personnel determined whether

Thursday morning Nats Q&A aboard Amtrak

SOMEWHERE ALONG THE AMTRAK NORTHEAST CORRIDOR - There’s nothing quite like covering a road trip via the train. It’s the way they used to do it all the time a few generations ago, and we still get a few opportunities to do it in the 21st century, like when the Nationals play the Mets and Phillies in succession. What a road trip this turned out

Nats win laugher, head home above .500 (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals left town one week ago having survived a ragged homestand against the Mets and Phillies, with a mess of a bullpen, a shortstop with a broken finger and a daunting road trip looming against those same two division rivals. The Nationals will return home tonight owners of a winning record, thanks to a potent lineup that scored 49 runs in six

After 0-for-9 start, Adams looks to find his groove (Nats up 14-0)

PHILADELPHIA - Matt Adams knows the situation here. He’s not going to be regular playing at first base as long as Ryan Zimmerman is healthy. So the big slugger knows he’s going to have to get himself into a rhythm at the plate even when he’s only getting one at-bat a night as a pinch-hitter. “It’s tough coming from spring training when you’re playing every

Scherzer still recovering from comebacker, start in question

PHILADELPHIA - Though they’ve listed him as their starter for Saturday’s game against the Pirates, the Nationals aren’t 100 percent sure yet Max Scherzer will be able to pitch as scheduled because he’s still feeling the effects of a comebacker off his lower right leg in his last outing. Scherzer would normally have thrown off a bullpen mound today in advance of his next start.

Game 11 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - If you thought last night’s game had some fireworks, you may want to tune in again tonight for the series finale between the Nationals and Phillies. Because if these two lineups were able to produce against Stephen Strasburg and Aaron Nola the way they did, imagine what could happen against Jeremy Hellickson and Nick Pivetta. No offense to those two right-handers, but they

Despite landmines, Nats surviving early NL East gauntlet

PHILADELPHIA - It was well past 11 p.m. and inside the Nationals clubhouse players were still coming down from the high they had just experienced during a dramatic, come-from-behind 10-6 victory over the Phillies. Their manager seemed to be on the verge of tearing up as he praised his team for battling through a wild ballgame to emerge victorious. The players had let out a

Late blasts by Robles, Soto propel Nats to wild victory (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - Bryce Harper’s early home run brought out a mighty roar from the Philly faithful. Victor Robles and Juan Soto’s late home runs brought out the boos. And the Nationals-Phillies rivalry just got ratcheted up to a whole new level. Brushing off Harper’s third-inning blast off Stephen Strasburg and a five-run deficit, the Nationals came storming back to stun the Phillies tonight, riding Robles’

Martinez sticking with pitcher eighth, Robles ninth (tied in 10th)

PHILADELPHIA - Davey Martinez has already been asked this question multiple times in the last week: Is he tempted to move Victor Robles out of the No. 9 spot in the Nationals lineup? And the manager’s answer has remained consistent. “Right now, no,” Martinez said. “I like what he’s doing in the nine-hole. We’re 10 days in, and he’s done really well. I want him

Nats working to finalize minor league deal with Norris (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals are working to finalize what will be a minor league contract with veteran right-hander Bud Norris, though the deal is not yet done, according to general manager Mike Rizzo. It’s their latest attempt to patch together a viable bullpen after a disastrous start to the season. Norris will report to the Nationals’ spring training headquarters in West Palm Beach and be

Game 10 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Though they lost 4-3, the Nationals played a clean, pretty crisp game last night. No, it wasn’t perfect, but neither was it anything like some of their other games to date that featured all manner of dysfunction. So Davey Martinez will be looking for a similar performance tonight. And yet, the Nationals need not only to play well but also to win, lest

Dozier finally rewarded for extra work with first Nats homer

PHILADELPHIA - Brian Dozier has been in the big leagues for eight years, and during that time he’s hit 173 homers, been an All-Star and three times received MVP votes. So he’s not the type to panic over a season-opening slump. And yet when he stepped to the plate in the top of the ninth Monday night, Dozier couldn’t avoid the giant picture of his

Phillies top Nationals in home run derby (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - There was no bullpen meltdown tonight, no wild back-and-forth ballgame featuring all kinds of twists and turns. No, the Nationals’ first game of the season at Citizens Bank Park featured quality pitching done in solely by five fly balls that reached the bleachers in this hitter-friendly facility. The Phillies’ 4-3 victory was rather ho-hum, at least in comparison to just about every other

Martinez will use Rosenthal again in low-pressure spot (Nats lose 4-2)

PHILADELPHIA - Davey Martinez gave Trevor Rosenthal an opportunity to get himself right pitching in a low-leverage spot Sunday afternoon, and it didn’t work. If the situation arises again tonight, Martinez will give his woefully ineffective reliever another opportunity to get himself right. Rosenthal, who hasn’t retired any of the nine batters he’s faced so far this season, remains an active member of the Nationals

Taylor “excited” to return only 3 1/2 weeks after spraining knee

PHILADELPHIA - When he saw Michael A. Taylor hit the ground hard making a diving catch March 14 in Fort Myers, Fla., Davey Martinez assumed it would be a long time before the Nationals outfielder was back in action again. Little could Martinez have imagined he’d be at Citizens Bank Park this afternoon, welcoming Taylor back to the active roster only 3 1/2 weeks after

Game 9 lineups: Nats at Phillies (Taylor activated)

PHILADELPHIA - We knew all along this opening stretch of the season was going to be a bear for the Nationals, who had to face the Mets and Phillies at home and then the same two teams on the road. And it indeed has been a bear, but the Nats have survived so far, going 3-3 against New York and entering tonight’s series opener against

Two years later, Nats face same bullpen mess, but in tougher division

NEW YORK - Max Scherzer had dominated, Anthony Rendon had homered and the Nationals had busted their way out to a double-digit lead on the road heading into the final innings. And then the majors’ worst bullpen somehow turned that blowout win into a tension-filled bottom of the ninth that ended in an unlikely save situation. Sound familiar? It should, because it just happened Sunday

Up 11 runs in seventh, Nationals hang on to win (updated)

NEW YORK - If Davey Martinez was asked this morning to draw up a best-case scenario for the Nationals’ series finale against the Mets, this had to be awfully close to what the second-year manager imagined. With his bullpen in shambles but his ace on the mound, Martinez was hoping not only for a dominant Max Scherzer start but also a big day at the

Ross joins bullpen after red eye from Fresno (Nats up 12-6)

NEW YORK - Desperate for bullpen help only a week and a half into the season, the Nationals have promoted one of their standby starters from the minors to take over a relief role. Joe Ross, who was supposed to open the season in the rotation at Triple-A Fresno, was recalled today, with infielder Adrián Sanchez optioned to Double-A Harrisburg to clear a roster spot.

Game 8 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - For all the trouble they’ve been through already this young season, the Nationals still have an opportunity to win a weekend series against the Mets today and get back to the .500 mark heading into a three-game series at Philadelphia. And they have Max Scherzer on the mound in an attempt to do it. Scherzer is already making his third start of

Corbin laments three mistakes in otherwise dominant start

NEW YORK - Patrick Corbin pitched well enough in his season debut to earn the win. He did not get the win. Patrick Corbin again pitched well enough in his second start of the season to earn the win. Again he did not get the win. One of these days, Corbin will be rewarded for his efforts. Until then, all the Nationals left-hander can do

New names, same result from bullpen in disastrous eighth

NEW YORK - The sight of Wilmer Difo rounding the bases, slapping his hands together in excitement, the crowd of 35,156 at Citi Field booing after the Nationals’ backup shortstop gave his team a two-run lead with an upper-deck home run in the top of the eighth, should have brought joy to anyone rooting for the visitors in this afternoon’s contest with the Mets. And

Eighth inning dooms Nationals again in 6-5 loss to Mets

NEW YORK - There isn’t much you can definitively say about a baseball season after only seven games, but here’s one point that appears safe to say even at this super-early juncture: Every single National League East game - perhaps except for those involving the Marlins - is going to be an absolute grind in 2019. It’s April 6 and already the Nationals have played

Martinez sticking with batting order for now (Nats lose 6-5)

NEW YORK - If the season was two or three weeks old, perhaps Davey Martinez would construct his lineup based on trends instead of track records. But the season is only one week old, and so for now, the Nationals manager is going to put his faith in track records over trends. The trends suggest Victor Robles shouldn’t be hitting ninth and Brian Dozier shouldn’t

Game 7 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - And we’re back. It’s been a very odd schedule to begin this season, with three days off already. But now the Nationals finally get into a consistent routine, with five consecutive game days beginning this afternoon at Citi Field. The Nats will look to make it three in a row and get over the .500 mark for the first time this season.

Saturday morning thoughts

NEW YORK - Some Saturday morning thoughts before the Nationals and Mets resume their weekend series at Citi Field ... * Davey Martinez opened the season with Victor Robles batting ninth because he liked the idea of using the rookie center fielder as a “second leadoff hitter,” someone who could occasionally set the table for Adam Eaton and Trea Turner. Well, that plan may actually

How Strasburg is pitching effectively with less velocity

NEW YORK - Stephen Strasburg is a flamethrower. At least, that’s the mental image most folks have when they first think of the Nationals right-hander. They remember the way Strasburg lit up the radar gun as a rookie in 2010, and even after returning from Tommy John surgery the following year. Ask the casual observer how hard Strasburg throws his fastball, and the answer probably

Beleaguered bullpen steps up to close out tough win

NEW YORK - It was the dominant storyline of the season’s first week, and it promises to remain that way through this first road trip of 2019. The Nationals are going to live and die by their bullpen, and after dying a few times at home against the Mets and Phillies, they were brought back to life by the beleaguered relief corps this afternoon during

Strasburg dominates early, bullpen comes up big late in 4-0 win

NEW YORK - Stephen Strasburg was brilliant. And his teammates did just enough against Noah Syndergaard to take a lead into the latter innings of today’s matinee at Citi Field. But as anyone who has watched only a few moments of Nationals baseball in 2019 already knew, none of this would matter if the majors’ most beleaguered bullpen couldn’t find a way to do its

Bruised Sánchez expects to make next start (Nats win 4-0)

NEW YORK - Aníbal Sánchez was sporting a bruise on his right hip this morning at Citi Field, but the Nationals right-hander has made it known he’ll be ready to make his next scheduled start. Sánchez, who was struck by Andrew McCutchen’s third-inning comebacker during Wednesday’s game in Washington, gave up two runs and put four runners on base in the fourth, then after attempting

Nationals bench gets boost with Kendrick’s return

NEW YORK - Howie Kendrick officially was activated off the injured list this morning, giving the Nationals the right-handed pinch-hitter they’ve missed for nearly 11 months. Kendrick, who spent the last month rehabbing from a strained left hamstring suffered during spring training, already had completed his long rehab from the ruptured right Achilles tendon he suffered last May. The 35-year-old utilityman’s absence was noted throughout

Game 6 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - Hello from Citi Field, where the Mets host the Nationals in their home opener only one week after the Nats hosted the Mets in their home opener on South Capitol Street. It was a short night for the Metropolitans, who had a 6:05 p.m. game in Miami and didn’t arrive back in New York until 2 a.m. The Nationals are a bit

Another bullpen meltdown, but another walk-off win

The day began with words of encouragement from the general manager to the embattled bullpen he assembled. “The bullpen’s struggling. There’s no other way to put it,” Mike Rizzo said. “We need to be more aggressive in the strike zone. We need to follow the game plan. We need to perform like the back of their baseball card says. ... We feel good about the

Turner lands on IL, Sanchez recalled, Kendrick ready Thursday

The Nationals officially placed Trea Turner on the 10-day injured list today, and though they are offering no firm timetable for his return the club is prepared to be without its starting shortstop for a significant stretch that figures to last at least a month. “We saw the X-ray, we put him on the injured list and we’ll see how he progresses,” general manager Mike

On Tuesday’s atmosphere, Turner’s injury, Soto’s struggles

Some morning-after thoughts following an eventful and emotional night at the ballpark, with the Nationals and Phillies turning right around to play today’s series finale this afternoon ... * Nats players were genuinely surprised by the crowd’s reaction to Bryce Harper in his first game back in town as a visiting player. They didn’t necessarily expect a standing ovation. But they certainly didn’t expect the

Scherzer wins early battles, Harper gets last laugh in blowout (updated)

The first five innings? They supplied great theater, a playoff-like vibe rarely found on a cold April night as Max Scherzer dueled Bryce Harper in front of a raucous crowd on South Capitol Street. The rest of tonight’s proceedings? They served as a not-so-subtle reminder of the bigger picture right now in this reborn rivalry: The Phillies mean business in 2019, and the Nationals had

Harper hoping for cheers, prepared for boos in return to D.C.

Sometime around 6:55 p.m. tonight, just before the announcement of the Phillies’ starting lineup, the Nationals will play a brief video tribute to Bryce Harper. Roughly 13-15 minutes after that, Harper will step to the plate to face Max Scherzer for the first time. And what does the former National expect the ovation to be like for all this? “I hope I get a great

Game 4 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

We’ve known this day was coming, officially for a month now, unofficially for longer than that. Bryce Harper is playing tonight at Nationals Park, and he’s not playing for the home team. How will the new Phillies slugger be greeted by the crowd? Check back shortly after 7 p.m. More importantly, how will Harper fare at the plate against Max Scherzer? The two have only

What to expect in Harper’s first - of many - visits to Nationals Park

Nationals fans, by and large, love former Nationals. Think of all the prominent ex-players who have come back as an opponent over the years, and think of the crowd’s response to them. Adam Dunn. Ian Desmond. Jordan Zimmermann. Adam LaRoche. Michael Morse. Wilson Ramos. Daniel Murphy. All received, at minimum, warm applause. Some got standing ovations. None was booed. Has anyone who previously played for

Corbin steps up with quality start when Nats needed one

Patrick Corbin knew the situation when he took the mound Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park. He knew what happened to the home club on opening day, then again on Saturday. He knew the responsibility that rested upon his left arm in his first-ever start for his new team. “I just wanted to go out there and give us a chance to win after those first

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