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Will new voting format help or hurt Nats’ All-Star chances?

For all their difficulties as a collective unit so far this season, the Nationals do have a host of players enjoying success on an individual level. Which means they could wind up with much better representation at the All-Star Game than you might normally expect from a team that resides closer to the bottom of the standings than the top. Even if their two All-Star

With improved health and depth, Nats lineup finally clicking

ATLANTA - If there was one aspect of the Nationals roster that seemed most likely to improve as the season progressed, it was a lineup that was short on results for the better part of two months but wasn’t short on talent. Injuries to the likes of Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Juan Soto, Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Adams left the lineup a shell of its

Everything goes Nats’ way in blowout of Braves (updated)

ATLANTA - Draw up a best-case scenario for the first five innings of tonight’s game from the Nationals’ perspective. Now multiply whatever outcome that came to mind by a factor of three. And then think up an even better scenario than that. Seriously, what more could the Nationals have done through five innings tonight at SunTrust Park? They scored 14 runs, batting around in both

Hellickson shut down with sore shoulder (Nats up 14-4)

ATLANTA - The Nationals have shut down Jeremy Hellickson from throwing after the right-hander was continuing to experience shoulder soreness while on the injured list. Hellickson, who went on the IL on May 21 with a strained right shoulder, was already throwing long toss that afternoon and believed he could keep himself sharp during what he hoped would be a brief stint off the active

Nationals sign veteran lefty Venters to minor league deal

ATLANTA - In their ongoing search for more bullpen help, the Nationals are taking a flier on veteran Jonny Venters, hoping the former Braves lefty can rediscover the form that made him effective last season but eluded him this year. The Nats signed Venters to a minor league contract and assigned him to Double-A Harrisburg, where he’ll attempt to get himself on track and perhaps

Game 56 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - The Nationals, as surely you know by now, have not swept a series yet this season. Shoot, they just finally completed their first three-game winning streak last weekend. But if they can beat the Braves again tonight, they will have crossed that off list at last. Yes, it’s only a two-game series, but beggars can’t be choosers. A win tonight would be no

Doolittle ditches toe tap, returns to peak form

ATLANTA - The toe tap was gone. The results were back to normal. Sean Doolittle looked like his old self again Tuesday night during a scoreless bottom of the ninth that preserved the Nationals’ 5-4 win over the Braves. He faced four batters, struck out three of them and emerged with his 10th save in a game his team desperately needed. And for the first

Strasburg dominates for seven, Doolittle closes out Braves (updated)

ATLANTA - They got the dominant start they needed from Stephen Strasburg. They got both the power and the patience they needed from their lineup to give them a late lead. They got a near-disaster in the eighth inning from one of the usual suspects out of the bullpen. But when they got an overdue clean ninth inning from Sean Doolittle, the Nationals escaped SunTrust

Sánchez will return to start Wednesday’s finale (Nats up 4-2)

ATLANTA - They waited to make a final decision until after tonight’s game, but the Nationals did decide to start Aníbal Sánchez in Wednesday night’s series finale against the Braves, believing the right-hander’s hamstring is fully healed even if he hasn’t built his arm all the way back up to a full workload yet. Sánchez, who strained his left hamstring May 16 against the Mets,

Game 55 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - The Nationals have already faced the Mets 13 times this season. They’ve faced the Phillies eight times. They’ve faced the Marlins seven times. Tonight, they finally face the Braves for the first of 19 head-to-head matchups this season. And it’s only a two-game series before they pack up and leave for Cincinnati. Weird schedule, to say the least. The Braves, seeking back-to-back division

More on Sunday’s win over the Marlins

More on Sunday’s 9-6 victory over the Marlins, which gave the Nationals their first three-game winning streak of the season ... * Howie Kendrick’s value to this team can’t be overstated. The veteran utility man has come through so many times for the Nationals when they’ve needed him to, and has proven to be so much more than a nice bat off the bench. Kendrick,

Nats finally get first three-game win streak of year (updated)

It took two months of agonizing starts and stops, encouraging moments followed by devastating meltdowns, series with contenders and series with also-rans. But this weekend it finally happened: The Nationals won three games in a row. It’s a modest achievement, to be sure. But the Nationals were the only team in the majors that had yet to win back-to-back-to-back games in 2019. And though it

Rosenthal remains on rehab with Harrisburg (Nats up 9-0)

Trevor Rosenthal enjoyed a clean inning of relief in his latest rehab appearance. Now the Nationals need to see him do it again. Rosenthal retired the side on 18 pitches, throwing 10 strikes, in a scoreless inning Saturday night for Double-A Harrisburg. It was his sixth outing while rehabbing, officially from a viral infection but practically from his inability to throw strikes while pitching for

Robles sticking with bunt technique despite close shave

The bunt is a big part of Victor Robles’ game. He has seven bunt singles already this season, three more than any other player in the major leagues. The hit-by-pitch, unfortunately, also is a big part of Robles’ game. He has been plunked eight times already this season, third-most in the majors. And sometimes these two truths are connected, with potentially frightening results. As was

Game 53 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

We’ve wondered countless times this season if the Nationals might be able to build and then sustain some positive momentum. And inevitably the answer has been an emphatic no. So even though they’ve won two straight over the Marlins, it would be wholly irresponsible to start talking about any kind of positive momentum at this point. However, if the Nats can do today what they

Nationals sign veteran reliever Kontos to minor league deal

In their neverending quest to improve the majors’ worst bullpen, the Nationals have acquired another veteran with considerable experience. The Nationals signed right-hander George Kontos on Saturday to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Fresno’s roster, where he’ll attempt to earn his way into Washington’s bullpen. Kontos, 33, owns a career 3.10 ERA and 1.154 WHIP in 350 big league games, the

Corbin cruises, defense shines in shutout of Marlins (updated)

Davey Martinez wasn’t pleased at all with the Nationals’ play Friday night. Yes, they beat the Marlins, but they did so in spite of themselves, booting balls in the field and burning up their bullpen on a night when their lineup scored 12 runs. Martinez wanted better play from his team. And he got it this afternoon in one of its best all-around showings of

Wednesday’s starter up in the air (Nats lead 5-0)

The Nationals haven’t decided yet who will start Wednesday’s game in Atlanta, with Aníbal Sánchez still on the injured list and Kyle McGowin having struggled in his place Friday night. Sánchez, on the 10-day IL with a strained hamstring, threw a 41-pitch simulated game Friday and was encouraged by the way he felt. Manager Davey Martinez said he’ll throw a side session in the bullpen

Ross returns to Fresno to be stretched out, Bourque promoted

The Nationals converted Joe Ross into a reliever earlier this season, hoping the career change might both reinvigorate the erratic right-hander and help address the big league club’s biggest need. Two months later, the Nats are shipping Ross back to the minors and appear to be converting him back into a starter. Ross was optioned to Triple-A Fresno this morning, his ERA (9.22) and WHIP

Game 52 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Nobody would try to claim the Nationals solved all of their woes last night during a wild 12-10 victory over the Marlins. As Davey Martinez disgruntledly explained afterward, his team still played sloppy in the field and got plenty of shaky work out of its bullpen. So the season is hardly saved. But a win’s a win, and the Nationals certainly need all they can

History suggests turnaround for Nats is nearly impossible

The common refrain emanating from the Nationals clubhouse over the last several weeks has been one of optimism. As bad as things have gone, they to a man insist there’s still time to salvage this season. Really, what else are they supposed to say? Nobody’s going to publicly give up on Memorial Day weekend. And if you’re a professional athlete, you have to believe anything

Nationals on the brink after embarrassing sweep (updated)

NEW YORK - The Nationals came to Flushing at the start of the week believing they had an opportunity to get their season back on track with a four-game series against a Mets club in complete disarray and with a manager in danger of being fired. They left town this afternoon having been swept in embarrassing fashion, having fallen to depths this franchise hasn’t experienced

With foot still sore, Zimmerman backs off running (Nats down 3-1)

NEW YORK - There’s only one regular member of the Nationals lineup still on the injured list, but it looks like he might be there a while longer. Ryan Zimmerman, who had been progressing in his rehab from plantar fasciitis, has backed off after feeling pain in his right foot while attempting to run in recent days. Davey Martinez stopped short of referring to it

Game 50 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - Quick turnarounds are always tough. Quick turnarounds after devastating losses during agonizing seasons are even tougher. But the Nationals have no choice but to come right back to Citi Field for today’s 12:10 p.m. series finale, hoping the result will be different than it was last night. And the night before that. And the night before that. Stephen Strasburg gets the start,

What else can Nats do to prevent ship from sinking?

NEW YORK - On the heels of a crushing loss that saw their bullpen blow a late lead, the Nationals gathered everyone together inside the visitors’ clubhouse at Citi Field and held a team meeting. The message was simple: Even during these trying times, everyone needs to stick together. No finger-pointing. Get through this as a collective unit, not as individuals. All of this happened

Doolittle coughs up six runs in shocking loss to Mets (updated)

NEW YORK - Davey Martinez got five outs from three relievers before deciding he couldn’t take any more chances. He walked to the mound with two outs in the eighth, signaled for the only reliable arm he has in his bullpen and asked him to protect a one-run lead against the bottom of the Mets lineup. And Sean Doolittle couldn’t do it. If the only

Adams back in lineup, Rosenthal still struggling (Nats up 1-0)

NEW YORK - Matt Adams took batting practice at Citi Field on Tuesday, sending pitch after pitch into the bleachers. So when the Nationals had to decide today whether to send the big slugger (whose strained left shoulder has now healed) on a brief minor league rehab assignment or just activate him off the injured list now, they didn’t hesitate to activate him and put

Game 49 lineups: Nats at Mets (Adams activated)

NEW YORK - Last year, a matchup between Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom was must-see TV for the implications it had on the Cy Young Award race. This year, it’s simply a game both the Nationals and Mets desperately need to win as a team, regardless of the men on the mound. Neither Scherzer nor deGrom is pitching at a Cy Young caliber right now,

Why Fedde was pulled after only 61 pitches

NEW YORK - Erick Fedde intended to pitch as long as he could Tuesday night, but the right-hander knew in his head how many innings he realistically could expect from himself when he took the mound to make his first big league start of 2019. “I honestly was really hoping for five,” he said. “I think in the last month or so I’ve only gone

By the slimmest of margins, Mets walk off Nats (updated)

NEW YORK - A hanging curveball to a guy who crushes curveballs. A towering drive over the foul pole ruled a home run after an inconclusive review. Two key insurance runs stranded in scoring position. And a two-hopper to short that could’ve sent the game into extra innings but instead sent the Mets into celebration and the Nationals into yet another demoralized dugout following yet

Guerra ready for whatever relief role is needed (game tied 5-5)

NEW YORK - Javy Guerra was hanging out in Toronto with his 2-year-old son Monday afternoon when he got a call from a Blue Jays official, informing the veteran reliever he had just been claimed off waivers by the Nationals. “Just hanging out,” he said. “And before you know it, you find out that you have to get down here and be ready to play

Game 48 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - The Nationals have touted Erick Fedde as a potential long-term piece of their rotation since the day they used a first round pick on him in 2014. The right-hander will get his latest opportunity to prove he’s ready for that responsibility tonight when he takes the mound at Citi Field. Pressed into starting duties after Aníbal Sánchez landed on the injured list

Hellickson lands on IL with shoulder strain (updated)

NEW YORK - Just as their lineup is returning to health, the Nationals rotation is losing pitchers to injury. Jeremy Hellickson became the latest Nats starter to land on the 10-day injured list this afternoon, sidelined with a strained right shoulder in a transaction that opens up a roster spot for newly acquired reliever Javy Guerra. Hellickson had not previously revealed any arm trouble to

On “little things” in loss, plus the latest Eaton-Frazier ruckus

NEW YORK - More on some little things that may have been lost in the shuffle during Monday night’s 5-3 loss to the Mets, plus the latest ruckus between Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier: * It wasn’t the difference in the game, but the insurance run the Mets scored in the bottom of the eighth was plenty significant. And it came about in large part

Nats can’t beat reeling Mets, lose another opener (updated)

NEW YORK - They’d never admit it publicly, but the Nationals had to arrive at Citi Field this afternoon, see the utter chaos taking place across the way in the Mets clubhouse, and think to themselves this was shaping up to be a good opener to a four-game series that could help jumpstart their own ragged season. And then they dug themselves into an early

Guerra could join bullpen Tuesday (Nats trail 4-2)

NEW YORK - Javy Guerra won’t join the Nationals bullpen until Tuesday at the earliest. But once he does, the club hopes the versatile veteran will help stabilize the majors’ worst relief corps. Guerra, claimed off outright waivers from the Blue Jays earlier today, wasn’t able to make it to New York in time for the Nationals’ series opener against the Mets. Manager Davey Martinez,

Zimmerman, Adams both progressing toward return

NEW YORK - After spending all but the first couple days of the season without their complete lineup, the Nationals are inching closer to the day when they get the two remaining regulars on their injured list back on the active roster. Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Adams each have taken significant steps in recent days in their rehab from injuries, and both first basemen could

Game 47 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - The Nationals are by no means in great shape right now, but at least they’re not the Mets. New York is a mess at the moment, having lost five straight, with rumors swirling about manager Mickey Callaway’s job security. They couldn’t even figure out who was going to start tonight. After announcing earlier this afternoon it would be right-hander Drew Gagnon, they

Sipp activated, Jennings designated, Guerra acquired

NEW YORK - As they prepare to open a four-game series against a reeling Mets club, the Nationals are remaking their bullpen on the fly again. The Nats have activated left-hander Tony Sipp off the injured list while also claiming veteran right-hander Javy Guerra off outright waivers from the Blue Jays. Dan Jennings, an in-season acquisition who never found his footing, was designated for assignment

What yesterday’s events mean for tonight’s game

A lot happened Thursday before, during and after the Nationals’ 7-6 victory over the Mets. And a lot of it matters heading into this weekend’s series against the Cubs, then into next week’s road trip to New York. So let’s run through several key developments and what it means tonight and beyond ... * Trea Turner is probably coming back tonight. Though Davey Martinez was

Nats overcome early injury to win first series in a month (updated)

The double blow of Aníbal Sánchez walking off the field with a hamstring injury in the top of the second and Erick Fedde then giving up four runs in the span of two pitches in the top of the third this afternoon had to send shivers up and down South Capitol Street. Just when you thought the Nationals might be on their way to their

Sánchez departs with hamstring injury (Nats lead 7-4)

Just when his teammates finally put him in prime position to earn his first win of the season, Aníbal Sánchez suffered an injury and was forced to depart this afternoon’s game at Nationals Park with only one out in the top of the second. Sánchez had pitched effectively, retiring the first four Mets batters he faced before allowing a one-out single to J.D. Davis in

Turner could return from injured list Friday

The Nationals may have Trea Turner back in their lineup Friday night. Turner, who broke his right index finger 6 1/2 weeks ago, emerged from back-to-back rehab games with Single-A Potomac feeling well. He was back at Nationals Park this morning, working out before the Nats’ series finale against the Mets. A final decision hasn’t been made yet, but club officials will consider activating their

Game 43 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

The Nationals haven’t won back-to-back games since April 17-18. Today, of course, is May 16. That’s a long time to go without winning consecutive games. That’s also the last time the Nats won a series (against the Giants). That’s a long time to go without winning two of three. Suffice it to say, the Nationals would love to snap both of those streaks this afternoon.

Corbin sets the tone as Nats cruise to victory over Mets (updated)

There are nights, like this, when you are reminded the Nationals indeed are capable of playing good baseball. They can get a dominant outing from one of their elite starters, and they can reward him for the effort by stringing together big hits in multiple innings, making all the plays they need to make behind him and then closing things out sans bullpen drama. The

Struggling near top of order, Robles could drop down soon

For weeks, Davey Martinez insisted he preferred to keep Victor Robles at the bottom of his daily lineup, believing the rookie outfielder was benefitting from the lower-pressure position in his batting order. Circumstances - injuries, plus Robles’ success - left Martinez with no choice but to move the 21-year-old up in the lineup. But three weeks later, it’s becoming clearer why Martinez felt the way

Game 42 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Patrick Corbin has already faced the Mets twice this season, and he pitched well enough both times to emerge with a win. The left-hander, alas, did not get credited with a win after either of those starts. So he’ll try to get over that hump tonight when he faces New York for the third time in 2019. The Nationals, in a recurring theme, haven’t taken

With “newfound confidence,” Fedde excelling in bullpen

Here’s one thing that’s going well for the Nationals right now: Erick Fedde as a reliever. Long touted as the organization’s top starting prospect, Fedde has made a smooth transition to the bullpen over the last two weeks and is thriving in his new role. It’s only four total outings, but Fedde has yet to allow a run in eight innings of work, with only

First-inning mistakes doom Nats in loss to Mets (updated)

It takes an awful lot for the Nationals to win a baseball game these days. It takes excellent starting pitching. It takes timely hitting from a lineup that seems to only score in one inning per contest. It takes effective work from the majors’ least effective bullpen. And it takes clean defense, an occurrence most clubs can assume will be on display most nights but

Mistake in field sets up Ramos’ grand slam (Nats down 5-2)

The Nationals opened a key homestand this evening needing to play clean baseball and get things off on the right foot. Three batters into their series opener against the Mets, they couldn’t turn a routine double play. And three batters after that, they gave up a grand slam to a former teammate and fan favorite. Yep, things are going swimmingly so far tonight on South

Turner rehabs at Potomac, Zimmerman takes grounders

Trea Turner is taking the field tonight in Woodbridge, Va., for his first game action in six weeks. Ryan Zimmerman was on the field this afternoon at Nationals Park for his first baseball activities in 2 1/2 weeks. Slowly but surely, the Nationals are getting healthier, and the next player on track to return from the injured list appears to be Turner, who tonight is

Game 41 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

There’s a ballgame being played tonight in Washington, and that in and of itself is good news for the local club, which last set foot on the turf here 12 days ago. The Nationals have a six-game homestand against the Mets and Cubs, and they’ll try to get things off on the right foot tonight against a New York team that has lost 10 of

Nats return home from brutal trip desperate to make up ground

It’s been 12 days since the Nationals last played a ballgame in D.C. Derek Lilliquist was still their pitching coach. Juan Soto and Matt Adams hadn’t gone on the injured list yet. Gerardo Parra was still employed by the Giants. Yeah, a lot has happened since then. Most of it negative, with a few positive developments sprinkled in around the edges. When the Nationals finally

Monday morning Nats Q&A

I’ll admit I’ve been holding off doing a Q&A for a few weeks, because I know where this is likely going. There’s a lot of aggravation out there among Nationals fans, and while it’s certainly justified, it also tends to lead to irrational and unproductive conversations that put your trusty beat writer in awkward and no-win situations. But I know you have thoughts, and I

How do Nationals flip narrow losses into narrow wins?

The Nationals knew this was going to be a tough road trip. But this tough? Yikes. Already 1-5 at Philadelphia and Milwaukee, the Nats now must head to Los Angeles for a four-game series at Dodger Stadium against the National League’s best team to date in 2019. And they’ll do so with a lineup still decimated by injuries, a bullpen still lacking in reliable arms

Lifeless Nats fall into early hole, get swept for first time (updated)

MILWAUKEE - No matter how agonizing the losses have been up to this point, the Nationals have been able to legitimately say they played hard and walked off the field at the end of the day confident that a lack of effort was not the issue. They had to answer that question, though, after today’s 7-3 loss to the Brewers, even after a last-ditch rally

Source: Nats in talks with veteran outfielder Parra (down 7-3)

MILWAUKEE - Desperate for healthy position players and more veterans on their bench, the Nationals are in discussions with outfielder Gerardo Parra and could finalize a deal in the coming days, according to a source familiar with the talks. No deal is done at this point, the source said, but the addition of Parra would make sense for a Nationals club that has been decimated

Game 36 lineups: Nats at Brewers

MILWAUKEE - The Nationals haven’t been swept in any of the 11 series they’ve played to date. For all their woes, they’ve managed to go 8-3 in series finales and 5-0 when facing a potential sweep. So that’s what’s at stake this afternoon at Miller Park, where the Nats have dropped two in a row despite getting dominant starts from Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

Martinez pleads for hitters to start putting the ball in play

MILWAUKEE - The Nationals have been fielding a lineup lacking a host of key regulars for a while now, that’s nothing new. Guys are starting to return, with Anthony Rendon coming off the injured list Monday, Juan Soto hopefully joining him Saturday and Trea Turner perhaps within two weeks of his activation off the IL. How, though, do the Nats score any runs in the

Game falls apart in seventh as Nats fall on road again (updated)

MILWAUKEE - Anthony Rendon was a welcome addition to the Nationals lineup, until he got ejected. Stephen Strasburg was dominating a tough lineup, until he couldn’t get one final out. And Dan Jennings ... well, he simply couldn’t get any outs, turning a competitive game into a rout. The Nationals’ 6-0 loss to the Brewers tonight was dripping with all sorts of new drama, none

On today’s flurry of roster moves, plus injury updates (Nats down 6-0)

MILWAUKEE - Though they got one key player back from the injured list today, the Nationals placed a key reliever on the IL. All while watching two players hurt during Monday night’s loss avoid the IL (for now) and another key regular who has been on the IL more than a month take an important step forward his recovery. Oh, they also demoted their top

Game 35 lineups: Nats at Brewers (Rendon up, Kieboom down)

MILWAUKEE - It’s not enough to completely change the complexion of the lineup, but the Nationals do have to feel a little better about the state of things now because they’ve got Anthony Rendon back 17 days after he was hit by a pitch in the left elbow. Yes, the Nationals have officially activated Rendon off the 10-day injured list. He’ll be at third base

With Rendon ready to return, will Kieboom return to Fresno?

MILWAUKEE - For the first time in a long time, the Nationals expect to be adding significant players to their active roster today instead of subtracting them. Anthony Rendon is eligible to come off the 10-day injured list. And unless something unforeseen happened late Monday night or happens over the next few hours, the star third baseman will be activated and be in the Nats’

Nats lose two more players, another series opener (updated)

MILWAUKEE - The sleep-deprived Nationals landed in Milwaukee 16 hours later than scheduled, thanks to a travel nightmare late Sunday night and early this morning in Philadelphia. They had every reason to complain about their travails, and the fact they now had to open another tough road series while fielding an injury depleted lineup. But they chose to try to look on the bright side.

Rendon on track to return to lineup Tuesday (game tied 2-2)

MILWAUKEE - The first key injured member of the Nationals lineup is on the verge of returning to the active roster. Anthony Rendon is eligible to come off the 10-day injured list Tuesday, and manager Davey Martinez said the club is preparing for its star third baseman to be activated for the second game of this week’s series against the Brewers. “He’s going to hit

Game 34 lineups: Nats at Brewers

MILWAUKEE - The Nationals successfully made it to Milwaukee, albeit 16 hours later than originally scheduled. After landing at the airport shortly after 11:30 a.m., they decided to push back their pregame routine and give guys more time to rest up at the hotel. So there’s no formal batting practice today, and the clubhouse doesn’t even open until two hours before first pitch. (It typically

Nats finally heading to Milwaukee after being grounded in Philly

MILWAUKEE - How banged up are the Nationals right now? Even the team’s charter plane was physically unable to perform Sunday night. A mechanical issue on the club’s Delta charter left the entire team sitting on the tarmac in Philadelphia nearly eight hours late Sunday night and early Monday morning. After all that, the entire traveling party went back to its downtown hotel to get

Pressure’s on veterans to produce until lineup gets healthy

MILWAUKEE - The Nationals are in a real bind right now. That’s not some kind of major revelation, but it’s the truth. When you lose the Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 hitters from your opening day lineup, plus the guy who took over as cleanup hitter because of one of those injuries, plus the No. 4 outfielder who had been thrust into the daily

Injury-ravaged Nationals fold late in loss to Phillies (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - They might not have ever admitted it publicly, but the Nationals knew the deck was stacked against them when they took the field for today’s series finale against the Phillies. On a gray, windy, rainy Sunday afternoon, the Nats fielded a lineup with only three regulars who started on opening day. Their usual leadoff hitter was batting third. Their backup catcher was batting

Adams latest to IL, Rendon could return Tuesday (Nats down 7-1)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals added yet another significant position player to the injured list today, with Matt Adams now off the active roster due to what for now is being called a left shoulder strain. Michael A. Taylor, meanwhile, remains on the active roster even though he underwent an MRI this morning on his left wrist after jamming it into the turf trying to make

Game 33 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - It’s an absolute mess in South Philly today. In every possible way. The weather is terrible. The traffic is terrible because of the nearby Broad Street Run. There’s a Sixers playoff game across the street at 3:30 p.m. And then there’s the Nationals roster. For now, the Phillies say they’re going to try to get this game in, though it won’t start on

State of the Nats roster after the latest bout of injuries

PHILADELPHIA - So, about the state of the Nationals roster ... Everyone inside the visitors’ clubhouse was aglow last night following a 10-8 win over the Phillies that defied logic, but the reality of the situation also had to set in at some point. This team is decimated by injuries right now, and two more players joined the club during this game. Matt Adams and

Depleted, dejected Nationals pull off dramatic win (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - They are underachieving, there is no question of that. Their bullpen remains a mess, and their lineup is now in shambles, with regulars dropping like flies and even their backups falling victim to injury. They have dug themselves into a hole in the highly competitive National League East, and they’re going to face a devil of a time trying to climb their way

Fedde will pitch out of bullpen in minors (Adams, Taylor injured)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals are going to try Erick Fedde out as a reliever again. After watching the right-hander dazzle during a four-inning relief appearance against the Padres earlier this week, the Nats decided not to move him back to the rotation at Double-A Harrisburg but instead to let him continue to work as a reliever. If things go well, they’ll likely bring him back

Soto lands on IL, Turner “a little ahead of schedule”

PHILADELPHIA - Juan Soto was hitting in the cage before Wednesday’s game at Nationals Park when he first noticed a problem with his back. “I was hitting in the cage, and I just did a deep breath and started feeling something, and I went right to the trainer’s room,” he said. “And then it was stuck, and I can’t even move. And after that I

Game 32 lineups: Nats at Phillies (Soto placed on IL)

PHILADELPHIA - And we’re back for another evening at the ballpark. You know the drill by now. The Nationals, after dropping a series opener, will try to get back on track despite an injury-depleted lineup and a patched-together bullpen. They’ll hope their starter gives them a bunch of quality innings, then hope they can cobble the rest together and emerge victorious. That depleted lineup has

With Soto now unavailable, how do Nats generate offense?

PHILADELPHIA - For all the agonizing over the pitching decisions made during Friday night’s 4-2 loss to the Phillies, the continued lack of any sustained offense by the Nationals played just as much of a role in the club falling to 1-10 in series openers this season. “We didn’t hit,” manager Davey Martinez said. “We’ve got to score more than two runs. (Jeremy Hellickson) kept

Critical pitching decision backfires in Nats’ 4-2 loss (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - It doesn’t happen every single night, but on occasion a major league manager faces a critical pitching decision in the latter innings of a tight ballgame, one that is likely to impact the outcome of the contest. Sometimes the pitchers involved get the job done and reward the manager for his decision-making process. Sometimes they fail and the manager is left to explain

Soto sidelined for third straight day (Nats down 4-2)

PHILADELPHIA - At a time when they can’t afford to lose any more middle of the order hitters, the Nationals now find themselves without yet another middle of the order hitter. Juan Soto, still dealing with back spasms, is not in the Nationals’ lineup for the third straight night. And if this continues much longer, the club may have to consider putting the young outfielder

Menhart hopes to make quick difference after “emotional” call

PHILADELPHIA - Paul Menhart was walking his Australian Shepherd Husky Mix, Gracie, at home in Richmond Hill, Ga., three days ago when Nationals assistant general manager Doug Harris called. Menhart and Harris have worked together for years as two key members of the organization’s minor league operation, and they kid around with each other plenty. So when Harris explained why he was calling, Menhart at

Game 31 lineups: Nats at Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - We’re only five weeks into the season, but the Nationals already are making their second trip to Citizens Bank Park. In something of a scheduling quirk, they’ll have faced the Phillies eight times before they ever see the Braves for the first time in 2019. This is also the start of an odd but difficult road trip that also features stops in Milwaukee

Lilliquist’s firing underscores need for pitching to improve

The timing may have felt odd, given that it came minutes after a much-needed win that included a dominant start and effective relief with zero margin for error. And that it came after a little mini-run of five games that has seen improved pitching across the board, but especially from a bullpen that is attempting to stabilize itself after a disastrous opening month. But what

Kieboom learning how to cope with big league struggles

The Nationals don’t take lightly the decision to call up a top prospect. It’s not as simple as promoting a young player because his minor league stats jump off the page. There’s a mental component to it as well, and they’ve got a pretty good track record at knowing the right time to summon budding stars like Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto to

Sloppy defense dooms Nats in third straight loss to Cards (updated)

Given the current state of their depleted lineup, the Nationals cannot afford to give the opposition extra runs with shaky play in the field. They certainly can’t afford to give them four extra runs. The Nationals lost to the Cardinals for the third straight night, this time by a 5-1 count. They again struggled to come up with productive at-bats when they had opportunities to

On the bullpen’s three-game turnaround and Ross’ role in it

OK, it’s only three games on the heels of 25 games with decidedly worse results. It’s going to take much more time for the Nationals bullpen to be considered fixed after a disastrous opening month to the season. But that doesn’t mean the last three days can’t be viewed with optimism, because it’s been a night-and-day performance for this beleaguered group. Beginning with Erick Fedde’s

Game 29 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals (Soto scratched)

It’s a new month, and the Nationals can only hope things go better in May than they did in April. One way to try to make that happen? Dominant performances from the top of their rotation. They’re sending Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg to the mound the next two days against the Cardinals, so the table is certainly set for this to happen. Scherzer was

After familiar April, Nationals need a bounceback May

Amid all the questions that were being asked of him following Tuesday night’s 3-2 loss, Davey Martinez had one question for the assembled media in his postgame press conference. “Is tomorrow May 1?” the Nationals manager asked. “I can’t wait until tomorrow.” The calendar indeed has turned, and not a moment too soon for a Nats club that just endured through an awfully frustrating April

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