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Nationals pick up trio of relievers, including Strickland (updated)

As 4 p.m. drew ever closer, the time had come for general managers around the league to settle on best offers and get deals done before the trade deadline strikes. And sure enough, the action picked up fast and furious for the Nationals, who landed three late-inning relievers in the span of about 30 minutes this afternoon, headlined by the once-notorious Hunter Strickland. The Nats

Nationals reach trade deadline with clear-cut needs

The Nationals have known for the better part of four months now they were going to need to upgrade their bullpen before the July 31 trade deadline. And for four months, they’ve tried every trick in the book to address their most glaring need without breaking the bank or dealing away top prospects. Today we finally find out if they’re willing to do something bold

Rotation questions abound after Fedde blasted by Braves

As the focus has remained squarely on their bullpen, which has been in need of upgrades since opening day, lurking underneath the surface of the Nationals’ red-hot summer has been the question of rotation depth. Would Mike Rizzo need to acquire a No. 5 starter before the July 31 trade deadline? Rizzo last week insisted such a move wasn’t necessary, that he liked his team’s

Bruised foot still sore, Adams out of lineup again

If he could play, Matt Adams surely would have been in the Nationals’ lineup tonight, with Davey Martinez wanting the lefty slugger batting fifth against Braves right-hander Julio Teheran. The drop-off to Howie Kendrick (who happens to be 6-for-18 with three doubles in his career vs. Teheran) isn’t all that steep. But under normal circumstances, Adams would be the choice tonight. “Oh, yeah,” Martinez said.

Game 107 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

Why was Monday night’s win so important for the Nationals? Because it allowed them to take early control of this three-game series with the Braves, who are now the ones facing some pressure to bounce back and not let their lead in the division dwindle to 3 1/2 games. The Nationals still have plenty of work to do to take this series, and they face

Soto shows off improved glove with leaping grab at wall

The ball went flying off Adam Duvall’s bat and all eyes immediately turned toward Juan Soto in deep left field to gauge just how well Duvall had hit it. The way he calmly backtracked to the wall, Soto certainly seemed to have a bead on it. But when he ran out of real estate and had to leap, the crowd at Nationals Park held its

Rendon’s slam lifts Nats a step closer to Braves (updated)

He stepped to the plate with the bases loaded, two outs and a ballgame between the division’s top two clubs tied in the bottom of the sixth. The crowd, which had been fairly docile all night, only stood to urge the batter on once he got to a 2-0 count and the scoreboard began pleading with everyone to “Get On Your Feet!” Once they rose,

Scherzer placed on IL, Fedde recalled (updated)

Max Scherzer spent a grand total of 20 days on the injured list in his first 11 1/2 seasons as a big league pitcher. Among all his other achievements during a potential Hall of Fame career, his ability to take the ball every turn through the rotation for more than a decade stood out as especially rare in today’s game. Now a lingering back injury

After surviving Dodgers, banged-up Nats now host Braves

The Nationals survived their weekend series with the Dodgers. That’s probably the best way to describe what took place the last three days on South Capitol Street, where the majors’ hottest team of the last two months took on the majors’ best team of the entire season and suffered a pair of frustrating losses before bouncing back to win Sunday’s finale. Given the matchup and

Strasburg again leads the way in much-needed win (updated)

Max Scherzer was trying to get his upper back healthy enough to pitch again. Davey Martinez and Adam Eaton were fuming in the clubhouse after getting ejected in the bottom of the first. Matt Adams was in the trainer’s room getting his injured right foot treated. The Nationals were missing plenty this afternoon as they faced the very real prospect of a weekend sweep at

Scherzer’s chances of facing Braves dwindling (Nats win 11-4)

Max Scherzer’s chances of missing another start against the Braves appear to be growing, leaving the Nationals again facing the prospect of a critical series with the National League East leaders without the services of their ace. Scherzer, still dealing with a lingering upper back injury that has limited him to one start in the last three weeks, has not yet thrown a ball since

Game 105 lineups: Nats vs. Dodgers

The Nationals haven’t been in this position for a while, needing to win a series finale to avoid a sweep. It was an all-too-common scenario back in April and May, but they’ve usually found themselves in the polar opposite situation since. But after dropping their first two games to the Dodgers this weekend - not to mention after dropping Thursday’s finale against the Rockies as

Nationals left confused by ruling on play at plate

The focus should have been on Adam Eaton, whose 11-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh Friday night might well have been his best of the season. After fouling off five straight pitches from Cy Young Award contender Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Nationals’ scrappy No. 2 hitter lined a base hit over the shortstop’s head, bringing the tying run home as

Nationals’ fatal flaw on display in 4-2 loss to Dodgers (updated)

The pennant race tonight returned to South Capitol Street, where a crowd of 37,491 turned the ballpark as electric as it had been in at least a month, the last time the Nationals faced a fellow National League contender. The Nationals and Dodgers put on a show worthy of these kind of high stakes and gave a taste of what a potential five-game series might

Muscle strain leaves Scherzer’s status up in the air

Though he felt fine in the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s start against the Rockies, Max Scherzer cautioned all along he wouldn’t know he was in the clear from his lingering back injury until he saw how he felt after he woke up today. So when Scherzer arose this morning and felt tightness in his upper back, he was frustrated but not surprised. And now the

Game 103 lineups: Nats vs. Dodgers

And now begins the toughest portion of the Nationals’ schedule. They’ve been able to feast on some struggling teams (Marlins, Tigers, Royals, Orioles, Rockies) in recent weeks, but now the Nats have back-to-back series against the National League’s top two teams to date this season: the Dodgers and Braves. Next week’s series vs. Atlanta means more in the grand scheme of things, but that doesn’t

Scherzer rusty, but healthy in return from injured list

Max Scherzer would’ve liked the outcome to be better. He would’ve liked to last more than five innings. He would’ve liked to give up fewer than three runs. He would’ve liked to not be pulled after only 86 pitches. But all of that from Thursday’s start was secondary in Scherzer’s mind to the more pressing takeaway: He felt healthy for the first time in three

After clutch hits, exhausted Nats bullpen takes loss (updated)

After getting an abbreviated start from Max Scherzer, yet another clutch hit from Gerardo Parra, a tack-on homer from Matt Adams and six outs from Tanner Rainey, Tony Sipp and Wander Suero, Davey Martinez reached the top of the ninth this evening with the Nationals holding a one-run lead over the Rockies. But now the second-year manager had to answer the most pressing question of

Soccer star Krieger celebrated before series finale (Nats lose 8-7)

Growing up a baseball fan in Northern Virginia in the ’90s, Ali Krieger was an Orioles fan. Given the fact there was no major league team in Washington at the time - not to mention the quirky fact her aunt grew up with and actually dated Cal Ripken Jr. way back when - this was understandable. Once baseball returned to town in 2005, Krieger was

Voth shut down with shoulder tendinitis

The Nationals’ fifth-starter carousel is going to be without one of its members for a while. Austin Voth, who was beginning to establish himself as a viable back-of-the-rotation option for manager Davey Martinez before landing on the injured list earlier this week, has been diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis and has been shut down from throwing. Voth was tentatively scheduled to start last Sunday in Atlanta,

Game 102 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies

The last time Max Scherzer was on the mound for the Nationals, he was wearing an Expos uniform. And he was on fire. With seven scoreless innings of 11-strikeout ball against the Royals, Scherzer had capped off a brilliant seven-start stretch that included a 7-0 record, 0.87 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 79-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Scherzer, of course, hasn’t pitched since then because of a back

Nationals’ 50-game turnaround has been historic

When the Nationals hit their low point back on May 24, more than a few publications wrote off their chances of winning in 2019. Why, a certain longtime beat writer declared it would be “nearly impossible to turn the entire season around.” Ha ha ha. What a moron. Guess what the Nationals proceeded to do. They turned their entire season around. There’s still a long

Nationals do enough right to win opener (updated)

The stands were mostly empty, the prospect of a long day and night of baseball was looming and the Nationals and Rockies had to conjure up the energy to get through today’s doubleheader opener on their own. That made for what at times was a sleepy afternoon of baseball on South Capitol Street. In the end, the Nationals managed to engage themselves just enough at

Adams back in spotlight with Zimmerman on IL (Nats up 2-1)

Matt Adams has been in this position before. It happened last year. It happened earlier this year. Adams has known throughout his tenure with the Nationals that his playing time would be limited when Ryan Zimmerman was healthy. But he’s also known he would need to step in and become a regular if and when Zimmerman suffered injury, an all-too-frequent occurrence in recent years. So

Game 100 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies

After a thrilling Tuesday night at the ballpark - thrilling, at least, once Trea Turner completed his second career cycle in the bottom of the seventh - the Nationals are right back at the park this morning for what promises to be a long day and night of baseball. Monday’s rainout - did it ever actually rain during the evening hours? - forced them to

Turner hits for second career cycle in Nats’ romp (updated)

The first time he did it - on a frigid, 43-degree Denver night in April 2017 - Trea Turner’s accomplishment could perhaps be chalked up in part to the conditions. Yes, he hit for the cycle, but he did it at Coors Field, where nine different major leaguers have done it in the ballpark’s 25-year history. “For me, it’s hard to get that triple,” he

Scherzer set to return Thursday (and face Braves three times)

Barring any setbacks in the next 48 hours, the Nationals plan to activate Max Scherzer off the injured list for Thursday’s series finale against the Rockies, a decision they are admittedly making in part because it would then line him up for several key starts the rest of the season ... including a potential wild card game in October. Yep, they’ve extrapolated the schedule out

Game 99 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies

And we’re back. The Nationals got an unexpected (but probably needed) night off with Monday’s postponement (rain optional) so now they’re rested and refreshed for tonight’s delayed start of a four-game series with the Rockies. They better have caught up on their sleep, though, because they’ve now got to play four games in the span of about 51 hours. It begins tonight with Stephen Strasburg

Nats facing major obstacles as trade deadline approaches

ATLANTA - As he tries to navigate his way through these final days before the July 31 trade deadline, Mike Rizzo has to cope with the following realties: * The Nationals need bullpen help. * Their list of desirable prospects isn’t nearly as long as it has been in the past. * They can’t afford to take on much more salary without surpassing the league’s

Nationals’ streaks end in lopsided loss to Braves

ATLANTA - If the streak was going to end, this probably felt like the night it would happen, with the backup to the backup starter on the mound. If a member of the Nationals rotation was going to take a loss for the first time in 28 games, Joe Ross was a good candidate. And yet tonight’s 7-1 loss to the Braves can’t really be

Zimmerman appears to re-injure heel (Nats down 3-0)

ATLANTA - Ryan Zimmerman’s return from plantar fasciitis appears to have lasted only three weeks. Zimmerman winced as he ran down the first base line for an infield single in the top of the second inning tonight at SunTrust Park and had to depart the Nationals’ series finale against the Braves. The Nationals didn’t immediately announce a reason for Zimmerman’s departure, but it appeared he

Scherzer aiming to return Thursday, Voth heads to IL

ATLANTA - The Nationals are preparing for Max Scherzer to return to the rotation Thursday afternoon and start their series finale against the Rockies. Scherzer, who hasn’t pitched since July 6 due to an inflamed bursa sac underneath his right shoulder blade, continues to feel better from a cortisone shot he received earlier in the week. Manager Davey Martinez said the right-hander is scheduled to

Game 98 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - The Nationals have a chance to take three of four from the Braves with a win in tonight’s series finale. They would’ve loved to have Max Scherzer on the mound for this one, as originally hoped, but that won’t happen. They planned to have Austin Voth on the mound, but that won’t happen either. The right-hander has been placed on the 10-day injured

Nats-Braves games have become must-see TV

ATLANTA - Sean Doolittle, still on something of an emotional high after notching a five-out save Saturday night, was asked about the significance of extending himself beyond his normal workload for this particular game. “I think just where we’re at right now in the season - the standings, against the Braves, especially after losing a tough one last night - I don’t know if tonight

Doolittle gets five outs to preserve Nats’ tense win (updated)

ATLANTA - Davey Martinez wasn’t willing to use Sean Doolittle in the ninth inning Friday night. He was willing to use his closer in the eighth inning tonight. And the Nationals manager was rewarded for his aggressive pitching maneuver with a nip-and-tuck victory that ensures his team will at worst split this weekend’s series against the division leaders. Doolittle, making his first appearance in a

Voth’s start in question, Scherzer throws pain-free (Nats up 4-3)

ATLANTA - Austin Voth may not be able to make his start in place of Max Scherzer on Sunday night, but Scherzer’s chances of starting later in the week jumped up significantly after the Nationals ace was able to throw off a bullpen mound today for the first time since he went on the injured list. Since it became clear Scherzer wouldn’t be ready to

Game 97 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - The Nationals are attempting to pick themselves up off the mat after Friday night’s crushing loss. But in order to do that, they’ll need to take down the Braves’ ace tonight. Mike Soroka, the 21-year-old owner of a 10-1 record and 2.24 ERA, takes the mound at SunTrust Park. He hasn’t take a loss since April 18 against the Diamondbacks. The Nats got

Rookie Robles rising to occasion in big moments

ATLANTA - The bottom of the ninth at SunTrust Park last night left a sour taste in the Nationals’ mouths. But it couldn’t completely wash away the brief moment of exuberance they felt in the top of the ninth when Victor Robles provided his latest bit of late-game heroics. Robles’ game-tying, two-run homer with two outs against Braves closer Luke Jackson was a jaw-dropping moment

Nats lose after wild, head-scratching ninth inning (updated)

ATLANTA - They had just watched Victor Robles provide the latest in a summer full of jaw-dropping, inspiring moments to bring the Nationals back from the dead. Down to their last out in what had been a sleepy night at SunTrust Park for 8 2/3 innings, the Nats had just tied the game on Robles’ monster home run off Braves closer Luke Jackson. And then,

Inflamed bursa sac will keep Scherzer on IL (Nats down 3-1)

ATLANTA - An inflamed bursa sac in his back will prevent Max Scherzer from pitching Sunday night against the Braves, but the Nationals ace is optimistic he’ll be good to go soon, once a cortisone shot he received earlier this week takes full effect. Scherzer, who hasn’t pitched since July 6 due to what initially was explained by the Nationals to be a mid-back strain,

Game 96 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - The Nationals couldn’t have asked for a better start to this big weekend series. Now they’ll look to keep it rolling tonight and perhaps move to within three games in the loss column of the Braves. They’ll do so with a historically notable battery. Patrick Corbin and Yan Gomes are each celebrating their birthdays today (Gomes is 32, Corbin is 30). And they’re

On Zimmerman’s hard contact and Rainey’s whiffs

ATLANTA - Stephen Strasburg stole the show Thursday night, but there was more to the Nationals’ 13-4 win over the Braves than the right-hander’s stunning offensive performance. ... * Ryan Zimmerman hit the ball hard four times and wound up with two doubles. It began as a frustrating evening for Zimmerman, who was 0-for-3 through four innings and struck out with two on, one out

Strasburg’s bat carries Nats to blowout win over Braves (updated)

ATLANTA - The ball cracked off his bat at 105 mph and soared on a 420-foot journey over the left field bullpen at SunTrust Park. And as the big slugger rounded the bases, the visitors’ dugout roared with approval and formed its customary dance line to greet the man who had just clubbed this no-doubt home run. And then Stephen Strasburg danced. It was awkward,

Strasburg homers, has five RBIs (Nats lead 10-1)

ATLANTA - Stephen Strasburg has become the latest Nationals hitter to go through the dugout dance line following a home run. Yes, you read that correctly. Strasburg launched a 420-foot laser over the left field bullpen at SunTrust Park, capping an eight-run top of the third for the Nationals, who have opened up a commanding lead over the Braves in the opener of this critical,

Still not 100 percent, Scherzer still up in air for weekend

ATLANTA - If Max Scherzer is going to face the Braves this weekend, he’s going to have to make some significant strides in the next 24 hours. And he’s going to have to convince the Nationals powers that it’s worth putting him on the mound even if he’s potentially not 100 percent healthy. Scherzer, who hasn’t pitched since July 6 due to a mid-back strain,

Game 95 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA - No team in baseball has a better winning percentage since May 25 than the Nationals: .690. The next-best winning percentage after that: .659, by the Braves. And so the Nats, in spite of their torrid pace for nearly two months, have barely gained any ground on the National League East leaders, who enter play today 6 1/2 games up (only five in the

After Fedde’s quick hook, bullpen implodes in 9-2 loss

BALTIMORE - Ask him before the game how he’d feel about six innings of one-run ball from Erick Fedde, and Davey Martinez would’ve scooped it up in a heartbeat and been content with it ‘til the cows come home. But when that very proposition came true tonight, Martinez was faced with a decision he never could have foreseen. Fedde had only thrown 66 pitches in

Scherzer throws again, no decision yet on Sunday start

BALTIMORE - Max Scherzer again played catch in the outfield at Camden Yards today, but his status for this weekend’s series in Atlanta won’t be known for at least another 24 hours. Scherzer, on the 10-day injured list with a mid-back strain, threw from up to 90 feet on flat ground this afternoon. The Nationals ace had a long conversation with director of athletic training

Game 94 lineups: Nats at Orioles

BALTIMORE - The Nationals got a strong start from an inexperienced right-hander last night, helping set the stage for a win over the Orioles. They’ll hope for another tonight, and a two-game sweep at scorching hot and humid Camden Yards, where the heat index as I type this is a mere 110. Erick Fedde takes the mound for his first big league start since June

Will Voth or Fedde seize open No. 5 starter’s job?

BALTIMORE - The top four in the Nationals’ rotation have been as good as advertised, maybe even better than advertised, so far this season. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Aníbal Sánchez have combined to go 32-20 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. There are, however, five starters in a modern-day rotation. And those other starts count just as much as the rest.

Voth sets tone, lineup piles on as Nats rout O’s (updated)

BALTIMORE - Though they’d never admit it publicly, the Nationals know well their upcoming weekend series at SunTrust Park carries far more significance than this two-game set at Camden Yards. Four games against the division-leading Braves simply mean more to the Nats’ ultimate chances in 2019 than two games against the worst-in-baseball Orioles. Which didn’t mean the Nationals could completely gloss over this interleague series.

Fedde to face O’s, Nats hoping Scherzer can face Braves

BALTIMORE - The Nationals have set up their rotation to have their top four starters on the mound for this weekend’s critical series in Atlanta. Provided their ace is ready to return from the injured list, which is not yet a certainty. Manager Davey Martinez revealed this afternoon that Erick Fedde will be promoted from Double-A Harrisburg to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Orioles.

Game 93 lineups: Nats at Orioles

BALTIMORE - There have been times over the years when the Battle of the Beltways brought out a lot of excitement in both towns. It might be a slightly different situation this year, especially over the next two nights, as the worst-in-baseball Orioles host the resurgent Nationals for a quick, two-game interleague series. The Nats come to Camden Yards in the middle of a critical

Nationals face tricky rotation decision this week

There are any number of reasons for the Nationals’ in-season resurgence, but their most recent stretch of success has especially been made possible by elite starting pitching. Over the last 22 games, Nats starters are 13-0 with 2.40 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and .594 opponents’ OPS. Yes, that’s right, a member of this rotation has not been charged with a loss since June 15. That’s a

Monday morning Nats Q&A

The second half of the season is underway. The Nationals took two of three in Philadelphia over the weekend, winning in dramatic fashion Saturday night, then losing in agonizing fashion Sunday afternoon. They still hold the No. 1 wild card position in the National League, 1 1/2 games up on the Phillies and two games up on the Brewers. But they’re now seven games back

As second half opens, Nats try to sustain positive momentum

With a torrid, 6 1/2 week stretch to close out the first half of the season, the Nationals got themselves into a pennant race that felt entirely out of reach when they were 19-31 and owned the National League’s second-worst record. Now comes the tricky part: sustaining the turnaround and making sure the last 6 1/2 weeks were not in vain. And doing that while

Five key second-half storylines for the Nationals

The Nationals are going to be playing meaningful baseball through the rest of the summer, and perhaps into the fall. Given the state of things only seven weeks ago, that’s a pretty remarkable development in its own right. Of course, the Nationals’ goal was never simply to be playing meaningful baseball the rest of the way. They want to make sure it all ends with

Nationals’ first-half report card

The first half of the season officially ended nearly two weeks ago, when the Nationals played their 81st game. They’ve played eight more since then, which means the season’s already 55 percent complete. But this being the All-Star break, and this being the longstanding tradition, everyone just refers to this week as the midway point of the season. Which means this is the time to

By sticking together in tough times, Nats turned season around

As the baseball world turned on the Nationals, called for the manager’s head and called for the general manager to sell off every valuable part he had for future pieces, those inside the clubhouse who wear the uniform didn’t understand why everybody was so eager to abandon ship. Yes, they had just been swept by a Mets team that looked like it was in disarray

Nats rally to close out torrid first half stretch in style (updated)

If there’s anyone out there who somehow missed the entire first half of the season and is wondering how things went for the Nationals, just plop them down in front of a TV and have them watch a replay of this afternoon’s contest. This was the Nats’ first half, condensed down to 2 hours, 37 minutes. The starter absolutely dominated for seven innings. The lineup

Stiff back will keep Scherzer from pitching in All-Star Game

Max Scherzer will depart for Cleveland after today’s first-half finale and participate in All-Star festivities, but he won’t pitch in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic because of a stiff back he says has bothered him during each of his last two starts. Scherzer doesn’t consider the injury serious, and he will make his second-half debut next Sunday in Philadelphia, but after he met with manager Davey Martinez

Game 89 lineups: Nats vs. Royals

It’s the final day of the first half of the season, and what a wild first half it’s been for the Nationals. They went 19-31 over their first 50 games. Only the Marlins were worse in the National League. They’ve now gone 27-11 over their last 38 games. Nobody in baseball has been better. A win today would not only seal up another series victory,

Scherzer won’t pitch in All-Star Game

Turns out the Nationals won’t have anyone appearing in this year’s All-Star Game. One night after Anthony Rendon was replaced on the National League’s roster, Max Scherzer has been replaced. Major League Baseball announced late tonight that Reds right-hander Sonny Gray is replacing Scherzer on the NL roster. Scherzer, who pitched seven scoreless innings in today’s 6-0 win over the Royals, won’t be appearing in

Source: Boras, Lerner meeting to discuss Rendon contract

It appears the Nationals and Anthony Rendon are attempting to ramp up contract negotiations again as the season’s first half comes to a close. Scott Boras, Rendon’s agent, was at Nationals Park today and was seen coming out of an elevator at the clubhouse level following the Nats’ 6-0 win over the Royals with founding principal owner Ted Lerner and other members of the Lerner

Vintage start from new dad Scherzer on vintage day (updated)

He took the mound wearing a double-knit polyester, powder blue Expos uniform and tri-colored cap. His pant legs were short, his royal blue socks pulled up high. Nothing about the image suggested this was Max Scherzer. Until he began pitching, of course. From that point on, anyone in attendance at Nationals Park on Expos Day could easily look past the throwback uniform and recognize the

Nationals with ties to Expos glad to see franchise celebrated

Mike Wallace opened up his closet this morning and instead of grabbing one of his standard-issue Nationals polo shirts instead dug deep to locate one in a different shade of blue. Across the left chest it said “Expos.” On the right sleeve was a logo for the 2004 MLB Japan All-Star Series. Wallace hadn’t worn the shirt since that day in November 2004 when he

Zimmerman’s eventful night includes 1,000th career RBI

He delivered three doubles, two of them at key moments to drive in runs, one of them to notch the 1,000th RBI of his career. He scampered around the bases and scored a critical run on a bad foot. But he also missed a golden opportunity to win the game at the plate. And then he cost his team with a misplay in the field

Nats rally to tie but can’t finish off Royals, lose in 11 (updated)

For nine days, the Nationals did just about everything right. They got clutch hits when they needed them. They made pitches when they needed them. They found a way to beat the Marlins and Tigers eight times in nine games and ascend to the top position in the National League wild card race. So as tonight’s series opener against the Royals played out, it was

Nats trying to work with Robles to avoid injury at plate, on bases

Victor Robles is getting a rare night off, sitting on the bench while Gerardo Parra starts in center field for the Nationals’ series opener against the Royals. But Robles is physically fine, according to manager Davey Martinez, despite some close calls the last two days. “He’s just getting a day off,” Martinez said. “He had a beating the last couple days, so just giving him

Game 87 lineups: Nats vs. Royals

We have reached the final weekend of the first half, and you almost wonder if the Nationals wish they could just keep playing next week. Sure, several guys are in need of some rest, but they also have to hope the four days off doesn’t kill their mojo. First things first: They’ve got a chance to cap things off with another big weekend against a

With surprising velocity, Rodney assuming backup closer job

Davey Martinez has been searching all year for viable fill-in closer when Sean Doolittle isn’t available. Who knew the answer would come in the form of a 42-year-old reliever who was dumped by the Athletics six weeks ago after posting a 9.42 ERA? At this point, it’s hard to dispute that Fernando Rodney is establishing himself as the Nationals’ best Plan B for the ninth

Despite depleted bullpen, Nats sweep Marlins again (updated)

Scant offense til the sixth inning? Baserunning blunders? A piecemeal bullpen that required three arms to get three outs in the eighth and a 42-year-old to close it out in the ninth? The Nationals keep finding ways to win in spite of all of this, and that’s no small feat. Today’s 5-2 victory over the Marlins was simply the latest in this staggering stretch of

Over-rested relievers may have to work today (Nats up 5-2)

Nationals starters have averaged more than 6 1/2 innings pitched over the last 11 games, with only one starter failing to at least get through the sixth. That’s a good thing, and it’s no surprise it has helped this team go 8-3 during the stretch. But it’s also had a domino effect on the bullpen, which could be seen as positive or negative, depending on

Game 86 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

There is nothing like baseball in Washington on July 4. And when that also coincides with the home team sitting in playoff position for the first time all season ... well, how does it get much better than that? Yes, the Nationals woke up this morning tied with the Cubs for the second wild card spot in the National League. A mere six weeks after

Strasburg’s 14-strikeout gem lifts Nats over Miami again (updated)

No matter how unimposing the opponent, it’s just not that easy to keep winning every single night. Yes, the Nationals are facing an especially fortuitous portion of their schedule. But aside from one hiccup Saturday in Detroit, they are taking care of business like nobody’s business. Tonight’s 3-1 victory - made possible by 7 1/3 innings of brilliance from Stephen Strasburg, home runs from Brian

Scherzer goes on paternity leave but will start Saturday

Max Scherzer is about to add the biggest event yet to his already eventful summer. With his wife, Erica, due to give birth to the couple’s second daughter Thursday, Scherzer has been placed on the paternity leave list. The transaction allows the right-hander to take three days off to be with his growing family without missing a start, and it allows the Nationals to add

Scherzer named NL Pitcher of the Month

Two days after he was named National League Player of the Week, Max Scherzer was named National League Pitcher of the Month. Apparently awards season has come early this year. Scherzer was honored for his utterly dominant June, during which he went 6-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 68 strikeouts with only five walks. It was a historic performance for a right-hander who has made

Game 85 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

This is a series of rematches. Last night, it was a rematch between Patrick Corbin and Zac Gallen (at least until the storm hit). Tonight, it’s a rematch between Stephen Strasburg and Sandy Alcantara, the same two right-handers who squared off Thursday night at Marlins Park, with Strasburg and the Nationals emerging victorious. That win made Strasburg 10-0 against Miami since late in the 2015

Martinez goes into more detail on first base plan

Davey Martinez began his afternoon touting the positives of his logjam at first base, with Ryan Zimmerman back from the injured list to join the already productive Matt Adams and Howie Kendrick at a suddenly overcrowded position. “For me, this is a great problem to have,” the Nationals manager said. “When Zim does play, Matty’s on the bench ready to go. We can plop him

Turner’s walk-off double rewards Corbin on emotional night

Patrick Corbin led the Nationals out of the dugout shortly before 7:05 p.m. tonight for what should have been an ordinary start against the Marlins, the opener of the final homestand of the season’s first half, an opportunity to continue to lift his team during its slow climb up the standings. Before he tossed his first warm-up pitch, though, Corbin knelt down behind the rubber

Rendon admits injury may keep him out of All-Star Game

Anthony Rendon admitted today what has been suspected for several weeks: He’s playing through an injury that has kept him from running at full speed all the time. And this undisclosed injury may prompt the Nationals third baseman from skipping his first-ever All-Star Game next week. Rendon wouldn’t offer any specifics about his current physical condition except to acknowledge it has been affecting him for

Game 84 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

It’s a familiar matchup tonight on South Capitol Street, where the Nationals and Marlins meet again, one week after they faced off in Miami. Even the pitching matchup is the same, with Patrick Corbin opposing Zac Gallen for the second time in six days. Corbin has been outstanding in two starts against the Marlins this season - one run, seven hits, 14 strikeouts in 16

Homestand offers chance for Nats to go into break on a tear

Their 4-2 week against a pair of division rivals was important. But so was their just-completed, 5-1 week on the road against a couple of cellar dwellers. And all of that merely leads into this final week of the season’s first half, in which the Nationals have a golden opportunity to keep up their sustained momentum against some very beatable competition and perhaps even head

Scherzer named NL Player of the Week

Max Scherzer is National League Player of the Week. And it’s probably safe to assume he’s about to named NL Pitcher of the Month as well. Scherzer earned the first of his two likely honors today when Major League Baseball named him the NL’s Player of the Week following a pair of dominant performances during the Nationals’ just-completed 5-1 road trip. He held the Marlins

All-Star picks only bolster pedigrees of Rendon, Scherzer

History doesn’t much remember how somebody made it to the All-Star Game, only that he made it at all. So even though there will always be those aghast that Anthony Rendon finished fifth in fan voting among all National League third basemen, in the end he’s an All-Star and it doesn’t matter all that much how it happened. If anything, Rendon might be more touched

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