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With season at stake, Nationals put their faith in Scherzer

When he takes the mound shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, Max Scherzer will bear the weight of the Nationals’ season on his broad shoulders. There are no do-overs. There’s no chance to come back the next day and make up for whatever happened the previous one. The National League wild card game is their one and only shot to keep their season alive and advance

Nats have decisions to make before finalizing wild card roster

For the last month, the Nationals have been playing with an expanded roster, 36 players in total, which has allowed Davey Martinez to never run out of bats off his bench or arms in his bullpen. It’s the luxury of September baseball - at least until next fall, when rosters will be reduced to 28 - but it’s not allowed come October. Which means Martinez

Nats complete huge turnaround with perfect homestand (updated)

A Nationals regular season that began with endless promise, bottomed out in late May but then kicked into high gear for a long time came to an end this afternoon with an 8-2 victory over the Indians and a most impressive 93-69 record few could’ve predicted four months ago. Next up: One game Tuesday night against the Brewers to decide whether they’ll get a chance

After final tune-up today, Nats begin planning for Tuesday

With nothing at stake in today’s regular season finale, Davey Martinez should be able to enjoy a rare, stress-free afternoon at the ballpark. The Nationals manager insists that will not be the case. “No, they’re all stressful,” he said with a laugh. “I love what I do. I enjoy what I do, but ... you know, I wear whatever these guys do. I want ‘em

Game 162 lineups: Nats vs. Indians

It’s Game 162, which has meant many different things over the years. Sometimes it’s a celebration of a great regular season and final prep for the Division Series. Sometimes it’s a meaningful game to determine a postseason berth or home-field advantage. Sometimes it’s the end of a long road that won’t continue. For the Nationals, this Game 162 is simply a bridge between a week’s

Suzuki catches, Kendrick plays second, Parra breaks out

These final games of the regular season are, first and foremost, about trying to lock up home field advantage for the wild card game, which the Nationals can now do if they simply win one of their two remaining games against the Indians. But they’re also about putting everyone in the best possible position heading into Tuesday night’s winner-take-all game against either the Brewers or

Nationals keep rolling at home, win sixth straight (updated)

The final week of the regular season was supposed to represent a daunting challenge to the Nationals, who assumed all along they were going to have to come up big against a pair of fellow contenders in the Phillies and Indians just to sneak into the playoffs. The Nationals indeed have come up big this week. They’ve won six in a row. And because of

Rendon, Strasburg, Doolittle are award winners (Nats up 7-2)

Anthony Rendon’s brilliant season might not quite be enough to earn the National League MVP award, but it was plenty good to be honored as the Nationals’ best player of 2019. Rendon was named the Nationals’ Player of the Year, one of three end-of-season award winners revealed before tonight’s game against the Indians. Rendon joins Stephen Strasburg (Pitcher of the Year) and Sean Doolittle (Good

Scherzer will start wild card game, Strasburg and Corbin in ‘pen

The decision was made a few days ago. And to hear Davey Martinez talk about it, it wasn’t that tough of a decision: Max Scherzer will start Tuesday night’s National League wild card game. Martinez delivered the news to his ace a few days ago, and his reaction was probably what you assume it was. “I can’t exactly say what he said to me, but

Game 160 lineups: Nats vs. Indians

When the 2019 schedule was announced way back when, this final series featuring an interleague matchup stuck out like a sore thumb. Nobody wants to finish up the season with interleague games, but as long as the two leagues have 15 teams apiece, Major League Baseball has no choice but to do this. So the Nationals and Indians drew the short straw and will face

Taylor’s case for a spot on wild card roster

Michael A. Taylor has been mostly an afterthought this season, relegated to part-time duties early on, then the minor leagues for more than two months, then relegated to virtually no playing time with expanded September rosters. And yet the 28-year-old outfielder might just have as strong a case as anyone to make the Nationals roster for Tuesday night’s National League wild card game. And he

Strasburg dominates as Nats sweep five from Phillies

We don’t know yet when Stephen Strasburg will make his next start for the Nationals. Or his first career relief appearance. Or perhaps whether he’ll take the mound again in 2019 at all. That dilemma will be resolved in the coming days by Davey Martinez and his coaching staff, not to mention the Nationals players who take the field Tuesday night in the National League

Strasburg looking for strong finish to regular season (Nats up 5-1)

Whether his next start comes in the wild card game, the National League Division Series or not until 2020, Stephen Strasburg took the mound today needing to close out his strong regular season on a high note and help set the stage for whatever is next for the Nationals. Strasburg got off to a fantastic start against the Phillies, facing the minimum through three scoreless

Nationals’ wild card opponent still up in air (updated)

The Nationals, as they have made clear for the last 36 hours, are motivated to get home field advantage for the wild card game. While they intend to give most of their weary lineup regulars and relievers at least one day off this week, they’re still attempting to win as many games as they can in an attempt to ensure Tuesday night’s winner-take-all contest is

Nats keep home field hopes alive with another win (updated)

The day-after-clinch game is always a tricky matter. All the moreso when the team in question still has something left to play for over the season’s final few days. The Nationals wanted to take it easy tonight, less than 24 hours after they clinched a spot in next week’s wild card game. They also wanted to maintain their slim lead over the Brewers for home

With clinch completed, Nats must choose wild card starter

For nearly six months, the Nationals couldn’t afford to look beyond that night’s game, recognizing the importance of winning every single contest to get back into a race after a 19-31 start left them staring up at a sizeable deficit in the standings. Now that they’ve clinched a postseason berth, they can finally afford to start thinking more about what’s ahead next week than what’s

Game 158 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

It’s the day after a clinch, and that always makes for some, uh, interesting lineup decisions. Like Brian Dozier leading off. Or Asdrúbal Cabrera playing third base. Or Wilmer Difo starting at shortstop. All of those are true of the Nationals lineup tonight, and understandably so. Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner can definitely benefit from at least one (if not more) days off. Truth be

Because they stuck together in May, Nats will play in October

The ultimate optimist to the end, Davey Martinez insisted Tuesday night that he never doubted his 2019 Nationals would make it to the postseason, even after their infamous 19-31 start that had some questioning whether the second-year manager should lose his job. “You know what? I imagined it in spring training. I really did,” Martinez said. “And I said it, May 24, I said this

Nats end season-long comeback with wild card clinch (updated)

The path was different this time, very different. There was no division title, no early September clinch, no chance to turn on the cruise control and enjoy the nice, smooth ride to the postseason. No, this time the Nationals had to earn it. They had to come all the way back from a 19-31 start that left more than a few observers wondering if major

Game 157 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

Well, here we go. The Nationals took care of business this afternoon. Now, if they can take care of business again tonight, and if the Pirates can snap their long losing streak and extend the Cubs’ long losing streak, there’s going to be a celebration on South Capitol Street tonight. The Nationals can only take care of their own business and then hope the Pirates

Nats on verge of completing historic path to postseason

Baseball players are as superstitious as they get, so it’s not surprising that Adam Eaton was none too pleased when he walked into the Nationals clubhouse Monday afternoon and saw rolled up plastic curtains positioned over every locker. “Don’t bring that up. I’m not happy about it,” Eaton said with a smile but more than a hint of truth behind the facade. “I’m not happy

With win over Phillies, Nats have chance to clinch Tuesday

A roller coaster of a baseball season that began in hopeless fashion, then turned remarkably hopeful over the course of the summer before some September hiccups has now left the Nationals on the cusp of a significant achievement. It will still take three positive results over the span of a long day of baseball, but it can now be said: The Nationals could clinch a

Ross will start Tuesday’s doubleheader opener

Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Phillies has loomed on the Nationals’ schedule for three months now, and so too has the question of who would make a cameo appearance to start that game. The answer came today from bench coach Chip Hale, who revealed Joe Ross will get the ball for the 1:05 p.m. twinbill opener, with Max Scherzer making his regularly scheduled start in the

Game 155 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

This has been looming on the schedule for months. Five games in four days against the Phillies, the result of a rainout in mid-June. At the time, we had no idea how significant this would be for one or both of these teams, or even whether it would be significant for either of them. The answer: It’s very significant for the Nationals, not all that

Nats must put games in hands of two best relievers

It’s been a ragged September for the Nationals, who despite hanging on to remain in strong position to reach the National League wild card game have gone 9-11. This is crunch time, of course, a time for the best players on the roster to step up and deliver in key moments to help lift their team into the postseason. Problem is, when it comes to

Nats have no answer for latest blown lead, fall in Miami (updated)

MIAMI - Everybody in the Nationals bullpen has had his opportunity over the course of the season to prove he deserves the ball in critical moments. If anything, most of these guys have had so many opportunities they’re now running on fumes as the final week of the regular season arrives. Until someone - or, more preferably, multiple someones - proves he can actually get

Cabrera sits with sore ankle, could come off bench (Nats up 3-1)

MIAMI - Asdrúbal Cabrera is out of today’s lineup, the veteran second baseman dealing with a sore right ankle after he was thrown out at the plate during Saturday night’s 10-4 10-inning win over the Marlins. Manager Davey Martinez said Cabrera is not scheduled to undergo an MRI and doesn’t believe the injury is serious enough to prevent him from playing altogether, but he wanted

Game 154 lineups: Nats at Marlins

MIAMI - Hello one last time from Marlins Park, where the Nationals will look to continue their utter dominance of the local ballclub. The Nats are 15-3 vs. the Marlins this season - they actually lost the first two games way back in April! - and carry an 11-game winning streak into today’s series finale. I don’t care how large the disparity in talent is

More on Saturday night’s wild win in Miami

MIAMI - A lot happened during the course of the Nationals’ 10-4 10-inning win over the Marlins on Saturday night, and much of it was covered in the game story. But let’s make sure we give a few more significant moments and developments from the game their just due. ... * Asdrúbal Cabrera injured his right ankle. He hurt himself sliding while getting tagged out

After disastrous eighth, a joyous 10th for Nats (updated)

MIAMI - They led by four runs in the bottom of the eighth. Stephen Strasburg had dominated the Marlins for the umpteenth time. The Nationals just needed to finish off a last-place opponent and move one step closer to a berth in the wild card game. And then Fernando Rodney took the mound, charged with protecting a four-run lead. And the enigmatic reliever remained on

Suzuki hopes to get healthy enough to return (tied 4-4)

MIAMI - Though he says everything is going according to plan in his throwing program, Kurt Suzuki admits he won’t be able to get his right elbow back to 100 percent health by season’s end. Which means the veteran catcher has no choice but to try to get himself as close to playing shape as soon as possible to try to rejoin the Nationals lineup

Game 153 lineups: Nats at Marlins

MIAMI - Not to jinx anything, but it would be irresponsible not to mention that Stephen Strasburg enters tonight’s start riding a 12-game winning streak against the Marlins, dating all the way back to Sept. 20, 2015. Yes, that’s three years and one day. Pretty amazing. Of course anything can happen on any given day, so Strasburg and the Nationals aren’t assured of anything tonight.

The state of the race with nine days to go

MIAMI - As the clock ticks down on September, the magnitude of every game result grows. And what looked like a tight race only days ago begins to look more comfortable. No, the Nationals haven’t clinched anything yet. Not even close to it. But in the simple act of winning 6-4 Friday night over the Marlins, and especially in the simple act of watching the

Bullpen closes out Marlins to extend Nats’ wild card lead

MIAMI - It’s crunch time in the National League wild card race, and if the Nationals have any intention of extending their season beyond 162 games, they’re going to have to win some close games over the next 10 days and do whatever’s necessary to try to win those games. Tonight, that meant a six-out save attempt for Daniel Hudson, the second time the veteran

Suzuki available to pinch-hit, Adams could be soon (Nats up 5-4)

MIAMI - Kurt Suzuki played catch from 60 feet today, the first time the Nationals catcher has been able to throw a ball since he departed a Sept. 7 game in Atlanta with right elbow inflammation. It was merely a first step for Suzuki, who has several more to take before he can return to the lineup. But it was a positive step for the

Thrilled to return, Martinez vows he’s “going to be myself”

MIAMI - Davey Martinez strolled through the clubhouse this afternoon, a wide grin on his face, his arm open to receiving hugs from anyone and everyone who welcomed the Nationals manager back to work five days after he had to go to the hospital mid-game due to chest pains. Nothing about the 53-year-old skipper looked or sounded different. He was full of energy. He was

Game 152 lineups: Nats at Marlins

MIAMI - When you think playoff race, you think Marlins Park. Right? Well, whether it fits the mold or not, this giant airport hangar of a ballpark is going to host three very important games this weekend. Important, of course, for the Nationals. Not the home team, which is trying to avoid 100 losses tonight. The Nationals absolutely must take care of business. They’ve gone

Martinez rejoining Nats in Miami, will manage tonight

MIAMI - Davey Martinez will be back in the Nationals dugout tonight. Martinez, who has not been able to manage the team since suffering from chest pain during the sixth inning of Sunday’s win over the Braves, was cleared by doctors to travel to Miami and will rejoin the club in time for tonight’s series opener at Marlins Park. Club officials were hopeful the 53-year-old

Friday morning Nats Q&A en route to Miami

35,000 FEET OVER THE EAST COAST - I’m flying from Washington to Miami this morning for the Nationals’ final road series of the regular season. And what better way to pass the time than to engage in a Q&A session with you fine folks? There are 11 games to go, 11 games for the Nats to either complete an impressive turnaround from a disastrous start

Elite pitching won’t matter if Nats don’t start scoring more runs

ST. LOUIS - The Nationals’ chances of reaching the postseason are built on the broad shoulders of their elite starting rotation. Max Scherzer. Stephen Strasburg. Patrick Corbin. Aníbal Sánchez. That’s how this team was built to win, and it’s only going to win if those big arms come up big. If only that was 100 percent true. The Nationals rotation is very good, especially now

Agonizing loss to Cards has familiar feel for Nats (updated)

ST. LOUIS - They broke out the Greatest Hits this afternoon at Busch Stadium, with all of your least favorite moments in the history of Nationals-Cardinals matchups rolled into 2 hours and 55 minutes of agony for anyone who has ever worn a curly W cap and ecstasy for anyone who has ever donned the birds-on-the-bat jersey. It’s not that the Nationals lost 5-1, dropping

No rest for veterans, plus a rotation tweak (Nats down 5-1)

ST. LOUIS - Day games following night games - especially day games with a 12:15 p.m. local time first pitch - are prime opportunities for veterans to get some rest and reserves to get some playing time. The Nationals, though, have reached crunch time of a season that appears likely to go right down to the wire. And so when it came time to fill

Game 151 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

ST. LOUIS - Funny how much a team’s outlook can change in 12 hours. The Nationals had reason to be nervous when they carried a slim, 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh Tuesday night at Busch Stadium, the possibility of falling out of the No. 1 wild card slot very much real. But then they finished off the Cardinals 6-2 and saw the

On homer and strikeout records, and the goal of 90 wins

ST. LOUIS - Some news and notes to cleanse your palette before the Nationals and Cardinals return to action this afternoon for their series finale ... * Howie Kendrick’s fourth-inning homer Tuesday night was big because it helped set the tone for an eventual 6-2 victory, but it also was historic. Kendrick’s solo blast to center was the Nationals’ 215th home run of the season.

Nats take early lead, ride ‘pen to much-needed win (updated)

ST. LOUIS - “Late and close” has not been the Nationals’ forte in recent weeks. When they’ve won, they’ve won by a sizeable margin. When they’ve been in a tight battle late, they’ve tended to lose. Evidence of that? They entered tonight’s game against the Cardinals having used a reliever in a ninth-inning save situation only once in a calendar month. The situation simply hadn’t

Suzuki starts hitting, but still not throwing (Nats up 3-1)

ST. LOUIS - Kurt Suzuki took a full round of batting practice early this afternoon at Busch Stadium and also caught Aníbal Sánchez’s bullpen session, but the Nationals catcher is still days away from being cleared to throw and test his injured right elbow. Suzuki, who hasn’t played since feeling a tingling sensation in his elbow after trying to throw out a basestealer Sept. 7

Martinez out of hospital, not cleared to travel yet

ST. LOUIS - Davey Martinez has been released from the hospital and has returned to his home in Washington, but doctors have not yet cleared him to travel, so the Nationals manager will miss at least his team’s three-game series against the Cardinals. Martinez, who felt chest pain during the sixth inning of Sunday’s win over the Braves, was taken to a D.C. hospital, where

Game 150 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

ST. LOUIS - There’s going to be a lot of scoreboard watching tonight - and pretty much every night over the next 12 days - as four teams (the Nationals, Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers) go down to the wire to secure the three remaining postseason berths available in the National League. There’s one thing the Nationals can do, however, to make life easier on everyone:

How the Nationals turned a comfortable lead into a tight race

ST. LOUIS - For more than two months now, the Nationals have not only been in wild card position but (aside from a couple of days) have been in the driver’s seat to host the Oct. 1 winner-take-all game. As recently as two weeks ago, they held a four-game lead over the Cubs for home field advantage and a seven-game lead for a spot in

Nats’ lead in wild card shrinks again after 4-2 loss (updated)

ST. LOUIS - Chip Hale insisted he would manage this game just like Davey Martinez, believing that he wanted to keep things as similar as possible tonight, even as the Nationals skipper watched from back home in Washington while recovering from a minor procedure after experiencing chest pain. Beyond that, Hale just believes he and Martinez are on the same wavelength when it comes to

Strasburg laboring against patient Cards lineup (game tied 2-2)

ST. LOUIS - On a muggy Monday night at Busch Stadium, the last thing the Nationals needed was a short outing from Stephen Strasburg. Alas, that’s exactly what they appear to be getting. Though he has allowed only two runs so far, Strasburg has thrown a whopping 76 pitches through three innings against a Cardinals lineup that is making the Nats right-hander work as hard

Martinez has procedure after chest pain, stays in D.C.

ST. LOUIS - Davey Martinez experienced chest pain during Sunday’s game and underwent a minor procedure this morning in Washington that will prevent him from managing tonight’s game and perhaps more until doctors clear him to return to work, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo revealed late this afternoon. Bench coach Chip Hale, who finished out Sunday’s 7-0 win over the Braves after Martinez fell ill

Game 149 lineups: Nats at Cardinals (Martinez stays in D.C.)

ST. LOUIS - The Nationals have just announced that Davey Martinez remains in Washington for precautionary medical testing. Bench coach Chip Hale revealed after Sunday’s game that the manager had gone to the hospital because he wasn’t feeling well, but that he was expected to be with the team in St. Louis for tonight’s series opener. Instead, Hale will manage the club in Martinez’s absence

Unable to play every day, Kendrick making most of chances

Howie Kendrick is the best hitter on the Nationals roster not named Anthony Rendon. And he’s not too far removed from the National League MVP candidate. After a three-hit, three-RBI performance during Sunday’s 7-0 win over the Braves, Kendrick owns a .336 batting average and .945 OPS. He has 15 homers and 60 RBIs. All this while receiving only 337 plate appearances, only slightly more

Nats shut out Braves, Martinez hospitalized (updated)

The Nationals needed to win today, plain and simple. It did not matter who they were playing. It did not matter who was on the mound for either team. It did not matter how they felt physically or emotionally as they navigate their way through a particularly grueling final portion of their schedule. It didn’t even matter who was managing from the dugout. After dropping

Culberson cleared to fly home, Martinez explains request

Charlie Culberson suffered multiple facial fractures when he was hit in the right cheek trying to bunt a fastball from Nationals reliever Fernando Rodney during Saturday’s game, but the Braves utilityman was released from the hospital later in the evening, spent the night at the team’s hotel and has been cleared to fly home to Atlanta today. All things considered, that was positive news from

Voth shines again vs. Braves, could earn bullpen role in October

Before the bullpen implosion, before the scary sight of Charlie Culberson getting hit in the face by a fastball, before the Nationals saw their lead in the wild card race shrink again, there was far and away the most encouraging element of Saturday’s loss: Austin Voth. The game can cleanly been broken into two parts: Voth’s start, and everything that came after it. When the

Meltdown vs. Braves shrinks Nats’ wild card lead (updated)

Forget about a division title. That’s been out of reach for more than a week now. Forget even for a moment about home field advantage in the wild card game, which is still in their possession but feels less important right now than the Nationals’ first and foremost goal over the regular season’s final two weeks. No, at this point in time the Nationals need

Suzuki starts swinging, but still slow to progress

Kurt Suzuki took a small step forward in his return from a right elbow injury, but the veteran catcher still has a significant way to go before he’s back in the Nationals lineup. Suzuki took some swings in the batting cage Friday, his first baseball activities since he had to depart a game Sept. 7 in Atlanta with what the club so far has only

Game 147 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

Though their hopes of a fifth division title in eight years have all but been quashed, the Nationals still need to win as many games as they can as they attempt to lock up at least a wild card berth and preferably home field advantage for that winner-take-all game. Which means they need to win some games against the Braves. That’s not something they’ve done

Cabrera keeps hitting, keeps getting starts

MINNEAPOLIS - The Nationals signed Asdrúbal Cabrera to a league minimum deal on Aug. 6 because they needed some short-term help on the right side of the infield. Ryan Zimmerman and Howie Kendrick were both hurt, so the presence of a veteran switch-hitter who could come off the bench and make a start or two at second base and first base was needed. One month

Bats come up big as Nats maintain wild card lead (updated)

MINNEAPOLIS - A night getaway game combined with a rain delay might have left the Nationals tired and dreading an overnight flight home in advance of tomorrow’s series opener with the Braves. But if nothing else, it gave the Nats a rare opportunity to know exactly what was needed of them on this night, because every other contender for a berth in the National League

Rendon is nominee for Clemente Award (Nats lead 10-3)

MINNEAPOLIS - Anthony Rendon is in the running for some major end-of-season awards for his on-field performance. Now he’s also in the running for a major award for his off-the-field performance. Rendon was named today as the Nationals’ nominee for the 2019 Roberto Clemente Award, which annually honors one major leaguer who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and

Gomes starts six in a row, but Read likely to catch Saturday

MINNEAPOLIS - Yan Gomes starts his sixth consecutive game behind the plate tonight. That’s not something the Nationals ever planned to do this season, not with Kurt Suzuki sharing time as part of a potent one-two catching punch. But with Suzuki now nursing a right elbow injury, the Nats have had little choice but to keep putting Gomes out there and hope for the best.

Game 145 lineups: Nats at Twins

MINNEAPOLIS - It’s another gloomy, gray day here in the Twin Cities, and the rain is supposed to continue into the evening hours. It is, however, supposed to stop at some point. Which means the Nationals and Twins may have no choice but to sit around and wait so they can get tonight’s series finale in as scheduled. Each team only has one remaining off-day,

Zimmerman producing - and playing - more than expected

MINNEAPOLIS - The Nationals had modest expectations for Ryan Zimmerman when he returned from the injured list 11 days ago. The veteran first baseman had played in only 33 games through the season’s first five months, unable to keep himself active for any length of time due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Davey Martinez didn’t sugarcoat his intentions for Zimmerman at that point.

Nationals score early, avoid drama late in victory (updated)

MINNEAPOLIS - They got the early offense they’ve been seeking for most of the last week-plus. They got another quality, if a bit briefer than hoped, start from Stephen Strasburg. Now the Nationals needed three clean innings from their bullpen in order to beat a very good Twins club. That should be a nice, simple formula for success. But as anyone who has followed this

Piazza’s post-9/11 moment still haunts Martinez (Nats up 5-2)

MINNEAPOLIS - Everyone has a 9/11 memory. Where they were. What they thought. How they felt afterward. And many post-9/11 memories involve baseball, which in many ways helped the United States heal through one of its darkest times and bring back some semblance of normalcy in the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks. Davey Martinez remembers all of it, because he lived through all

Game 144 lineups: Nats at Twins

MINNEAPOLIS - The Nationals really need a win tonight. Which means they need to score runs. Preferably early in the game. For what it’s worth, this appears to be a favorable matchup against Twins left-hander Martín Pérez. The Nats tend to hit lefties well (aside from last weekend’s struggles against Max Fried and Dallas Keuchel). Pérez has a 4.75 ERA and 1.463 WHIP. And a

Is it time to use top relievers even when trailing late?

MINNEAPOLIS - It may not have mattered in the end, because the Nationals still needed to score if they were going to win Tuesday night’s game, and they never did. Nonetheless, Davey Martinez’s bullpen usage in the bottom of the eighth of what wound up a 5-0 loss to the Twins merits a closer look, and a thorough explanation from the manager, because it left

Sánchez loses pitchers’ duel, Nats lose again on road (updated)

MINNEAPOLIS - It doesn’t matter how well the Nationals’ starters pitch right now. If their teammates can’t score any runs off opposing starters, it’ll all be wasted. Which, alas, is exactly what’s happening these days. The Nationals got another gem from Aníbal Sánchez tonight. The veteran right-hander had the Twins’ potent lineup eating out of the palm of his hand. But with his teammates unable

Gomes prepped for heavy workload til Suzuki returns (Nats down 2-0)

MINNEAPOLIS - Though Kurt Suzuki doesn’t appear to have suffered a serious elbow injury, the Nationals do appear to believe the veteran catcher is going to need some time to make it back into the lineup and have told Yan Gomes to be prepared to start the majority of games for the foreseeable future. Suzuki, who had to depart Saturday night’s game with what he

Game 143 lineups: Nats at Twins

MINNEAPOLIS - For the first time since 2008, the Nationals are playing a game in Minnesota. And for the first time ever, they’re playing a game at Target Field. This is the only currently active ballpark in the majors that has never hosted the Nats before, so they’re about to be 30-for-30. (By the way, can you name the only two Nationals pitchers ever to

Daunting September stretch continues in Minnesota

The Nationals had a rough weekend in Atlanta. Their next stop on this road trip could be just as rough. Though there was plenty of attention - and rightfully so, given the division race - on the Nats’ four-game series against the Braves, this next series against the Twins deserves just as much of the spotlight. The Twins are one of the best teams in

Bad weekend for Nationals at least ends on positive notes

Let’s not try to sugarcoat this: The Nationals had a bad weekend in Atlanta. They lost three winnable games, fell at one point a full 10 games back in a division race that’s all but over now and saw their once comfortable cushion in the wild card race shrink. They lost Kurt Suzuki and Roenis Elías to injuries. They couldn’t do squat against the Braves

“Super emotional” Barrett completes journey back to majors

By the time Aaron Barrett walked into the Nationals clubhouse Wednesday morning, his story had already gone viral. While he was calling family members and friends the previous afternoon with the news and making travel arrangements for them to get to D.C. in the next 24 hours, the video clip posted by the Harrisburg Senators of manager Matt LeCroy telling Barrett he was being called

No late heroics this time from Nats, who fall to Mets

Recent history - in other words, history that occurred within the previous 18 hours - suggested the Nationals had the Mets right where they wanted them late this afternoon. Yes, the Nats trailed the entire way, by as many as six runs in the sixth inning. But given what happened Tuesday night on South Capitol Street, that hardly felt like an insurmountable deficit. Thing is,

Soto getting X-rays, Cabrera getting starts over Dozier (down 7-4)

Lost in the shuffle of Tuesday night’s record-breaking comeback win was the fact Juan Soto took a fastball off his right elbow in the sixth inning and was in serious pain. Not serious enough to prevent Soto from playing a big role in the Nationals’ late comeback, but serious enough to necessitate an X-ray this morning. The club is awaiting word of that test, but

Game 138 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

So, who’s ready for another ballgame? Last night sure was fun, but the Nationals don’t have any time to revel in their record-setting comeback win, because they’ve got a series finale with the Mets to play this afternoon. It’s now the rubber game of the series, and it’s an important one for the Nats, who can’t afford to lose any ground to the Braves before

Suzuki’s walk-off homer caps stunning comeback (updated)

Davey Martinez has been imploring his Nationals to “stay in the fight” all summer long, no matter how many games back they’ve been in the standings, no matter how many runs they’ve trailed by in any particular game, no matter how big a hole their bullpen puts them in late. “Think positive, that’s all I can tell you,” the second-year manager said. “If you let

MRI reveals bone bruise on side of Eaton’s right knee

Adam Eaton has a “bad bone bruise” on the side of his right knee, according to manager Davey Martinez, an injury that will continue to keep the Nationals right fielder out of the lineup for an indeterminate amount of time. Martinez described Eaton’s status as “day-to-day” but acknowledged the best he could offer right now is to serve as an emergency pinch-hitter, his knee still

Game 137 lineups: Nats vs. Mets (Taylor, Difo recalled)

The Nationals promised more September call-ups, and they have delivered with two more additions today: Michael A. Taylor and Wilmer Difo. Taylor’s promotion from Double-A Harrisburg isn’t surprising, given Adam Eaton’s lingering knee injury (we will hopefully know more about that soon). Taylor hit only .248 with a .324 on-base percentage and 69 strikeouts in 57 minor league games, but he did get hot down

Is the real Scherzer ready for showdown with deGrom?

The Nationals have made no secret about it all along. They know if they are ultimately going to achieve what they want to achieve this season, Max Scherzer is going to have to help lead the way. Not the diminished version of Scherzer we’ve seen so far in his two starts since returning from the injured list. The full version of Scherzer. The three-time Cy

In rare clunker, Nationals trail big early in loss to Mets

The Nationals hadn’t been in this position in a while, trailing by a significant margin and unable to mount any kind of effective counterattack. They hadn’t trailed any game by three or more runs since Aug. 17 (in which they actually rallied from five runs down to take the lead against the Brewers before losing in extra innings). They hadn’t trailed by three or more

Doolittle better in return, but still has room to grow

Davey Martinez didn’t want to throw Sean Doolittle to the wolves in his return from the injured list, but neither did the Nationals manager want to throw his rehabbing closer to the kittens. In the end, Martinez found a suitable middle ground for Doolittle to make his return Sunday afternoon: in the ninth inning, but with a six-run lead. Doolittle responded with a 1-2-3 frame,

Game 136 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

The soft portion of the Nationals’ schedule is now finished. They just went 4-1 against the Orioles and Marlins. Now, they’ve got 27 remaining games on the regular season schedule, 24 of which come against teams with winning records. It begins today with the opener of a three-game series against the Mets, who are kind of hanging on for dear life at this point, only

Nationals in rare company with 200-strikeout pitchers

In this age of record-breaking strikeout totals, this should be a more common occurrence. But when Patrick Corbin notched his seventh strikeout of Sunday’s game, he lifted the Nationals rotation into some awfully elite territory. Corbin joined Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg in surpassing the 200-strikeout mark for the season. That’s three pitchers on the same staff with at least 200 strikeouts this year. And

Celebrations aplenty as Nationals sweep Marlins (updated)

Ryan Zimmerman danced in the dugout for the first time, only a short while after Anthony Rendon broke his longstanding club record for RBIs in a single season. Rendon’s record-breaking hit - his third homer in less than 24 hours - drew more chants of “MVP! MVP!” from the crowd at Nationals Park. And during a pitching change, as “Circle of Life” played over the

Eaton still sitting, could be ready Monday (Nats up 7-3)

The Nationals remain cautious with Adam Eaton, who hurt his right knee Wednesday night and hasn’t started a game since. But they remain optimistic the right fielder will be back in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the Mets. Eaton took a pitch off the area just below his right knee in the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the Orioles. He briefly remained

Doolittle and Zimmerman return, but in lesser roles for now

The first wave of September call-ups for the Nationals includes four players returning from injury, three position players to provide some bench depth and zero traditional relievers. The Nats added seven players to the active roster before today’s series finale against Marlins, activating Sean Doolittle, Ryan Zimmerman, Jeremy Hellickson and Austin Voth off the injured list and recalling infielder Adrián Sanchez and outfielder Andrew Stevenson

Game 135 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

It’s Sept. 1, and what a long strange trip it’s been for the Nationals to get to this point. Who would’ve thought on May 1, or even July 1, that they would enter September with not only a 3 1/2-game lead for home field advantage in the wild card game but a seven-game lead for appearing in that wild card game at all? The Nats

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