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Star-studded, resilient Nationals earned this title

HOUSTON - It would be easy to look at the 2019 Washington Nationals as a good team that went on a great October run to win the World Series. Really, it’s one of the great October runs (12-5 to topple the Brewers, Dodgers, Cardinals and Astros) in baseball’s wild card era. But that’s still not entirely fair to this team. It seems to minimize the

National champs: D.C. rallies again to win World Series (updated)

HOUSTON - It had to happen this way. It could not have happened any other way. If the Nationals were going to win the World Series, if they were going to deliver Washington its first Major League Baseball championship in 95 years, they were going to have to do it the same way they had done it all season long - and especially all postseason

Suzuki scratched from lineup, Gomes to catch (Nats win 6-2)

HOUSTON - Much as he hoped to be behind the plate one more time in 2019, Kurt Suzuki instead will have to watch Game 7 of the World Series from the bench, with perhaps a chance he comes off the bench at some point. Suzuki, who hasn’t played since injuring his right hip flexor in Game 3 on Friday, was initially included in tonight’s starting

World Series Game 7 lineups: Nats at Astros (updated)

HOUSTON - Well, here we are. It’s the day before Halloween. There’s one baseball game remaining on the 2019 schedule. And the Nationals are playing in it. Who’d have thunk it? There’s really nothing like Game 7 of the World Series. It’s something so many other teams and fan bases have experienced before, including the Astros only two years ago, but it’s completely new for

“It had to be this way”: Remarkable season comes down to Game 7

HOUSTON - Sean Doolittle was holding court with a large group of reporters long after Game 6 had ended Tuesday night. There were some familiar faces in attendance, but most of those interviewing the veteran reliever don’t regularly cover the Nationals and perhaps are just now starting to get a real sense of what this 2019 campaign has been like. Was Doolittle surprised, someone asked,

With chaos around him, Strasburg sends Nats to Game 7 (updated)

HOUSTON - Chaos was consuming every corner of Minute Maid Park, Game 6 of the World Series having turned into one of the wildest, most entertaining, most infuriating contests the Fall Classic has ever experienced. Alex Bregman and Juan Soto were trying to out-homer and out-celebrate each other. Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon were getting in on the act as well, at least the home

Suzuki sits again, but would catch Game 7 (Nats win 7-2)

HOUSTON - Though he’s not in the lineup tonight for the third consecutive game, Kurt Suzuki is expected to return to the Nationals lineup and catch Max Scherzer if the World Series is extended to Game 7. Suzuki, who suffered a right hip flexor injury during Game 3 on Friday, said Monday he was getting better and hoped he’d be ready to start Game 6

Scherzer throws, able to start potential Game 7

HOUSTON - If there’s a Game 7 to the 2019 World Series, Max Scherzer will start it for the Nationals. Manager Davey Martinez made that proclamation late this afternoon after Scherzer completed a 10-minute throwing session in left field at Minute Maid Park and reported himself good to go just two days after he was scratched from his scheduled Game 5 start and received a

World Series Game 6 lineups: Nats at Astros

HOUSTON - They’ve played 177 games, won 103 of them, three of those when staring elimination in the face. They’ll play Game 178 tonight, and the only way they can ensure there will be a Game 179 is to win. Is this the biggest game in Nationals history? Well, yeah. The Nats themselves, of course, will insist they can’t think of it that way. They’ve

Backs against wall again, Nats try to pull off rare World Series feat

HOUSTON - They’ve won three elimination games in the last month, twice when trailing by multiple runs in the eighth inning. And that’s to say nothing of the uphill climb they faced after opening this remarkable season 19-31 before reaching the World Series. So while there are plenty of reasons to doubt the Nationals’ ability to come back from three straight home losses to the

Nats head back to Houston uncertain of Scherzer’s status

The Nationals, at least publicly, don’t appear to be any closer to knowing today if Max Scherzer will be able to return to pitch in the World Series than they were Sunday after scratching their ace from his scheduled Game 5 start due to nerve irritation and spasms in his neck and upper back. “I haven’t yet spoken to Max today. I’m waiting for him

No Scherzer, no offense leave Nats with backs to the wall (updated)

Once the shock of the mid-afternoon news that Max Scherzer wouldn’t be starting Game 5 of the World Series tonight wore off, a harsh realization must have crossed the minds of everyone wearing a Nationals uniform: If they were going to pull this off and regain control of the Fall Classic, they were going to have to score some runs. Against Gerrit Cole. And hope

Ross starts in place of Scherzer, who hopes to return (updated)

A Nationals team that already has seen its two-game lead in the World Series disappear over the last two nights now must take the field for a critical Game 5 tonight against the Astros without its three-time Cy Young Award winner on the mound. Max Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start tonight due to what he described as nerve irritation in his neck that

World Series Game 5 lineups: Nats vs. Astros (Scherzer scratched)

No matter what happens, whether positive or negative, tonight is the final baseball game of 2019 at Nationals Park. We’ve never known that before going in, at least not going into a postseason game. So it makes for both an exciting and bittersweet feeling. This season will end not here in D.C. but in Houston, either Tuesday night in Game 6 or Wednesday night in

Best-of-three begins tonight with final home game of 2019

They hardly ever hold team meetings, and on those rare occasions when Davey Martinez does gather the Nationals together they keep what was said within what they like to refer as their “circle of trust.” The second-year manager did, however, have a few words to share with his players following Saturday night’s 8-1 loss to the Astros, a loss that left the World Series tied

No bloops from Nats, one Astros blast leave series tied (updated)

The defining moment of Game 4 of this World Series, the moment that will be replayed over and over and remembered fondly in Houston, was Alex Bregman’s seventh-inning grand slam off Fernando Rodney, an MVP candidate blasting an erratic 42-year-old reliever deep into the D.C. night and propelling the Astros to an 8-1 victory to even up the series. The moment that created that nightmare

Suzuki remains on active roster after MRI on hip

Kurt Suzuki will remain on the Nationals’ active roster for Game 4 of the World Series after undergoing an MRI of his right hip that convinced club officials the veteran catcher would be available tonight if something happened to teammate Yan Gomes. Suzuki had to depart Game 3 on Friday night in the bottom of the sixth, a few minutes after he blocked a pitch

World Series Game 4 lineups: Nats vs. Astros

Perhaps with the hubbub of Friday night’s festivities behind them, everything at Nationals Park tonight will feel a little more normal for the Nationals. Or at least as normal as a World Series game can feel. Point is, the outcome of tonight’s game is really important for both teams. At the end of the night, the Nationals are either going to be up three games

Nats hope fresh bullpen gives them advantage in Game 4

Frustrating as Friday night’s 4-1 loss was, the Nationals perhaps could take some solace knowing this: While the Astros had to burn up five relievers, including three of their top guys, the Nats used only three low-leverage bullpen arms. And that could prove significant tonight in Game 4 of the World Series, especially when considering the two teams’ pitching plans. The Nationals will start Patrick

Suzuki’s status up in the air after hip issue forces him from Game 3

The status of Kurt Suzuki is unknown heading into World Series Game 4 on Saturday night after the Nationals catcher exited Game 3 with what manager Davey Martinez said was a right hip flexor issue. “He felt something when he went to block that ball in his hip flexor,” Martinez said. “We don’t know the severity of it yet. We’ll know more tomorrow. But it

Nats can’t convert in clutch, lose World Series home debut (updated)

They came looking for a party, fully expecting the first World Series game played in the District of Columbia in 86 years to produce the same kind of thrills that have become commonplace here all month long, only ratcheted up to an entirely new level that would leave the Nationals on the precipice of a championship. What the overflow gathering at Nationals Park tonight got

Cabrera gets nod over Kendrick at second base

In choosing to start Asdrúbal Cabrera over Howie Kendrick tonight, Nationals manager Davey Martinez went with the numbers. Cabrera has excellent career numbers versus Astros starter Zack Greinke, and so he gets the nod over Kendrick, who has been among the biggest contributors to the Nationals’ run to the World Series. Cabrera is 16-for-37 with a .512 on-base percentage and 1.079 OPS in his career

World Series Game 3 lineups: Nats vs. Astros

It’s Oct. 25 and there’s a ballgame being played on South Capitol Street tonight. How cool is that? Welcome to the World Series, Washington. It’s kind of a circus around here, but there’s no better reason to have a circus in town than this. There’s also the matter of the actual ballgame, which let’s not forget is kind of important. The Nationals had a great

After an 86-year wait, the World Series comes to Washington

There have been 4,183 major league baseball games played in the District of Columbia since 1934. Long-gone Griffith Stadium hosted 2,150 of those through the 1961 season, with RFK Stadium opening in 1962 and hosting 1,047 games through the 2007 season (with, of course, a 33-year gap in the middle of all that). And then Nationals Park opened in 2008 and has since been the

Strasburg’s evolution on full display during Game 2 win

HOUSTON - So much has been asked, answered and written about the evolution of Stephen Strasburg. Here, though, is the perfect encapsulation of it all, viewed entirely through the prism of the final batter he faced in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night. Embroiled in a tense, 2-2 game in the bottom of the sixth, Strasburg was facing Astros pinch-hitter Kyle Tucker

Nats blow out Astros and seize control of World Series (updated)

HOUSTON - The late-inning implosion came not from the Nationals but from the Astros. The relievers who gave up six runs in the seventh wore a block H on their caps, not a curly W. The fielders who kicked the ball around the infield to prolong the inning and turn a once-tense ballgame into a rout played for Houston, not Washington. If you’ve watched this

Sánchez to start Game 3, Corbin could relieve again (Nats win 12-3)

HOUSTON - Aníbal Sánchez will start Game 3 of the World Series, a reflection not only of the Nationals’ confidence in the veteran right-hander but also evidence of their continued willingness to use Patrick Corbin out of the bullpen if the opportunity arises. Manager Davey Martinez had been holding off naming a Game 3 starter, in part because he wanted to see if Corbin was

World Series Game 2 lineups: Nats at Astros

HOUSTON - And we’re back. If Game 1 of the World Series wasn’t thrilling and/or nerve-racking enough for you, you’re in luck because the Nationals and Astros are right back at it tonight for Game 2, with no shortage of storylines to consume. The most significant, of course, is the overall state of the series following the Nats’ 5-4 win last night. All of a

World Series bright lights no concern for electric Soto

HOUSTON - When he arrived at Minute Maid Park Monday evening for the first time in his life, Juan Soto couldn’t help but be tantalized by the tall, out-of-town scoreboard wall that sits a mere 315 feet away down the left field line. The young outfielder, who turns 21 on Friday, started attacking the wall during batting practice, hitting balls off and over the scoreboard,

Nationals go for broke and take Game 1 of World Series (updated)

HOUSTON - It’s been his mantra all season long, certainly since May 24 and most definitely throughout October. Davey Martinez gets mocked at times for insisting his Nationals simply try to “go 1-0 today,” but there’s a method to his madness. And you can’t dispute the results. And just because they were in the World Series for the first time in franchise history tonight, the

Why Cabrera’s at second and Ross is in the ‘pen (Nats win 5-4)

HOUSTON - For the first time in a while, Davey Martinez had a lineup decision to make today. With Howie Kendrick serving as designated hitter for Games 1 and 2 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park, the Nationals manager needed to choose between Asdrúbal Cabrera or Brian Dozier to start at second base. He chose Cabrera, opting for a more consistently productive bat

World Series Game 1 lineups: Nats at Astros

HOUSTON - The Nationals are playing in the World Series tonight. Yes, that’s a true statement. What seemed elusive for so long is reality. At 8:08 p.m. Eastern time, Trea Turner will step into the batter’s box and face Gerrit Cole, at which point the 115th Fall Classic will be underway and Washington baseball history will forever be changed. We’ve had nearly a week to

Nats make two bullpen changes for World Series

HOUSTON - The Nationals made some tweaks to the fringes of their roster for the World Series, but as we’ve seen throughout this extended postseason run to date, the National League champs fully intend to stick with the core group of big-name pitchers and lineup regulars in search of their first title. The Nats added two new relievers for the Fall Classic in Joe Ross

Key vets ready to empty the tank one last time for World Series

HOUSTON - When they take the field tonight for the first time as World Series participants, once the players have been introduced, once the anthem has been sung, once the ceremonial first pitch has been thrown, the Nationals will embark on their 11th game of this postseason. They’ll do with Max Scherzer on the mound for the fifth time, fourth as a starter. There’s a

Nats must decide who starts Game 3, who starts at second base

HOUSTON - The decision to start Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg in Games 1 and 2 of the World Series was easy for Davey Martinez and the Nationals. The tougher decision is how to line up Patrick Corbin and Aníbal Sánchez after that, not to mention how to assemble a lineup for these games in an American League ballpark. Martinez didn’t reveal the rotation plan

Scherzer gets ball for Game 1 of World Series (updated)

HOUSTON - The Nationals could’ve gotten cute with their World Series rotation, sticking with the order that led them to a National League Championship Series sweep of the Cardinals and saved up their two best horses for potential Games 6 and 7. In the end, manager Davey Martinez decided to keep thing simple and just go with his best guys right out of the chute

Nats vs. Astros: World Series tale of the tape

The matchup is now set. After a thrilling Game 6 victory over the Yankees late Saturday night, the Astros captured their second American League pennant in three years and thus advanced to the 2019 World Series to face the very well rested Nationals, who today will work out and meet with a throng of media members at Minute Maid Park, with Game 1 of the

How the 2001 D-backs served as a model for the 2019 Nats

Mike Rizzo has worked in professional baseball for 36 seasons, and until this current campaign he had worked for a team that reached the World Series only once. That was in 2001 with the Diamondbacks, for whom Rizzo served as scouting director. It’s Rizzo’s favorite team, from a professional standpoint, and for good reason. It provided him his lone World Series ring, which he wears

Nats have several decisions to make before start of Series

This extended break between the National League Championship Series and the World Series offers the Nationals a chance to rest their overworked pitchers and a chance to figure out how to make sure their hitters stay in a rhythm without facing live pitching in actual games for six days. It also offers ample opportunity for the Nats to consider all their roster, lineup, bullpen and

Nats trying to maintain edge during long break before World Series

On Tuesday night, they celebrated like they’d never celebrated before. Which was appropriate, considering they’d never won the National League pennant before. So what did the Nationals do on Wednesday? “Nothing,” reliever Sean Doolittle said. “Nothing. I woke up at like 11, I took the dogs for a walk and grabbed some bagels from Bethesda Bagels, and then realized that I didn’t have anything to

Revisiting our opening day predictions

So, traditionally we’ve run this feature right after the Nationals’ season ends. But until now, that’s always happened by this point of the year. Obviously, the season isn’t over yet. But since all but one of the prediction categories from opening day has already been settled, and since we’re still trying to fill this long gap between National League Championship Series and World Series, this

Thursday morning World Series Nats Q&A

We’re in uncharted waters here, folks. Everything from here on out is brand new, and there’s no road map to show us the way. The Nationals are going to the World Series for the first time ... but they’re now in Day 2 of a six-day layoff before they take the field again at either Minute Maid Park or Yankee Stadium. What do we do

15-year journey to the World Series was worth the wait

On March 30, 2008, a wide-eyed young third baseman named Ryan Zimmerman christened the brand-new Nationals Park with a walk-off homer against Braves reliever Peter Moylan. In that moment, as the 23-year-old “Face of the Franchise” circled the bases to a thunderous roar, it was impossible not to wonder if this was merely first of many more thrilling moments to come in that ballpark. Surely

Pennant party: Nats sweep Cards, reach first World Series (updated)

For a team that had to scratch and claw its way back from a 19-31 start to the season, that had to excel in late September to clinch a spot in the National League wild card game, that had to come from behind to win that do-or-die game against the Brewers and that had to come from behind again to win a do-or-die game against

Lerner never considered firing Martinez, wants to re-sign Rendon

During those dark days of late May, when the Nationals owned the second-worst record in the National League and calls for change were growing from outside the organization, Mark Lerner did exactly what the clubhouse did. He stuck with his guys, especially manager Davey Martinez. “It never crossed my mind to dismiss Davey, no matter all the pressure that was put on us,” Lerner, the

NLCS Game 4 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

The Nationals have played 2,456 games during their 15 years of existence. Many of those games carried little to no meaning. A decent number of them were significant but not historic. Twenty-eight of them have come in the postseason. None have featured the stakes that are on the table tonight. For the first time in their history, the Nats are playing for a pennant. One

With pennant in grasp, Nats turn to Corbin to keep it rolling

Yes, Patrick Corbin signed with the Nationals last winter because they offered him more years and more dollars than any of the other contenders for the free agent’s services. But he also came to Washington because of what he knew he could be a part of: A rotation that would rival any other in baseball, and a team that expected to play in October. All

With Game 3 rout, party’s on at Nationals Park (updated)

Surely there were some among the throng of 43,675 on South Capitol Street tonight who saw the home team holding a 6-0 lead over the visiting Cardinals in a postseason game and felt a sudden shiver go down their spines. Those folks must still be shell-shocked by the events of Oct. 12, 2012, a day that lives in infamy around these parts because of what

Robles returns to lineup, schedule could force tricky decisions

Davey Martinez had been saying for days Victor Robles would return to the Nationals lineup once his hamstring was healed enough to ease any concern about more serious injury. Tonight, the Nats manager and medical staff decided it was safe for the rookie center fielder to take the field again. Robles, who hasn’t played since straining his right hamstring during Game 2 of the National

NLCS Game 3 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

You couldn’t conjure up a better forecast for the first National League Championship Series game played in the District of Columbia. There isn’t a cloud in the sky. The temperature at gametime will be in the upper 60s, dropping into the low 60s later in the evening. This is what October is supposed to look and feel like. Nationals Park should be rocking tonight, starting

After climbing uphill for months, Nats suddenly out in front

They spent the better part of five months playing with their backs against the wall. There was the infamous 19-31 start. Then a slow climb back into the race. Then a missed opportunity to catch the Braves in the National League East. Then a down-to-the-wire surge to ensure home-field advantage for the wild card game. Then that winner-take-all game against the Brewers, in which they

Bullpen duo has become strength, not weak link, for Nats

ST. LOUIS - The weak link of the Nationals roster, it is well known, is a bullpen that ranked among the majors’ worst all season and simply cannot be trusted to close out games. Except that’s not entirely true. The weak link of the Nationals roster is the rank-and-file portion of the bullpen, the guys who pitch the sixth and seventh innings, or the guys

Behind another gem, Nats take commanding lead in NLCS (updated)

ST. LOUIS - Another day, another no-hit bid by a member of the Big Four rotation. And thanks to those dynamite performances, plus a couple of clutch hits and more lights-out work from the back end of the bullpen, the Nationals are heading home in complete control of the National League Championship Series. If they win two of their next five games, they’re going to

Martinez still doesn’t want to chance it with Robles (Nats win 3-1)

ST. LOUIS - Victor Robles strained his right hamstring eight days ago, way back in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. He still hasn’t seen action since. Robles was out of the Nationals lineup for the fifth straight game this afternoon with an injury that has been described as “mild” but apparently not mild enough to risk taking the field for a postseason

Grateful to witness daughter’s birth, Hudson rejoins Nats

ST. LOUIS - Daniel Hudson boarded a flight in Phoenix at 6 a.m. Mountain time today, landing in St. Louis at 10:30 a.m. Central time. By 12:45 p.m., the Nationals closer was holding a press conference at Busch Stadium, detailing his whirlwind 48 hours that began with a Game 5 National League Division Series clinch in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, including the birth of

NLCS Game 2 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

ST. LOUIS - They got a one-hitter from their No. 4 starter and backup closer to win Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. Now the Nationals send their No. 1 starter to the mound for Game 2, with their closer back in town and available to finish things off if the situation calls for it. Not a bad position to be in. Max

With final four outs, Doolittle completes Nats’ one-hitter

ST. LOUIS - When the phone rang in the Nationals bullpen and he was instructed to begin warming up, Sean Doolittle didn’t really have time to think about the significance of what was now happening. Yes, Doolittle knew what was going on. Aníbal Sánchez had not yet allowed a hit to the Cardinals. Through 7 2/3 innings. Of Game 1 of the National League Championship

Behind Sánchez’s brilliance, Nationals take Game 1 (updated)

ST. LOUIS - Aníbal Sánchez is not Max Scherzer. He’s not Stephen Strasburg. And he’s not Patrick Corbin. The rest of baseball may overlook him because of that, but the Nationals most definitely do not. Who cares if Sánchez doesn’t have Strasburg’s dominant stuff or Scherzer’s adrenaline or Corbin’s wipeout slider? He’s got 14 years of big league experience, a vast repertoire of pitches few

Suzuki, Robles on roster but not in lineup for Game 1 (Nats win 2-0)

ST. LOUIS - Neither Kurt Suzuki nor Victor Robles is in the Nationals lineup for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, but both injured players remain on the active roster, suggesting there’s reason to believe both will be ready to return soon. Suzuki, who took a fastball off his wrist and then his face in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the

Nats have to alter bullpen plan for Game 1, entire NLCS

ST. LOUIS - When Daniel Hudson left the Nationals in Los Angeles on Thursday morning, he hoped to spend only 24 hours in Phoenix for the birth of his daughter, then fly to St. Louis this morning and be ready to pitch tonight in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. But as anyone who’s ever had a baby can attest, Mother Nature doesn’t

NLCS Game 1 lineups: Nats at Cardinals (Hudson on leave)

ST. LOUIS - It’s 46 degrees. The wind chill is 39. It’s not going to be pleasant at all. But none of that matters, because there’s a ballgame tonight and the Nationals are playing in it. The Nats’ first National League Championship Series gamesis going to present some challenges, and we’re not just talking about the weather at Busch Stadium. The lineup and roster are

NLDS demons behind them, Nats now have eyes on bigger prize

ST. LOUIS - As cathartic as Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium was - and how could it not be, given the massive roadblock they finally overcame in their fifth try - the Nationals were in no mood to rest on their laurels and take satisfaction out of their first postseason series win in club history. No, there was a good night’s sleep still to get,

Reliving the key moments from an instant classic

LOS ANGELES - Sean Doolittle was trying to run through the final moments of an epic baseball game that propelled the Nationals to the National League Championship Series for the first time in club history. There was a strikeout of A.J. Pollock. Then a ground ball by Max Muncy. Then Michael A. Taylor’s diving catch of Justin Turner’s sinking liner to center, which had to

With trio of late blasts, Nats finally get over the hump (updated)

LOS ANGELES - On a warm morning in West Palm Beach in February 2018, Davey Martinez did something that raised a few eyebrows and made even more eyes roll. He gathered his Nationals team together and then directed everyone to watch as coaches Bobby Henley and Tim Bogar rode in on a pair of camels. The point, Martinez explained, was to offer a simple metaphor.

Robles getting better, not ready to start yet (Nats win 7-3 in 10)

LOS ANGELES - The fate of the Nationals’ season will be determined without Victor Robles patrolling center field. Robles, who suffered what the team called a mild right hamstring strain during Game 2 of the National League Division Series, remains out of the lineup for tonight’s do-or-die Game 5 against the Dodgers. The 22-year-old rookie, who rated as one of the best defensive outfielders in

NLDS Game 5 lineups: Nats at Dodgers

LOS ANGELES - And so it has come to this. Nationals. Dodgers. Game 5 of the National League Division Series. They wouldn’t have had it any other way. The winner goes to the NL Championship Series, against either the Braves or Cardinals, whose Game 5 should be wrapping up right around the time this one starts. Reminder: The Nats would not get home field advantage

Why this Game 5 could be different from the other Game 5s

LOS ANGELES - That the Nationals find themselves here, in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, is not at all surprising. This is the norm for this franchise, having now been in this exact position four times in the last eight years, three in the last four. And yet this one feels entirely different than those that came before. The end result -

Zimmerman not done delivering big moments for Nats

Ryan Zimmerman was sitting next to Max Scherzer in the interview room at Nationals Park late Monday night, the pair of 35-year-olds talking about their immense contributions to their team’s stave-off-elimination victory in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, when the inevitable question was raised. “Zim, your contract’s expiring, and this could be your last game before a home crowd,” the out-of-town reporter

Behind biggest stars, Nationals force another Game 5 (updated)

The Nationals’ chances of beating the Dodgers in this National League Division Series have always rested on the shoulders of the very best players on their roster. They don’t have the depth to compete with the 106-win champions of the NL West, but they do have the star power at the top of their roster to make them sweat. And so with their season hanging

Robles sits again, Kendrick in lineup again

Victor Robles took a full round of batting practice this afternoon. He was not, however, in the Nationals lineup for Game 4 of the National League Division Series, with club officials not wanting to take any chances he might severely injure his already strained right hamstring. “He’s still a little bit sore,” manager Davey Martinez said. “He’ll be available to pinch-hit, but that’s it.” Robles,

NLDS Game 4 lineups: Nats vs. Dodgers

This is the fourth time the Nationals have trailed two games to one in a best-of-five series. Twice in the past, they’ve gone on to win Game 4 (Jayson Werth’s walk-off homer in 2012, Stephen Strasburg’s dominant start at Wrigley Field in 2017) and force a Game 5. Once they lost and were eliminated (Aaron Barrett and Matt Thornton in San Francisco in 2014). What

Nats need Scherzer, and a whole lot more, to force Game 5

Imagine you were presented with this scenario on May 24. Or July 24. Or even Sept. 24, for that matter. The Nationals are facing the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, with Max Scherzer on the mound, needing to win to force a Game 5 in which they’d have Stephen Strasburg on the mound. Would you have taken that opportunity? Just

After seven-run sixth, Nationals’ season on brink (updated)

In electing to start Aníbal Sánchez tonight for Game 3 of the National League Division Series and hold Max Scherzer back for Game 4, the Nationals mapped out what felt like a viable path to victory. They were confident in Sánchez’s ability to hold the Dodgers lineup in check, but they also were confident in Patrick Corbin’s ability to replace him at some point and

Scherzer: Holding back for Game 4 “probably the best thing”

The conversation took place late Friday night, after the Nationals had hung on for a dramatic 4-2 win over the Dodgers to even up their best-of-five National League Division Series. Max Scherzer, who made a surprise 14-pitch relief appearance to help make that win possible, and Davey Martinez met in the Dodger Stadium clubhouse to decide when the ace would next start: Game 3 tonight

Sánchez gets nod for Game 3 tonight

Aníbal Sánchez will start Game 3 of the National League Division Series tonight, giving Max Scherzer an extra day to recover from his relief appearance before the Nationals ace likely starts Game 4 against the Dodgers on Monday. The Nationals had delayed making a decision on tonight’s starter, wanting to see how Scherzer felt in the wake of his dominant, 14-pitch relief outing in Game

Plenty of questions for Nationals to answer before Game 3

The Nationals spent most of their Saturday in the sky, electing to get a full night’s sleep in Los Angeles following their intense Game 2 win over the Dodgers and take a charter flight that wasn’t scheduled to arrive back in Washington until after 8 p.m. It gave them plenty of time to think back to all the critical moments in Friday night’s game at

Nats’ biggest names embracing expanded roles in October

LOS ANGELES - The Nationals have pitched 26 innings of postseason baseball so far this week, all of them high-stress, high-stakes innings, with one game officially must-win and another game ostensibly must-win. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin have pitched 21 of those 26 innings. Daniel Hudson and Sean Doolittle have pitched another three. That’s 24 of 26 innings, a staggering 92.3 percent, manned

Strasburg and surprise reliever Scherzer pitch Nats to win (updated)

LOS ANGELES - How much did the Nationals believe they needed to win Game 2 of the National League Division Series tonight? Enough to start Stephen Strasburg three days after he threw three innings of relief in the NL wild card game. And that wasn’t even the biggest gamble Davey Martinez took this evening. No, Martinez felt victory tonight was so critical, he sent Game

Martinez, players hope for looser approach tonight (Nats win 4-2)

LOS ANGELES - The Nationals know they played loose all season, enjoying the moment even when they at times struggled. And they know they didn’t play loose during Thursday night’s 6-0 shutout loss to the Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. How, then, do they rediscover that essential mindset tonight while facing an even more pressure packed scenario, desperately trying to

NLDS Game 2 lineups: Nats at Dodgers

LOS ANGELES - If the Nationals are going to win tonight and even up this best-of-five series, they’re going to have to score runs. That sounds like a “no, duh” statement, but it’s a simple fact. They were shut out Thursday night in Game 1, and they really didn’t hit much at all in their wild card win Tuesday night. They just need to find

Martinez needs to be more aggressive with bullpen in Game 2

LOS ANGELES - In Tuesday’s do-or-die wild card game, Davey Martinez could justify an all-hands-on-deck philosophy with his pitching staff. In Thursday’s opener of a best-of-five National League Division Series, the Nationals manager felt such an approach wasn’t justified. Given the way his team lost 6-0 to the Dodgers, Martinez might have no choice but to treat tonight’s Game 2 more like the elimination game

Nationals bats are silent in Game 1 shutout loss (updated)

LOS ANGELES - We can talk about the Nationals pitching staff - their dominant starters, their shaky relievers - and how they are deployed in the postseason until the cows come home. Until their hitters start, you know, hitting, it won’t matter much. Game 1 of the National League Division Series saw Patrick Corbin battle disastrous command early to still produce a quality start. It

After relief outing, Strasburg will start Game 2 (Nats fall 6-0)

LOS ANGELES - Stephen Strasburg and Davey Martinez spoke Wednesday evening, after the Nationals arrived here following a long flight from Washington following an emotional win over the Brewers in the National League wild card game. Strasburg had thrown 34 pitches in three innings of scoreless relief to help lift his team to victory in that do-or-die showdown. Now Martinez wanted to know if the

NLDS Game 1 lineups: Nats at Dodgers

LOS ANGELES - It’s a beautiful day in the City of Angels, but then again most days here are. Dodger Stadium is resplendent as ever, set to host yet another postseason series, the Nationals for the second time. The Nats won one of the two games they played here in 2016. Everything starts anew tonight, with Game 1 of the National League Division Series pitting

Suero, Voth added to Nationals bullpen for NLDS

LOS ANGELES - With a best-of-five National League Division Series to consider now instead of a winner-take-all wild card game, the Nationals knew they were going to need to make some roster adjustments. Those adjustments, it turns out, come in the form of two extra pitchers added to their bullpen to face the Dodgers: Wander Suero and Austin Voth. After carrying only nine pitchers for

As glow of wild card win fades, Nats shift focus to NLDS

LOS ANGELES - The thrill of victory and the smell of champagne and beer had worn off. In their place was a happy but tired Nationals club that celebrated Tuesday night’s epic wild card victory over the Brewers hard, then spent all of Wednesday afternoon flying across the country, then spent Wednesday night working out under the lights at Dodger Stadium, where tonight they’ll open

Nats waiting to see if Strasburg is ready to start Game 2

LOS ANGELES - The Nationals will send Patrick Corbin to the mound Thursday night for Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Dodgers. That much they know for sure. They do not yet know who will start Game 2 on Friday night, but they certainly appear to be open to the idea of giving the ball to Stephen Strasburg only three days

How Martinez’s in-game decisions helped make win possible

There was a point during Tuesday night’s wild card game, around the third inning or so, when it looked like Davey Martinez’s postseason managerial debut was going to be remembered for the wrong reason. With Max Scherzer digging the Nationals into a 3-0 hole after serving up a pair of quick homers and the Brewers all set up to use their pitching staff exactly as

Soto’s clutch hit finally lifts Nats in do-or-die game (updated)

One of these years, the Nationals had to catch a break in a winner-take-all game on South Capitol Street, right? They had suffered too much heartache, too many crazy moments that all went against them with their season on the line in October. Just once, it had to go the other way, right? It did. Finally. And because of it, they will get to keep

Martinez explains final wild card roster decisions

When it came time to make their final roster decisions for tonight’s National League wild card game, the Nationals decided to prioritize speed. As in the speed of pitches and the speed of baserunners. In choosing to keep Tanner Rainey and Hunter Strickland in their bullpen over the likes of Wander Suero, Austin Voth and Javy Guerra, the Nats went with a couple of hard-throwing

NL wild card game lineups: Nats vs. Brewers

Well, here we go. Tonight the Nationals take the field for a ballgame that both feels familiar and yet completely foreign. It’s another winner-take-all home game in October, the fourth in eight years for this team. But it’s the first wild card game, so that gives tonight’s proceedings an entirely different context. So much of the talk leading up to this game has been about

Wild card roster features nine pitchers, eight on bench

The Nationals roster for tonight’s wild card game includes four members of their rotation, only five members of their usual bullpen, three catchers and an eight-man bench. Suffice it to say, the strategy for this do-or-die game against the Brewers is just a bit different than it is for any other game in the regular season or postseason. The Nationals announced their 25-man roster this

After the grind of 162, season comes down to one game

There are very few flukes in baseball. This sport requires every team to play 162 games, and after 162 games the best teams almost always emerge from the pack and prove their worthiness over others. Some clubs get off to hot starts, then are exposed over the long haul. Others need some time to come together before going on a sustained run. Some are fortunate

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