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Familiar pattern in Nationals’ 8-6 loss to Phillies (updated)

If Mike Rizzo’s message in standing pat at this afternoon’s trade deadline was to let his Nationals players know he still believes this group is capable of a second-half push into a pennant race, the message they sent back to their general manager tonight in Philadelphia was that nothing has changed on the field. This 8-6 loss to the Phillies bore far too much resemblance

Nationals stand pat at deadline, stick with roster (updated)

What does a defending champion sitting seven games under .500 in the strangest season in baseball history do at the trade deadline? Nothing. The Nationals did not make any deals before today’s 4 p.m. deadline, opting instead to stick with the roster as currently constructed and hope it can turn things around over the final month of this 60-game season. “If there’s something out there

Even in odd season, deadline day feels familiar for Nats

As he watched a Nationals club with lofty expectations struggle to generate any kind of positive momentum and arrive at the trade deadline with a sub-.500 record, general manager Mike Rizzo explained why he felt like his best course of action was to stand pat with the roster as is, neither buying a big-name player who could make an immediate impact or sell a popular

Another bad start for Voth, another series loss for Nats (updated)

The 2020 season is now more than halfway complete, and the defending World Series champs still have won only a single three-game series. Not even a weekend at Fenway Park against a Red Sox roster that is now a shell of its 2018 championship form could cure what ails the Nationals. The 2019 champs still can’t get consistent starting pitching or consistent offensive production with

After fortuitously timed signing, Holt hopes to help Nats

Though he knew he wouldn’t be re-signing with the Red Sox last winter and wound up with the Brewers instead, Brock Holt decided to keep living in his suburban Boston home. So when the veteran utility man was designated for assignment last week, he returned home and decided to enjoy the time with his pregnant wife, Lakyn, and their 3-year-old son, Griffin, while waiting to

Game 31 lineups: Nats at Red Sox

The 2020 regular season is now 50 percent complete, and the Nationals have won exactly one series to date. And even that requires an asterisk: They won both of their designated “road” games against the Blue Jays at Nationals Park, which officially counted as its own two-game series even though it immediately followed Toronto’s two straight wins in the same park with the Nats serving

Braymer all smiles after “humbling and awesome” debut

Ben Braymer, like every young ballplayer, had always wondered what his major league debut would look like. He had conjured up some images in his head, perhaps imagining a start at Nationals Park against the Braves or Phillies. Or maybe he’d be on the road in a hostile environment like Philadelphia. But Fenway Park? In relief? With no fans in attendance? While wearing a nameless

Scherzer starts, finishes strong in blowout at Fenway (updated)

For a guy who firmly believes a start is defined by the last 10 to 15 pitches he throws, Max Scherzer was not satisfied with his two previous outings this summer. In each case, an otherwise strong start ended on a sour note, with the Nationals ace surrendering four late runs to fritter away what seemed like a comfortable lead. So when he walked off

Eaton moved down in order, pairing Turner and Soto at top

Injuries, opt-outs and inconsistent performances have forced Davey Martinez to reconsider his batting order almost every day this season. Tonight, circumstances prompted the Nationals manager to make one of his biggest lineup changes to date. Adam Eaton, who has batted second in each of the 25 games he’s played so far this year, was bumped down to the sixth spot for tonight’s series opener against

Game 29 lineups: Nats at Red Sox

They are playing baseball tonight in Boston, where the Nationals make their first trip to Fenway Park since 2015 and only their fourth visit in club history. Each of the three previous series there has been lopsided: The not-so-good 2006 Nats were swept, the very good 2012 team swept the Red Sox in something of a coming-out party and the disappointing 2015 team played poorly

After emotional day, a challenge for Nats to refocus on baseball

At the end of an emotional day during an emotional week during an emotional year, the Nationals gathered on buses headed for Dulles International Airport, took a charter flight to Boston, checked into their hotel, tried to put everything swirling around their heads aside for a little while and get a good night’s rest. They’ll wake up this morning and focus on preparing for their

Nationals, Phillies jointly decide not to play series finale (updated)

Tonight’s series finale at Nationals Park was postponed after players from both the Phillies and Nationals chose not to participate in the latest symbolic move by professional athletes to redirect attention toward racial inequality and police brutality. Phillies players met at their team hotel at 1 p.m. today and about an hour later decided not to play. Phillies manager Joe Girardi called Nationals skipper Davey

Nats expect Kieboom to return once swing progresses

The Nationals’ decision to demote Carter Kieboom on Wednesday, while surprising, came down to one irrefutable fact: The rookie infielder wasn’t hitting enough to continue warranting a spot on the major league roster. It was not, manager Davey Martinez insisted, a reflection of a change in the organization’s long-term belief in Kieboom. “I told him: ‘Hey, you’re going to be our third baseman,’ ” Martinez

Nationals play on, lose another to Phillies (updated)

As a significant portion of the sporting world stepped off the field and the court tonight in an attempt to redirect attention toward racial inequality and police brutality, the Nationals and Phillies played as scheduled, the domino effect of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to call off their NBA playoff game having not had much time to reach Washington before this early 6:05 p.m. ballgame. Players,

Slumping Kieboom demoted, Doolittle activated off IL

Their 60-game season nearly halfway complete, the Nationals decided to pull the plug (at least temporarily) on Plan A for replacing Anthony Rendon at third base. The Nats optioned struggling rookie Carter Kieboom to their alternate training site in Fredericksburg this afternoon, an unexpected transaction that also saw reliever Sean Doolittle activated off the 10-day injured list. Though Kieboom had been struggling at the plate

Game 28 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

The Nationals need a good start tonight from Patrick Corbin. It’s that simple. With their own lineup ailing and ace Aaron Nola on the mound for the Phillies, it’s probably too much to count on a big night at the plate. So it’s up to Corbin to provide quality innings, hold the Philly lineup down and allow Davey Martinez to use only a couple of

Nats lose battle of bullpens to Phillies after rain delay (updated)

Rarely do we think of D.C.’s summer weather as an advantage for the Nationals, who lament the heat, humidity and evening thunderstorms as much as any commuter from Fairfax or Silver Spring. But when a storm rolled through South Capitol Street at the end of the fifth inning tonight, it felt appropriate to wonder if the Nats might actually benefit from the situation. When play

Martinez sticking with Voth, wants him to trust fastball more

Davey Martinez hadn’t yet met with Austin Voth when he held his daily pregame Zoom session with reporters this afternoon. But the Nationals manager was more than willing to share in advance what he planned to say to his struggling right-hander. “I can tell you now: I’m not going to give up on him,” Martinez said. Despite a consistent pattern of ineffectiveness in his first

Game 27 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

The season is nearly halfway complete, and tonight the Nationals and Phillies finally meet for the first time in 2020. And they meet as co-cellar-dwellers in the National League East. Who saw that coming? For many reasons, this is an important three-game series. The Nats need to start winning more games than they lose. And they need to start getting more consistent work from their

Tuesday morning news and notes

They’re four games under .500, tied for fourth place in the five-team National League East, the season now 43.3 percent completed. The Nationals are in trouble, right? Well, not entirely. Yes, they’re on the outside looking in right now, and they’re going to have to turn things around in a more positive direction soon. But they’re not as far out of the race as you

Spirited rally can’t make up for Voth’s continued struggles (updated)

That the Nationals stayed in the fight tonight and didn’t roll over after trailing the Marlins by seven runs early is testament to their gumption - even in the middle of a crowd-less, disappointing-to-date 2020 season. But at the end of an 11-8 loss that saw the home team’s spirited rally fall short, the most significant development of the night was the manner in which

Romero breaks right hand, Braymer gets promoted

Seth Romero, the highly touted pitching prospect who made his major league debut for the Nationals two weeks ago and had become the club’s only active left-handed reliever, broke his right hand in a fall late Saturday night and has been placed on the injured list. Romero, who faced four batters in the bottom of the fourth inning during the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader against

Game 26 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Tonight is the rubber game of a five-game series, and how often do you get to say that? The Nationals and Marlins have played a lot this weekend, and they’re not done yet. Tonight they’ll play the finale of this extended series, the winner taking three of five and perhaps carrying some momentum into the rest of the week. After Sunday’s 9-3 win, the Nats

Despite struggles, Nats need only to reach mediocrity in 2020

Twenty-four games is not enough to adequately evaluate a ballclub. It’s certainly not in a 162-game season. No club executive, manager or reasonable outside observer would try. But in this most unusual baseball year, 24 games represents 40 percent of the regular season. And under normal circumstances, 40 percent of a season is ample time to start making judgments. Even the 2019 Nationals could tell

Defense betrays Crowe in debut, Nats lose nightcap (updated)

Because he doesn’t possess the kind of eye-popping “stuff” his counterpart Sixto Sánchez has, Wil Crowe wasn’t going to win tonight’s battle of rookie pitching debuts unless his eight Nationals teammates around him on the field did their part to make every play they had a chance to make. And because those guys didn’t come close to making every play they had a chance to

Game 24 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Major league debuts are always special. But how about two starting pitchers making their major league debuts against each other? That’s a rare special occasion. Tonight we’ll witness it when Wil Crowe and Sixto Sánchez square off in the nightcap of this 14-innings doubleheader between the Nationals and Marlins. Crowe isn’t as highly touted as Sánchez, who was the key piece Miami got from Philadelphia

Game 23 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Who’s ready for 14 innings of thrilling baseball action? For the first time, the Nationals are playing a doubleheader today, 2020 style. That means seven innings per game (unless it’s tied at the end of the seventh, of course, in which case they continue into the eighth using the new extra-inning rules). There’s going to be some different strategy to this. All of a sudden,

Nationals bats are quiet again in 3-2 loss to Marlins (updated)

All night long, they waited for their lineup to strike. It felt like it was going to happen eventually, right? Someone would get a rally going against the Marlins bullpen and bring the Nationals back from the one-run deficit they had faced nearly the entire game, right? Well, no. It never happened. And so another eminently winnable ballgame was won not by the Nationals but

Surgery possible for Strasburg to fix carpal tunnel neuritis

Stephen Strasburg’s follow-up exam with a hand specialist confirmed the Nationals’ initial diagnosis of carpal tunnel neuritis. The veteran right-hander and the club are still discussing a course of action to address the injury, but manager Davey Martinez acknowledged surgery is a possibility. “I’m going to talk to him, see what his options are and what he wants to do,” Martinez said this afternoon during

Game 22 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

The Nationals return to action tonight. Howie Kendrick does not. For the sixth straight scheduled game and seventh straight day overall, Kendrick is not in the team’s starting lineup. That’s a growing concern, because before Wednesday night’s game in Atlanta was rained out, manager Davey Martinez made it sound like there was a good chance the veteran hitter would be ready to play tonight against

Long weekend of baseball still on tap for now

After their first scheduled series was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak that swept through the Marlins roster, the Nationals finally will face Miami for the first time in 2020 this weekend, with a rare five-game series on tap that includes the first 14-inning doubleheader in club history. At least, that’s the plan as of right now. All systems appeared to be go for tonight’s

Thursday morning Nats Q&A

Well, the Nationals are getting back-to-back days off, thanks to last night’s rainout in Atlanta. (For those who wonder why they scheduled a doubleheader for Sept. 4 instead of making up the game today, players generally tend to prefer doubleheaders over losing scheduled days off, especially at home. Plus, they would’ve already checked out of their hotel before heading to the ballpark yesterday afternoon.) It

Nats hope Kendrick is ready Friday, need starter Saturday

Though he’s out of the lineup for the fifth consecutive day, the Nationals continue to believe Howie Kendrick will be ready to return from a tight hamstring soon enough to make a trip to the injured list unnecessary. Kendrick last played Friday night in Baltimore, going 1-for-5 with a sacrifice fly in the Nationals’ 15-3 rout of the Orioles. He has complained of a tight

Game 22 lineups: Nats at Braves

In spite of all their issues - and they have plenty - the Nationals can win a road series against the Braves with a victory tonight and move to within two games of first place in the National League East. Truth be told, they should already have won this series and were one out away from doing it. This doesn’t mean everything’s perfect in NatsTown.

Struggling Voth still searching for answers

Austin Voth earned a spot in the Nationals’ opening day rotation based on the major step forward he took in 2019, when increased velocity, improved command and renewed confidence came together to make the rookie right-hander look like a part of the organization’s long-term plan. Four starts into his 2020 campaign, Voth finds himself searching to gain all of that back. And soon. “Definitely the

Seven relievers post five zeros in Nationals’ win (updated)

Davey Martinez can wish for more innings from his rotation. Until it actually happens, he has no choice but to ask for a lot from his bullpen. That unit couldn’t finish the job Monday night during a gut-punch loss in Atlanta. Tonight, seven different relievers joined forces to pitch five scoreless innings and complete the job. And when Daniel Hudson, pitching for the third straight

For Martinez, baseball’s unwritten rules have changed

During a 16-year playing career from 1986-2001 that included 6,480 plate appearances, Davey Martinez reached a 3-0 count 300 times. And on only four of those occasions did he put the ball in play, going 2-for-4 with a triple. Such an approach wasn’t uncommon in those days. Most guys didn’t swing on a 3-0 count. And they certainly didn’t in a lopsided game, when doing

Game 21 lineups: Nats at Braves

The Nationals did a lot of things right Monday night. And because of it, they were in position to win their series opener against the Braves at Truist Park. Of course, they didn’t win because of Daniel Hudson’s disastrous bottom of the ninth, so that only adds to the pressure to emerge victorious in tonight’s middle game of the series. The Nats will hope to

García shows off power, dance moves, Soto-like approach

Luis García isn’t a power hitter. At least, he hasn’t been throughout his professional career. The 20-year-old infielder hit a total of 12 home runs in 1,308 minor league plate appearances. So when García stepped to the plate Monday night in Atlanta and launched a 410-foot blast to right-center for his first home run in his ninth career major league plate appearance, his manager had

Pair of ninth-inning homers off Hudson shock Nats (updated)

Yes, they already played 19 games over the last 3 1/2 weeks, an erratic stretch of games their manager referred to as “seesaw baseball.” In practical terms, 2020 really began for the Nationals tonight in Atlanta with their first game against their top division rival in a season that will be defined by intradivisional play. The first of 10 games between the Nats and Braves

Kieboom’s glove better than expected on both sides of infield

As much as the Nationals have gone out of their way to keep Carter Kieboom focused on learning how to play third base, the rookie infielder is actually spending a lot of time on the other side of the diamond so far this season. When they utilize the shift against a left-handed batter, the Nats are leaving Trea Turner at shortstop and having Kieboom move

Soto named NL Player of the Week

Juan Soto was named National League Player of the Week after a torrid road trip at the plate. During a seven-game stretch at the Mets and Orioles, Soto hit .462 (12-for-26) with five home runs, 12 RBIs, 12 runs scored at a 1.610 OPS. He hit safely in six of the seven games and drove in a run in five of the seven contests. Though

Game 20 lineups: Nats at Braves

The Nationals’ season will be 33.3 percent complete at the end of the night, but they’ll have played only 17.5 percent of their division games for 2020. Yes, things are moving quickly in this shortened season, but there’s a whole lot of opportunity left to win the games that matter most. It begins tonight with a three-game series in Atlanta against the Braves, who are

After “seesaw” start, Nats want to start climbing uphill

There have been moments over the last 3 1/2 weeks when the Nationals looked very much like legitimate contenders, a team with a deep lineup, a dominant (when healthy) rotation and a revamped bullpen that might actually have morphed into a strength for the first time in a long time. And then there have been moments when the defending champions have looked nothing like the

Heated Nats eke out 6-5 win to take weekend series (updated)

BALTIMORE - A game that featured a lot of quality at-bats by a reconfigured lineup, a heated (and very audible) exchange with the plate umpire that led to the ejection of the hitting coach and dismissal of a pitcher watching from the stands, a dominant start by Max Scherzer that imploded via a couple of monster home runs and then a gift error to allow

Game 19 lineups: Nats at Orioles

BALTIMORE - If you haven’t heard, the Nationals have started this 60-game season with a 7-11 record. And if you haven’t heard, the equivalent record in a 162-game season would be 19-31. Yes, with 30 percent of the 2020 season completed, the Nats are playing at exactly the same pace they played at through the first 30 percent of the 2019 season. But wait, there’s

Fedde, bats save the day after Strasburg leaves early (updated)

BALTIMORE - Given the negative developments that already taken place over the preceding hours since they arrived at Camden Yards for 1 4/9 games of baseball, the Nationals would have been excused if they all threw up their hands in disgust at the sight of Stephen Strasburg walking off the mound with a trainer in the bottom of the first and decided to pack it

Strasburg departs in first inning with apparent injury

BALTIMORE - Stephen Strasburg’s hand doesn’t appear to be OK after all. Strasburg had to come out of tonight’s game against the Orioles after throwing only 16 pitches, his velocity down and his command off, the nerve issue in his right hand that prevented him from making his first two starts of the season evidently causing a problem again. The Nationals were hoping Strasburg would

Infield prospect García called up after Castro breaks wrist

BALTIMORE - The Nationals’ second base plans just took a dramatic turn in a direction they probably weren’t expecting to go in August 2020. After Starlin Castro broke his right wrist making a diving play during today’s resumption of Sunday’s suspended game, the club promoted top prospect Luis García off their traveling taxi squad and put the 20-year-old in their starting lineup for tonight’s regularly

Bats silent, Castro hurt as Nats lose suspended game (updated)

BALTIMORE - The Nationals took the field late this afternoon at Camden Yards, the first team to take the field despite the fact this is not their home, and set about to correct what went wrong Sunday at Nationals Park, when a malfunctioning tarp forced the suspension of their game with the Orioles, who led 5-2 at the time. When this resumed game finally ended

Bacus promoted, Harper optioned but could still pitch tonight

BALTIMORE - The Nationals made another change to their bullpen prior to today’s resumption of Sunday’s suspended game against the Orioles, promoting right-hander Dakota Bacus and optioning right-hander Ryne Harper to their alternate training site in Fredericksburg. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Harper won’t make an appearance at Camden Yards before the night is over. Because clubs are allowed to add a 29th man to

What you need to know about today’s games in Baltimore

The 2020 season has already included, and will continue to include, some weird days. Today might end up ranking near the top of the list, though, from the Nationals’ perspective. The Nats are scheduled to open a three-game weekend series with the Orioles at Camden Yards. But before the two teams can do that, they first need to complete the suspended game they began at

Voth’s short start sets up Romero’s rough debut in loss (updated)

Draw up a recipe for pitching trouble, and this is what you’d come up with: After last night’s starter went 2 2/3 innings, and with 1 4/9 games on tomorrow’s schedule, the Nationals knew they needed quality and length from Austin Voth in today’s series finale at Citi Field. Voth often provides quality, but the length part still eludes the young right-hander. Which meant by

Game 16 lineups: Nats at Mets (Doolittle to IL, Romero promoted)

For all the issues they’ve got right now - and there are issues - the Nationals have a chance today to win a series against a division rival. A four-game series, at that. After taking the first two games at Citi Field, then dropping Wednesday night’s not-so-pretty contest, the Nats go back at it against the Mets this afternoon for the finale. The forecast in

Bullpen changes coming today after Freeman injured

The Nationals are expected to get one key veteran back in their bullpen today, but they may be losing their only effective left-hander for a prolonged stretch. Sam Freeman, who had been a surprise revelation through the season’s first three weeks, departed Wednesday night’s 11-6 loss to the Mets after telling manager Davey Martinez and director of athletic training Paul Lessard he felt a “pop”

Bullpen rounding into form, even with Doolittle on the outs

Every team enters every season thinking it has its bullpen plan in place. Who’s going to close. Who’s going to set up. Who’s going to get lefties out. Who’s going to pitch out of jams. And then the season begins, and every team realizes that plan going in isn’t going to work and has to start adjusting on the fly. Truth be told, it takes

Scherzer, bullpen team up for tight win over Mets (updated)

They can’t all be laughers. The Nationals couldn’t go into Citi Field tonight and expect to blow out the Mets again. No, they were going to need to win a tight ballgame if they wanted to remain perfect on the road. And it doesn’t get any tighter than 2-1. Thanks to a gutsy start from Max Scherzer in his return from a nagging hamstring ailment,

Game 14 lineups: Nats at Mets

When last we saw him on the mound, Max Scherzer was slogging his way through a 27-pitch top of the first against the Mets, clearly not right. Turns out he had “tweaked” his right hamstring the previous day and decided he shouldn’t try to continue to pitch through it. Six days later, Scherzer is back on the mound, back facing the Mets, believing the same

Red-hot Cabrera is terrorizing left-handers

He homered in the top of the second. He doubled down the third-base line in the top of the fourth. He doubled again in the top of the fifth, driving a ball over center fielder Brandon Nimmo’s reach to drive in two runs. He walked in the sixth. And then he homered again in the seventh, this time on a pitch below his knees that

Nats enjoy life on the road again, trounce Mets (updated)

Life on the road in 2020 is nothing like life on the road in 2019. With one exception: The Nationals are still winning. There may not be fans in the stands or anywhere to go for breakfast, lunch or postgame entertainment, but the Nationals kicked off their delayed first road trip of the season with an all-too-familiar result: a lopsided victory over the Mets. Two

Scherzer ready, Eaton rests, first taxi squad deployed

After throwing two days ago and testing out his hamstring, Max Scherzer went up to Davey Martinez and said he could pitch that night. The manager chucked today as he recalled the story and the three-time Cy Young Award winner who would make such a ridiculous offer. “Your day is coming up,” Martinez told him. “So be ready.” That day is Tuesday. Scherzer will start

Game 13 lineups: Nats at Mets

The Nationals’ remarkable run to a championship last October was defined by victories away from Washington. The Nats won Game 5 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium. They won Games 6 and 7 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park. All told, they went a stunning 8-1 on the road during the postseason, the only loss coming in their first NLDS

For first time in 2020, Nats face challenges of road trip

The Nationals woke up this morning in a vaguely familiar, yet wholly foreign place: in a hotel room in New York. It’s the first time anyone with the team has spent the night anywhere other than his Washington-area place of residence since summer training camp opened more than five weeks ago. That’s an unprecedented stretch for any baseball club not to travel in-season, made possible

Voth takes important step in five-inning start

Had things played out the way the Nationals wanted them to Saturday night, we’d be talking this morning about Austin Voth’s impressive start. Of course, by the end of a disastrous, 5-3 loss to the Orioles, Voth’s outing was an afterthought, bumped by Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson’s eighth-inning meltdown. In the bigger picture, though, Voth’s performance was significant. The second-year starter continues to show

Faith in bullpen goes haywire during gut-punch loss (updated)

Asked Friday if Sean Doolittle’s struggles might force him to shift the veteran late-inning reliever into a lower-leverage role, Davey Martinez was adamant in showing faith in the left-hander who has been an integral member of the Nationals bullpen for three years now. “In order for us to pull this off,” Martinez said, “we need Sean Doolittle.” Barely 24 hours later, the Nationals manager admitted

Scherzer throwing off mound, lined up to start Tuesday

The Nationals believe Max Scherzer is on track to make his next start Tuesday against the Mets at Citi Field. Scherzer, who has been dealing with what he calls a “tweaked” right hamstring, is throwing a standard bullpen session this afternoon. It’s exactly what he would do three days before starting a game, under normal circumstances. “He’s treating it as if he’s getting ready for

Game 11 lineups: Nats vs. Orioles

Nothing went right for the Nationals Friday night during an 11-0 whitewashing at the hands of the Orioles. They can only hope for a better result tonight in the second game of the weekend series. Most of Davey Martinez’s lineup remains the same, with two exceptions: Eric Thames is back at first base, because the Nats are facing a right-hander (Thomas Eshelman), and Asdrúbal Cabrera

Turner hopes consistent approach leads to more hits

There are any number of factors you can point to when trying to explain the Nationals’ inconsistent start to this season at the plate, but as is so often the case with this lineup it’s always appropriate to start at the top. As Trea Turner goes, so go the Nationals. That was especially obvious in 2019, when the club’s early season struggles coincided with the

Nationals roughed up by Orioles in lopsided shutout (updated)

An opening month of fits and starts for the Nationals re-started tonight with the first of 13 straight scheduled game days, a development Davey Martinez was excited about, hoping it might finally provide some sense of normalcy and consistency in a season that is anything but normal or consistent. After a lopsided loss to the Orioles, Martinez might want to revisit that line of thinking.

Martinez trying to find spots to help Doolittle get right

Sean Doolittle is healthy. The Nationals coaching and training staffs keep asking him, and he keeps replying there’s nothing physically wrong with him. Something, though, is out of whack when Doolittle attempts to pitch right now. The veteran reliever didn’t look right during intrasquad games and the brief exhibition season. And he hasn’t looked right during his three appearances since the regular season began. “He

Game 10 lineups: Nats vs. Orioles

They’ve had more days off than days on recently, but that changes tonight for the Nationals, who begin a stretch of 13 consecutive days with games on the schedule with the opener of a weekend series against the Orioles. There’s still uncertainty about the status of the top two members of the Nats rotation, so that puts some added pressure on the guys beneath them

Nats announce makeup games vs. Marlins, starters vs. Orioles

They’ve had a bunch of days off in the last week, but the Nationals are going to make up for it with a bunch of doubleheaders later in the season. Major League Baseball announced a slew of schedule changes Thursday to account for all the games lost due to coronavirus outbreaks among the Marlins and Cardinals. And in order for the Nats to make up

Nine games in, Nats pitching staff is far from healthy

Whatever concern the Nationals had about their veteran pitchers’ ability to make it through the 2020 season healthy after a grueling 2019 that didn’t end until they hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy on Oct. 30 seemed to vanish once it became clear the 2020 season wouldn’t start until midsummer and would be severely reduced in length. What a perfect opportunity for Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick

Loss to Mets made worse by early loss of Scherzer (updated)

The images were unusual and alarming. Max Scherzer, throwing at less than full velocity and with less than full extension. Looking uncomfortable as he walked off the mound at the end of a laborious top of the first. Talking with the training staff upon returning to the dugout as Erick Fedde began furiously warming up in the bullpen. The Nationals lost tonight’s ballgame, 3-1 to

Scherzer out after one labored inning with apparent injury

Max Scherzer threw 112 pitches in his last start, most by any major leaguer so far in 2020. Tonight, the Nationals ace threw only 27 pitches before departing with what appears to be a physical ailment. Scherzer was pulled after one laborious inning against the Mets, unexpectedly replaced by Erick Fedde in the top of the second. The Nationals didn’t immediately announce a reason for

Game 9 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Juan Soto last came up to bat in an official major league game 280 days ago. You may or may not remember this, but he actually made the final out of the 2019 season for the Nationals, flying out to center field to end the top of the ninth in Game 7 of the World Series. He, of course, had drawn a critical walk off

Early offense, late escape acts give Nats another win (updated)

The Nationals burst out of the gates tonight to take a quick five-run lead on the Mets. Then they decided to find out if they could make those five runs hold up behind Patrick Corbin and four relievers, with a rain delay thrown into the middle of it all for good measure. The answer: They could. By the skin of their teeth. Tonight’s 5-3 victory

Strasburg to pitch simulated game before making 2020 debut

Stephen Strasburg wants to face hitters in a real game as soon as possible. But before he can do that, he feels like he needs to face hitters in a simulated game. Thus, Strasburg will pitch against his Nationals teammates Wednesday afternoon, perhaps the right-hander’s final step before returning from a nerve impingement in his wrist to make his delayed season debut. After Strasburg threw

Game 8 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

The 2020 Major League Baseball season is now 19 days old, and for the first time the Nationals are playing a division opponent. Add that to the list of strange facts about this strange season. After three games with the Yankees and four games with the Blue Jays (followed by three postponed games with the Marlins) the Nats finally face the Mets tonight in the

After unplanned weekend off, Nats finally return to action

When last we saw them on the field in an actual game, the Nationals were wrapping up a two-game road sweep of the Blue Jays that took place in their own ballpark. Juan Soto was still waiting to be cleared by the D.C. Department of Health to return to work. Stephen Strasburg had not thrown off a mound in more than a week. The Marlins

As others try to adjust, Rainey thriving early in Nats ‘pen

It’s only been a week, and these things can change quickly and dramatically, but at this point Tanner Rainey looks like an outlier among major league pitchers. While others are watching their workload or dealing with noticeable drops in velocity, Rainey is thriving. He’s one of only six National League relievers to appear in five games so far, and the others all pitch for teams

Strasburg pain-free but unlikely to return before next weekend

Though he’s throwing off a mound without pain in his right hand, Stephen Strasburg won’t be rejoining the Nationals rotation in time for this week’s series against the Mets. Strasburg threw 31 pitches off the bullpen mound today before his teammates participated in a simulated game at Nationals Park. Manager Davey Martinez said the right-hander’s next step will be to throw a “regular” bullpen session

Nats trying to stay fresh during unexpected weekend off

After a week of frustrating bombshells - Juan Soto testing positive for coronavirus, Stephen Strasburg getting scratched from his season debut due to a hand injury - and uninspired play, the Nationals were just starting to find their groove this week. They won a thriller of a 10-inning game with the Blue Jays on Wednesday night, then came right back and won again Thursday afternoon

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