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Nats’ hopes for 2021 rebound start with their starters

We can talk about injuries. We can look at offensive consistency. We can point to the bullpen or poor defensive fundamentals. All played a role in the Nationals’ disappointing 2020 season. But there really is one reason above all others the Nats failed to make the playoffs this year. And it’s the same reason they failed to make the playoffs in 2013, 2015 and 2018.

Change is coming for Nationals, but how much?

The Nationals are going to undergo change this winter, of that there’s no doubt. Nine prominent players (Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Eaton, Howie Kendrick, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Aníbal Sánchez, Sean Doolittle, Kurt Suzuki, Eric Thames and Josh Harrison) will either become free agents or could become free agents if their options aren’t picked up. Several others (most notably Michael A. Taylor and Roenis Elías) could be in

After a joyless season, Nationals realize change is coming

From the moment the Nationals took the field on opening night, one thing was obvious: The 2020 season was going to be different. Really, really different. By the time it ended Sunday evening, perhaps some aspects of what took place out there were starting to feel normal. We got used to the sight of managers, coaches and umpires wearing masks. We got used to the

Nats blow out Mets in finale, Soto wins NL batting title (updated)

They took the field for the 60th and final time in 2020, an act many doubted would be possible back when this unprecedented baseball season began 10 weeks ago. Could they really complete a season, with regional travel, during a pandemic? There were some notable hiccups along the way, plenty of postponements, relocated road games and six doubleheaders. But today the Nationals did complete their

Game 60 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

No, the Nationals’ season finale doesn’t really mean anything in the big picture. They were eliminated from postseason contention earlier in the week. And the Mets were eliminated Saturday, so they don’t have anything to play for, either. But there are still a few things of note at stake when the two teams take the field today for the final time in 2020. The Nationals

Stevenson’s September surge is hard to ignore

There is no month on the baseball calendar more misleading than September. It happens every year: Somebody puts up big numbers during the season’s final month, convinces everyone he’s going to pick up where he left off the following spring and then never duplicates the feat. So take these stats with a healthy grain of salt, because it’s probably foolish to assume they will carry

Sánchez leads Nats to twinbill sweep in final start (updated)

Aníbal Sánchez will forever be linked with the Nationals’ 2019 title, not simply for his pitching performance but for the role he played in bringing the joy out of his teammates during a championship season that was as much a product of clubhouse chemistry as it was pure talent. Given the unprecedented circumstances of the 2020 season, it was tough for Sánchez and Co. to

Game 59 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

The Nationals are about to complete their sixth doubleheader of the season. That’s a lot of twinbills in a normal year, let alone a 60-game season. And they’ve done just fine on these long days of baseball. They entered today with one sweep and four splits. And after taking the opener from the Mets 4-3, they have a shot at another sweep and at worst

At long last, Nats choose continuity in manager’s office

For a decade and a half, the Nationals tried in vain to establish continuity in their manager’s office. But every two or three years, they found themselves searching for a new leader, vacillating between those with significant experience (Frank Robinson, Jim Riggleman, Davey Johnson, Dusty Baker) and those who were trying to make a name for themselves (Manny Acta, Matt Williams, Davey Martinez). In Martinez,

Kendrick weighing decision whether to return or retire

He hadn’t revealed this publicly before, but Howie Kendrick admitted Friday he fully intended to retire after the 2020 season. After a well-deserved victory lap on the heels of his World Series-winning home run, what more could the 37-year-old have needed to do on a baseball field? The time would’ve been right to say goodbye to the sport, head home to Arizona and enjoy life

Mets-Nats postponed, will play doubleheader Saturday

The Nationals’ scheduled game tonight against the Mets has been postponed due to rain that is forecast to fall throughout the evening and continue into Saturday morning. The two teams are now scheduled to play a doubleheader, each game lasting seven innings, on Saturday beginning at 3:05 p.m. The Mets remain mathematically alive for the final wild card berth in the National League, and though

Nats in agreement with Martinez on contract extension

For the first time since they arrived in town a decade and a half ago, the Nationals know they have a manager for the long haul. The organization and Davey Martinez agreed to a contract extension today, ensuring the manager who guided the franchise to its first World Series title in 2019 will remain in his position beyond 2021 and become the longest-tenured skipper in

Game 58 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

This hasn’t been the season Max Scherzer or the Nationals envisioned. All they can do now is try to finish strong and head into the winter with something of a positive taste left in their mouths. For Scherzer, the final opportunity to do that comes tonight against the Mets. Though his overall numbers (4-4, 3.67 ERA, 1.386 WHIP) are not up to his usual standards,

Will time missed cost Soto shot at NL MVP?

The Nationals have never had a batting champion since arriving in D.C. in 2005. They’ve had one player lead the National League in OPS. With four days to go in the 2020 season, they might just wind up with their first player who did both. Thanks to a strong couple of games to wrap up their just-completed series with the Phillies, Juan Soto heads into

Blowout loss to Phillies, Giants win eliminate Nats (updated)

Nobody has repeated as World Series champions in two decades. Suffice it to say, it’s a huge challenge trying to go back-to-back under normal circumstances. And the 2020 season has been the most abnormal season of our lives. We’ve accepted for some time the Nationals would not be repeating this year. Injuries, poor performances, a lack of depth and the understandable diminished motivation that was

Kieboom’s disappointing season ends with stint on IL

Despite hopes of a return before the season ends Sunday, Carter Kieboom’s hand injury proved too severe to take the chance, so the Nationals placed their rookie third baseman on the 10-day injured list this afternoon. Kieboom officially has a left wrist contusion after getting hit by a pitch from Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler during the sixth inning Monday night at Nationals Park. X-rays were

Game 56 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies (updated)

The Nationals opened this bizarre season 0-6 against the Phillies. Who’d have thought they’d have a chance to finish 4-6 against their division rivals? A win tonight would complete a four-game sweep, deal Philadelphia another blow to its postseason chances and keep the Nats’ minuscule chances alive for another day. A loss tonight doesn’t automatically eliminate the Nationals. One of the Cardinals, Brewers or Giants

More to ponder after a wild doubleheader sweep

Some more things to ponder after a long, wild, ultimately successful Tuesday afternoon and evening at the ballpark ... * Yadiel Hernández’s walk-off homer won it for the Nationals, but some unheralded bullpen work earlier made it possible in the first place. Even though he got a complete game from Austin Voth in the doubleheader opener, manager Davey Martinez said he was working with a

Hernández’s first career homer keeps the Nats alive (updated)

When he was sent down Friday, hitless in seven at-bats, Yadiel Hernández couldn’t help but wonder if he had just blown his first and only chance in the big leagues. His first call-up didn’t come until he was nearly 33. Would he even get a second one? “A lot of bad things ran through my head in that moment,” the rookie outfielder said tonight, Octavio

Game 55 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

Well, the Nationals remain mathematically alive. They’ve won three in a row, including the first two in this series against the Phillies, and they’ll try to pull off a doubleheader sweep here tonight and keep that dim flame from burning out. After Austin Voth tossed the first complete game of his career this afternoon, the Nats bullpen is as fresh as it could be. Which

What would it take for the Nationals to pull off a miracle?

If you’re one of those who likes to cling to faint hopes and won’t concede anything until it’s 100 percent guaranteed, you’re in luck. Because the Nationals, despite their ridiculously long odds, are still mathematically alive in the National League pennant race. And pretty much everything they needed to happen Monday night around the league actually happened. The evening began with the Nats having no

Nationals top Phillies, avoid elimination (updated)

The Nationals took the field tonight knowing it could be the last time they do so this season for an officially meaningful game. Though they’ve privately conceded they aren’t going to the playoffs for some time now, there was a chance they could actually be eliminated tonight, if they lost to the Phillies and the Reds beat the Brewers. Cincinnati did its part. But the

Barrett, Bourque placed on IL; Hernández, Espino join roster

Aaron Barrett’s latest return to the Nationals bullpen came to an abrupt halt due to another injury. And James Bourque’s first opportunity to pitch regularly in the big leagues has also been cut short due to injury. Barrett, who made national headlines last season when he pitched in the majors three years after breaking his arm while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, was placed on

Game 53 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

We have reached the final week of a most unusual regular season. Around these parts, that usually means a pennant race, a potential clincher for the Nationals and maybe a few days to rest guys up for the postseason. Not in 2020. Though the Nats are technically still alive, practically speaking they’re done. Their elimination number, if you’re wondering, is currently three, so the earliest

Nationals survive trying, joyless road portion of season

Eric Thames, only minutes removed from dropping the throw that sent the Nationals to an agonizing, 2-1 loss to the Marlins in the opener of Sunday’s doubleheader, was asked during his Zoom session with reporters how high the frustration level has become on the majors’ most disappointing team of 2020. His answer, which grew more and more exasperated with each sentence, revealed a lot more

Defense does in Scherzer in latest agonizing loss (updated)

If this wasn’t the epitome of the Nationals’ 2020 season, it’s tough to imagine a sequence that could define this agonizing campaign any better. Max Scherzer on the mound, his pitch count well into triple digits. The Marlins threatening to take a late lead. Manager Davey Martinez trusting his ace to get out of the jam over anyone out of his bullpen. And then a

Gomes catching Scherzer, Kendrick trying to make it back

Some quick-hit news and notes before the Nationals take the field in Miami for the start of today’s doubleheader against the Marlins ... * Yan Gomes is behind the plate for the opener, a bit of a surprise because Max Scherzer is on the mound. Scherzer typically pairs up with Kurt Suzuki; in fact, Suzuki caught all 10 of his previous starts this season. “Just

Game 51 lineups: Nats at Marlins

OK, it’s time for the second of three doubleheaders the Nationals have scheduled in a five-day span. Slowly but surely, they’re getting through this rough stretch and approaching the finish line of a difficult season. Davey Martinez decided to have Max Scherzer start this afternoon’s opener in Miami, thinking he can hopefully get six or even seven innings out of his ace and save his

With no minor leagues, Cavalli made most of alternate camp

Cade Cavalli could justifiably look at the summer of 2020 and be bitter he missed out on his first season of professional baseball. With no minor leagues and no opponents to face, the Nationals’ first-round pick could only spend the last two months working out every single day at the club’s alternate training site in Fredericksburg, pitching simulated games to the same group of hitters

Familiar record, unfamiliar season result for Nats (updated)

It’s impossible to look at the Nationals’ record following tonight’s 7-3 loss in Miami and not feel something. Yes, they’re now 19-31. That might make you laugh. It might make you cry. It might make you roll your eyes and wonder if the baseball gods have some kind of perverse sense of humor. “Just so you know,” Davey Martinez interjected tonight in his postgame Zoom

Freeman had elbow surgery, Elías pitching in Fredericksburg

Sam Freeman, one of the early bright spots in the Nationals bullpen during this unusual season, had Tommy John surgery one month ago, manager Davey Martinez confirmed today. Freeman last pitched Aug. 12 in New York, when he motioned for a trainer after feeling a “pop” in his left elbow. He was immediately removed from the game, and though the club’s initial diagnosis was a

Game 50 lineups: Nats at Marlins

Well, if you’re a fan of symmetry and symbolism, tonight’s game is really important for the Nationals. To lose, not to win. Because if they lose, their season record will be 19-31. Yep, same as it was after 50 games last season. The difference, of course, is that one year ago they had 112 games to turn everything around and this year they have 10

Fedde dazzles, lineup takes down Sánchez in 5-0 win (updated)

If there’s a primary goal for the Nationals during this final stretch of a disappointing season - beyond a miracle rally to reach the playoffs, of course - it’s to leave 2020 with a positive impression of anyone who has a chance to hold a prominent role in 2021. Someone like Erick Fedde, who hasn’t been able to make the most of his opportunity to

Stevenson, Taylor to share right field job for final stretch

With Adam Eaton out for the final two weeks of the season with a fractured index finger, the Nationals needed to figure out who’s going to start in right field the rest of the way. Their decision: Andrew Stevenson and Michael A. Taylor. Stevenson was recalled from the club’s alternate training site in Fredericksburg this afternoon, with fellow outfielder Yadiel Hernández optioned back down after

Game 48 lineups: Nats at Marlins

Who’s ready for a lot of baseball? I mean, a lot of baseball. Five games in three days this weekend in Miami, eight games in five days when you add the start of the Nationals’ upcoming series against the Phillies in D.C. It’s going to be quite a challenge, but at this point the Nats have nothing to lose. Might as well try to enjoy

Eaton was exactly who the Nationals needed him to be

We don’t know at this point if Adam Eaton has played his last game for the Nationals, and we won’t know for a while longer. The club will decide after the season whether to pick up the outfielder’s $10.5 million option for 2021 or take a $1.5 million buyout instead, making him a free agent. But there’s certainly a decent chance Eaton’s time with the

Eaton placed on IL with fractured finger

The Nationals lost another key member of their roster for the remainder of this shortened season today when they placed outfielder Adam Eaton on the 10-day injured list with a fractured left index finger. Eaton hurt himself trying to bunt with two outs and the bases loaded in the second inning of Wednesday’s 4-2 win at Tampa Bay. He remained in the game for two

Thursday morning Nats Q&A

Well, we’ve just about reached the home stretch of a most unusual, and most disappointing, season. This hasn’t played out how the Nationals hoped, not even close. They’re 18-29 with 13 games to go, so they’d have to win out just to finish with a winning record for the ninth consecutive year. That seems ... unlikely to happen. Plenty has happened, though. Most of it

As vets struggle, rookie Nats relievers making their case

If you’re looking for silver linings in this mostly disappointing baseball season, it’s not hard to find them in the Nationals bullpen. Just maybe not from the well-known names you were expecting when this season began two months ago. General manager Mike Rizzo built a relief corps that was supposed to be carried on the shoulders of three veterans with considerable late-inning experience: Daniel Hudson,

Nats trying to figure out pitching plan for doubleheaders

Though they haven’t finalized plans quite yet, the Nationals have a sense of how they hope to get through their upcoming stretch of eight games in five days. The likely answer: Wil Crowe, Ben Braymer and a lot of relievers. With three doubleheaders in five days (Friday and Sunday against the Marlins, Tuesday against the Phillies), the Nationals will need eight different starting pitchers. Given

Game 47 lineups: Nats at Rays

How do the Nationals avoid a repeat of Tuesday night’s lifeless, 6-1 loss to the Rays? They need to get a much better pitching performance and they need to hit. Obviously. On the mound, it’s up to Austin Voth to somehow make the leap into a guy who can actually get hitters out twice in a game. We know he can do it the first

Another short start for Sánchez, another loss for Nats (updated)

Much as he probably wishes he could give a couple of his struggling starters the season’s final two weeks off, the cold, hard truth is that Davey Martinez has no choice but to keep giving them the ball every five days. The Nationals’ schedule to close out this agonizing season - 15 games in 13 days, including an upcoming stretch of eight games in five

Rainey is latest Nats reliever to land on IL with flexor strain

Tanner Rainey, one of the Nationals’ brightest lights during a mostly dismal season, may not pitch again this season. Rainey, who already had been sidelined over the weekend with forearm soreness, was placed on the 10-day injured list today with a right flexor strain. Though manager Davey Martinez didn’t completely rule out the possibility of the reliever returning, with only 13 days remaining in this

Game 46 lineups: Nats at Rays (Rainey to IL)

The Nationals’ final road trip of 2020 begins tonight in St. Petersburg, Fla., where they’ll face the Rays in the first of a quick two-game series. It’s a rematch of last week’s two-gamer in D.C., both of those games won by the Nats. But the challenge may be greater this time. For one thing, the Nationals just lost their best reliever. Tanner Rainey has been

Nats’ final road trip of 2020 begins with another roster change

This one’s hard to believe, but it’s true: The Nationals today begin their final road trip of the season. With their first and only trek to Florida to face the Rays and Marlins, the Nats are wrapping up the most difficult part of their shortened schedule from a health-and-safety standpoint. They’ve managed to travel to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Atlanta so far and

Roster attrition leaves Nats in tough spot with two weeks to go

Though they don’t want to admit it publicly, the Nationals have reached the point in their season in which the playoffs are no longer a realistic goal. Sunday’s 8-4 loss to the Braves left them at 17-28, a whopping 10 games behind Atlanta in the National League East and five games behind the Giants for the NL’s eighth and final postseason berth. To finish .500,

Martinez leaves Scherzer in, pays the price in 8-4 loss (updated)

Max Scherzer expended a lot to get through five innings today against the toughest lineup he’s faced in 2020. Though the Nationals ace had some of the best pure stuff he’s had all season, the Braves wore him down (like they’ve done to so many opposing pitchers) and left him with a pitch count of 104 as he walked off the mound at the end

Rizzo “optimistic” about a new deal with Martinez

The Nationals and Davey Martinez have been in active discussions about a new contract, and general manager Mike Rizzo is “optimistic” a deal will be struck to keep his World Series-winning manager with the organization beyond the 2021 season. “We’ve been in conversations with his representation, and I feel optimistic that we will get something done,” Rizzo said today during a Zoom session with reporters

Game 45 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

When the 2020 regular season ends two weeks from today - How crazy is that? - and we try to find answers for what went wrong for the Nationals, it might be easy to point out the heartbreakers they lost to the Braves as especially low points. To be sure, there have been some really tough losses in there, a couple of blown saves by

After disastrous ninth, Nats find a way to win in 12th (updated)

They already played this game Thursday night. Seriously, tonight’s contest on South Capitol Street felt like a perfect carbon copy of the one that preceded it, the Nationals jumping out to an early five-run lead, their starter fading in the middle innings, their bullpen asked to hang on for dear life the rest of the way. It didn’t work out in the series opener against

For Hernández, difficult journey to majors was worth it

Baseball clubs sign 29-year-old Cuban defectors with the intention of playing them in the major leagues as soon as possible. The Nationals, though, knew they weren’t getting a sure thing when they signed Yadiel Hernández four years ago for the relatively benign sum of $200,000. The Nats liked the outfielder’s left-handed swing and hoped he might make it someday. But they weren’t touting him to

Game 43 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

After a difficult night at the ballpark, the Nationals return for the second game of this four-game weekend series against the Braves, hoping for better results this time. As always, they’ll have to find a way to keep Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman in the yard. The good news: Erick Fedde managed to keep Freeman in the yard last week when he faced him

Doolittle’s return halted by oblique injury

Sean Doolittle spent weeks trying to rediscover the form that made him one of the best relievers in baseball. And then just as he seemed to find it, the Nationals left-hander suffered an injury that could bring an abrupt end to his season. Doolittle injured his right oblique muscle throwing a pitch in the top of the ninth during Thursday’s 7-6 loss to the Braves,

Nats again can’t keep Braves in the yard in 7-6 loss (updated)

There appear to be two ways to beat the Braves, neither simple. You can try to outslug one of the most powerful lineups in baseball. Or you can try to keep Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman in the ballpark. Again, neither of these is a simple task, as the Nationals have painfully learned over the last week. And because they once again couldn’t keep

Martinez, Nats coaches to wear No. 21 in honor of Clemente

During his 16 seasons as a major league player, Davey Martinez wore five different jersey numbers: 1, 3, 14, 17 and 30. And during his decade-plus as a coach and manager, Martinez has worn No. 4. Tonight, when he steps out of the dugout at Nationals Park and lines up for the national anthem before their series opener against the Braves, he’ll finally have the

Game 42 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

How do you stop a team that just scored 29 runs last night? By sending your winless No. 5 starter with an 8.26 ERA to the mound, obviously. On paper, tonight’s matchup does not appear to favor the Nationals. Austin Voth is pitching, still seeking his first win in his eighth start of the season. And he’s facing a Braves lineup that just set a

What to make of the Nationals’ sudden resurgence

They fell to 12 games under .500, their low point in what to date had been a dismal season that was slipping away before their eyes. And then something inexplicable flipped the switch and they started winning and started looking like they were actually enjoying themselves again for the first time all year. It happened in late May 2019, and we know how that turned

Kendrick placed on IL with left hamstring strain

The Nationals have placed Howie Kendrick on the 10-day injured with a left hamstring strain, a decision that seemed more and more likely in recent days as the veteran hitter struggled to get himself in the lineup. Kendrick did not play in either of the Nats’ two wins over the Rays to begin the week after sitting out Sunday’s series finale against the Braves. He

Doolittle tapping into former delivery to return to peak form

Step by step, Sean Doolittle is rediscovering the form that made him one of baseball’s most effective relievers in recent seasons. And that’s in part because of the near-step he’s brought back to his delivery. After a summer of diminished velocity, gaudy stats and plenty of tinkering, Doolittle is finally starting to look like his old self again. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in

Nats outplay Rays again for fourth win in five (updated)

These are not the 2019 Nationals. Not in name and not in style of play. Most likely, they won’t finish the season like their 2019 version did, either. But for now, that’s not worth stressing over. Instead, take a step back and just appreciate what this ever-changing 2020 Nationals club is now doing. They don’t have the star power - or the offensive power -

Injury updates on Soto, Kendrick, García, Bacus

Juan Soto is back in the Nationals lineup tonight, a welcome relief from a group that missed its best hitter for five games. But the club is still being cautious with Soto, who will be restricted to designated hitter duties tonight against the Rays while recovering from a sore left elbow. “We kind of want to keep him from throwing right now,” manager Davey Martinez

Game 41 lineups: Nats vs. Rays

The 2020 regular season, believe it or not, is now two-thirds complete. There are only 20 games left for the Nationals to try to climb their way back into the expanded postseason, and the odds remain awfully slim. At 15-25, they’re currently five games behind the .500 Marlins and Giants for the eighth and final berth in the National League field. To get to .500,

Despite taking a licking, Suzuki keeps on ticking

Kurt Suzuki has caught more than 1,400 games over 14 major league seasons, so he knows what he’s getting himself into every time he squats behind the plate. It’s going to be painful at times, and there’s nothing he can do about that. But it does seem like the 2020 season has been exceptionally painful for the Nationals catcher, who on a nightly basis has

Scherzer, makeshift lineup come together to beat Rays (updated)

After a grueling, 11-game road trip that for all practical purposes quashed hopes of October baseball around here, the Nationals returned home this evening just needing to feel good about themselves for a change. A makeshift lineup that was missing four key regulars from recent weeks due to nagging injuries only made the task more challenging against a Rays club that came into the day

Game 40 lineups: Nats vs. Rays (García scratched)

After what felt like the longest road trip ever - but in reality was only 10 days and 11 games - the Nationals return home tonight to open a five-game homestand. And they’re facing stiff competition right out of the gate in the exceptional Rays. Owners of the American League’s best record at 28-13, Tampa Bay has quietly put together an outstanding team, even if

Rizzo is latest unusual ejection for Nats in unusual year

Twenty-four hours later, Nationals manager Davey Martinez still isn’t entirely sure what happened between general manager Mike Rizzo and the umpiring crew during Sunday’s series finale in Atlanta. “I’m actually still a little confused about the whole deal,” Martinez said during his Zoom session with reporters before tonight’s series opener against the Rays. “I didn’t realize, honestly. I didn’t realize he got thrown out.” Rizzo

More on the Nationals’ newsy Saturday

It turned into quite a newsy Saturday down in Atlanta. And that was before the Nationals went out and beat the Braves for the second night in a row, winning 10-4 despite the lack of Juan Soto in the lineup and a 3 2/3-inning start from Erick Fedde. Let’s run back through some of the most important developments of the day ... * Mike Rizzo’s

Nats find unconventional formula to beat Braves again

At this point, it’s clear the Nationals aren’t going to win ballgames in 2020 in the manner we’ve all been accustomed to for the better part of the last decade. This current team can’t win on the broad shoulders of an elite rotation, nor does it currently have the power bats to outslug a lineup like the Braves possess. Tonight, the Nats proved they can

Kieboom returns to play every day, Difo dropped from roster

Their lineup ravaged by a recent spate of injuries, the Nationals recalled Carter Kieboom from their alternate training camp today, plugged their struggling prospect into tonight’s lineup against the Braves and declared him their starting third baseman for the rest of this abridged season. Kieboom, who had been optioned to the camp in Fredericksburg on Aug. 26, was already in Atlanta as part of the

Game 38 lineups: Nats at Braves (Kieboom recalled)

Friday’s doubleheader took a lot out of the Nationals, who over the course of 14 innings of baseball used eight pitchers, gave up 16 runs on 18 hits and eight walks, allowed seven homers and threw 259 pitches. So, what do they have left in the tank for tonight’s game in Atlanta? Well, they’ve got Erick Fedde starting, and they’ve got to hope he can

Rizzo gets three-year extension to remain GM through 2023

As always, the Lerner family made Mike Rizzo wait. And as always, the Nationals owners ultimately kept their commitment to the man who built their baseball organization from laughingstock to World Series champion. The Nationals announced a contract extension with Rizzo today, locking up their president of baseball operations and general manager only a month before his current deal was set to expire. Terms were

Another Voth start, another loss for reeling Nats (updated)

Major League Baseball games are not supposed to be quite so predictable. But when you put Austin Voth on the mound against a tough Braves lineup, in the opener of a doubleheader in Atlanta 24 hours after the bullpen was burned up in an extra-inning game in Philadelphia, and then pull Juan Soto out of a Nationals lineup that simply can’t afford to lose its

First step toward better outfield defense: Better first steps

Defensive metrics always must be taken with a grain of salt, especially when using them to evaluate only 35 games. But even in small doses, they can shed some insight into a player and a team’s performance in the field. The numbers right now say the Nationals have the worst defensive outfield in the majors, and it’s across the board. Adam Eaton, with -4 Defensive

Game 36 lineups: Nats at Braves (Soto scratched)

If you thought the first two legs of the Nationals’ road trip were tough, look at what they still must contend with now to wrap up this long and painful trek up and down the East Coast. After losing two of three in Boston and all four in Philadelphia, they now have four games in three days in Atlanta, starting with today’s doubleheader at Truist

Rehashing a painful top of the 10th in Nats’ latest loss

There’s a lot to unpack from the Thursday’s 6-5 loss in Philadelphia, and hopefully I touched on a lot of it in the game story. Byron Kerr also has much more on a mostly lights-out performance by the Nationals bullpen that somehow still included a blown save and a loss. But this morning I wanted to go back and re-examine the top of the 10th,

Nats falter late, lose in extras to get swept in Philly (updated)

A lot of things have to go right for the Nationals to win a ballgame right now. They need quality starting pitching and some timely hitting. And if they can’t get the former, they need more of the latter. And then even if they do all that and take a lead into the late innings, they still need their bullpen to finish it off. That

Voth, Crowe to start Friday’s doubleheader in Atlanta

With a doubleheader on tap Friday in Atlanta and limited pitching options at his disposal, Nationals manager Davey Martinez plans to give Austin Voth another start. Voth will take the mound for the 4:05 p.m. opener of Friday’s doubleheader against the Braves, said Martinez, who added right-hander Wil Crowe will be called up from the club’s alternate training site in Fredericksburg to start the nightcap

Game 35 lineups: Nats at Phillies

If you thought this road trip was brutal enough already for the fading Nationals, consider what still awaits: four games in three days against the Braves, starting with Friday’s doubleheader in unincorporated Atlanta. So given what’s still to come, today’s series finale in Philadelphia would sure be a nice game to win, wouldn’t it? It’s going to take a complete reversal of recent events for

Nationals shut out again, lose fifth straight (updated)

The Nationals knew their 2020 lineup wasn’t going to resemble their 2019 championship bunch. Not with Anthony Rendon moving to Anaheim and Ryan Zimmerman watching this season at home with his growing family. But Davey Martinez and Mike Rizzo firmly believed this lineup was capable of producing in different ways. They would be able to manufacture runs. Make contact. Run a bit. Drive in teammates

Strasburg rehabbing at home, Guerra lands on IL

Stephen Strasburg is rehabbing at his Virginia home one week following carpal tunnel surgery on his right wrist, but the Nationals right-hander won’t be cleared to throw “for a while,” according to manager Davey Martinez. Strasburg had surgery last Wednesday in Baltimore to repair the carpal tunnel neuritis that had developed in his throwing hand. Though club officials never officially declared him out for the

Game 34 lineups: Nats at Phillies

Another day, another chance for the Nationals to flip the script and beat the Phillies, something they’ve been unable to do in four tries so far this season. None of those previous four games, however, had Max Scherzer on the mound. Tonight’s does. Scherzer gets the ball on the heels of a dominant outing at Fenway Park last Friday, when he allowed one run over

Same old, same old for Nats in 6-0 loss to Phillies (updated)

It would be one thing if the Nationals were engaged in nip-and-tuck, well-played ballgames every night and just couldn’t find a way to emerge on top. That’s not what’s happening right now. The Nats aren’t even giving themselves a reasonable chance, digging themselves into insurmountable holes and not possessing the kind of lineup capable of making that much ground back up. Add tonight’s 6-0 thumping

Can the Nats better maximize Turner and Soto’s production?

Trea Turner and Juan Soto are hitting as well as humanly possible right now. Of that, there’s no debate. They enter tonight’s game against the Phillies ranking first and second in the majors in batting average, first and fourth in OPS. They’re also hitting first and second in the Nationals lineup, a decision manager Davey Martinez made recently to give Soto as many plate appearances

Game 33 lineups: Nats at Phillies

As we’ve seen, there are two major issues plaguing the Nationals right now: starting pitchers who dig them into early holes and a lineup that isn’t consistently producing beyond Trea Turner and Juan Soto. Tonight, we’ll find out if they can reverse both trends and emerge victorious in Philadelphia. The good news: Patrick Corbin has been pitching well, and he pitched well against these same

With two positive steps forward, Doolittle can smile again

If you’re looking for silver linings from Nationals losses - and lord knows that’s fast becoming a nightly pursuit - Sean Doolittle is your man. The left-hander’s return from a two-week stint in Fredericksburg to rehab his knee and get his mechanics back in order has gotten off to an especially encouraging start. Sunday’s relief appearance in Boston - four batters faced, two outs recorded,

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