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Another Schwarber walk-off blast lifts Nats to victory (updated)

The Nationals have gotten used to this by now, looking up at the scoreboard and staring at a string of zeros, not only in their column but next to the opponent’s name as well. They’d already been involved in four games that were scoreless entering the sixth, not to mention three games that finished 1-0. (They won two of those, against the Diamondbacks and Cardinals,

Soto, Strasburg still need to pass throwing tests before return

The Nationals are getting Jon Lester back from the injured list tonight. They’ll have to wait a while longer to get Juan Soto and Stephen Strasburg. Though both superstars are now eligible to come off the 10-day IL, neither has been able to pass the throwing tests necessary to be activated. Soto, out since April 20 with a left shoulder strain, did begin some light

Game 22 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins (Lester to start)

The Nationals signed Jon Lester over the winter to be a big part of their rotation, counting on the veteran left-hander to make 30 starts and win big games for them. Tonight, he finally makes his D.C. debut. Lester, the last of nine Nats players still on the COVID-19 injured list, has been activated and will start tonight’s series opener against the Marlins. It took

Should the Nats rotation positives outweigh the negatives?

What are we to make of the Nationals rotation as the season’s first month comes to a close? There’s ample reason for serious concern, yet there’s also not-so-insignificant reason to be encouraged. The bad: Nationals starters currently own a 5.18 ERA, which ranks 28th out of 30 major league clubs. Their 1.323 WHIP is slightly better but still ranks a mere 22nd. Four times this

Thursday morning Nats Q&A

Well, it’s been an eventful April for the Nationals, has it not? A COVID-19 outbreak. Injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Juan Soto. Some truly awful starts by a supposedly elite rotation. Some really ugly swings by Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber. But then there have been some spectacular starts by Max Scherzer, Joe Ross and Erick Fedde. Six homers from Trea Turner. A Ryan Zimmerman

Nats bounce back with comfortable win over Jays (updated)

If there has been a consistent theme to a mostly disappointing April for the Nationals, it has been the all-or-nothing nature of most ballgames. There have been very few run-of-the-mill, back-and-forth contests. Most have either been comfortable wins or blowout losses. The lineup either explodes for a big night or is completely shut down. The starting pitcher either looks fantastic or gets blasted. In the

Lester still waiting for decision, Soto still waiting to throw

The Nationals haven’t yet figured out their pitching plans for the weekend. And it doesn’t appear they will until they’ve decided if Jon Lester truly is ready to make his long-awaited season debut. Lester, who opened the season on the COVID-19 injured list, has made three rehab starts at the club’s alternate training site in Fredericksburg. On Sunday, he threw 90 pitches over six innings,

Game 21 lineups: Nats vs. Blue Jays in Dunedin

The Nationals need to generate offense any way they can right now. How do they do that, given the resources currently available to them? They have to stick with some of their struggling regulars and sprinkle in some backups who create more favorable matchups. Tonight, with left-hander Steven Matz on the mound for the Blue Jays, that means an emphasis on right-handed hitters. Manager Davey

Bell recalls struggles in minors to help battle current slump

It’s no secret that the Nationals need Josh Bell to have a good year in order to reach the levels of success they aspire for this season. That’s what general manager Mike Rizzo was banking on when he acquired the slugging first baseman from the Pirates for two pitching prospects on Christmas Eve, the first big move of the offseason. And after he tore through

Nats live and die by longball in 9-5 loss to Blue Jays (updated)

If not for the date on the calendar, you would have thought Tuesday night’s game was a late Grapefruit League matchup between the Nationals and Blue Jays. A spring training stadium only filled with 1,471 fans under a clear Florida night sky. Plenty of hard-hit balls and loud outs. Balls lost in the Florida breeze and the lack of major league lighting. And a handful

Martinez on Turner’s forearm, constructing lineup with DH

The Nationals breathed a heavy sigh of relief earlier today when manager Davey Martinez spoke to Trea Turner and the shortstop told him that he was feeling well enough to play tonight. Turner was struck by a pitch in his left forearm during Sunday’s series finale against the Mets at Citi Field and departed the contest early, adding yet another name to the long list

Game 20 lineups: Nats at Blue Jays

Earlier this month, former Nationals catcher Jonathan Lucroy compared his time in D.C. to the storyline of the movie “The Replacements,” in which Keanu Reeves leads a group of replacement players on the fictional Washington Sentinels to the playoffs in their fictional football league. (Of course, that movie was loosely based on the 1987 Washington Football Team replacements who won three games and helped the

Slumping at the plate, Schwarber is still performing in the field

Kyle Schwarber has not lived up to the standard expected of him through his first two weeks on the Nationals’ active roster, and he’d be the first to admit that. The 28-year-old outfielder is batting an ice-cold .192 (10-for-52) with one homer, three RBIs, 18 strikeouts and only two walks in 13 games since coming off the COVID-19 injured list. There have been some hard-hit

How do Nats find ways to score runs while Soto’s out?

You can talk about the reasons the Nationals are currently 8-11 and point out that Juan Soto and Stephen Strasburg are currently on the injured list, that nobody in their rotation outside of Max Scherzer owns an ERA under 4.64 or that nine members of the opening day roster were in quarantine on opening day. And all of those are indeed among the reasons the

Corbin’s struggles, Nats’ mistakes lead to another loss (updated)

The final tally - Mets 4, Nationals 0 - suggested a one-sided game. It suggested yet another rough start for Patrick Corbin and yet another lifeless afternoon at the plate for a Nats lineup that has been shut out five times in 19 games to begin the season. In reality, this had a chance to be a far more competitive ballgame, perhaps even a victory

Nats hope healthy Zimmerman doesn’t go cold after week off

It’s not uncommon for Ryan Zimmerman to go an entire week without appearing in a major league game. This is a player, after all, who has dealt with every manner of injury throughout his 16-year career, and has required time off both in the short and long term to get his body right. But never before has Zimmerman missed an entire week while on the

Game 19 lineups: Nats at Mets

Despite what they might try to insist, managers are a superstitious lot. When something works one day, they tend to not want to change it up the next day. So when the Nationals scored a season-high seven runs Saturday with a new-look lineup, you shouldn’t be surprised to see Davey Martinez go right back to the same lineup for today’s series finale in New York.

Hernandez makes most of rare start, makes case for more

Yadiel Hernandez has two stints on the Nationals roster already this season, once because of the club’s end-of-spring COVID-19 outbreak and once because of Juan Soto’s shoulder strain. He entered Saturday having taken 11 plate appearances in eight games, starting only one of them. So what did the 33-year-old rookie outfielder think when he learned he not only was in Saturday’s lineup against the Mets,

Early offense, Ross’ return to form produce blowout win (updated)

Davey Martinez sat in a portion of the visitors’ clubhouse at Citi Field designated for Zoom press conferences around 1:30 p.m. today and expressed a profound desire for his Nationals to do something in particular in their upcoming game against the Mets. “I think we need to start scoring earlier in the game,” the Nats manager said. “We’ve been scoring runs late. We need to

Seeking offensive spark, Martinez trying out new look at top

Few right now would envy Davey Martinez, whose challenge to fill out a nightly lineup card is about as daunting as it’s been at any point in his four seasons as Nationals manager. Juan Soto is on the injured list. Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber are slumping. And Anthony Rendon is in Anaheim (albeit injured himself). So on the heels of a 6-0 loss to

Game 18 lineups: Nats at Mets

The Nationals had no chance last night against Jacob deGrom. They can only hope to have a better opportunity for success today against Marcus Stroman. Stroman doesn’t have nearly deGrom’s track record, but he’s been no less effective to begin the season. The right-hander, who opted out of the 2020 campaign, is 3-0 with an 0.90 ERA, having shut down the Phillies twice and the

With Soto out, Bell and Schwarber’s slumps are magnified

Josh Bell has been late on fastballs since the slugger made his delayed season debut nearly two weeks ago. He’s been trying to catch up ever since, and Friday night’s game in New York did nothing to help that process along. Facing Jacob deGrom and his 100 mph fastball all night, Bell had no chance. He saw a total of 11 pitches in three at-bats,

Nationals helpless against brilliant deGrom (updated)

The Nationals know a thing or two about brilliant pitching performances. This is the franchise, after all, that has seen Max Scherzer throw two no-hitters and strike out 20 batters in another game, Stephen Strasburg strike out 14 in his major league debut and Jordan Zimmermann hold the Marlins hitless on the final day of the regular season. It takes a lot to impress these

Nats’ four-man rotation creates crowded bullpen

The Nationals are proceeding for now with a four-man rotation, taking advantage of three scheduled off-days in the span of a week. But they’re still keeping their current No. 5 starter, plus another starting prospect, on the pitching staff as relievers for this weekend’s series against the Mets. With Erick Fedde, Joe Ross and Patrick Corbin scheduled to start the next three days at Citi

Game 17 lineups: Nats at Mets

The 2021 season was supposed to begin with a three-game showdown between the Nationals and Mets, but of course that entire series in D.C. was postponed following the Nats’ COVID-19 outbreak. So the first of 19 meetings between the division rivals takes place tonight at Citi Field in the opener of a three-game weekend series. Just as they would’ve on opening day, the Nationals will

Bullpen proving to be Nats’ most reliable unit early in season

It’s been a while since the Nationals opened a season with a reliable bullpen. How long? Try five years. Way back in 2016, if anyone can remember ancient history, Dusty Baker’s relief corps enjoyed a dominant April. That group ended the season’s opening month with a 2.53 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, led by Jonathan Papelbon’s eight saves, Shawn Kelley’s 0.00 ERA and contributions from the

Under the circumstances, Nats’ 7-9 start is worthy of praise

To suggest the Nationals’ season to date has been anything but a disappointment would be inaccurate and a far too rosy view of the situation. Between injuries, pitching blowups, struggling regulars and some really ugly games, there have been a lot of negative developments already in the last 2 1/2 weeks. And yet, when you consider all that has befallen this team in such a

Scherzer and bullpen combine for 1-0 shutout of Cards (updated)

Max Scherzer still has it, thank you very much. And the Nationals bullpen still has some intestinal fortitude, in case you were wondering. On a cold, windy late afternoon in which their offense asked them to make one early run hold up, Scherzer and three Nats relievers did just that, eking out a 1-0 victory over the Cardinals by the skin of their teeth to

Soto stays positive, Strasburg is throwing, weekend rotation set

Juan Soto can’t pinpoint any precise moment when he thinks he hurt his left shoulder. It just started bothering him in recent days, especially when throwing, so he let the Nationals training staff know and they had him undergo an MRI on Tuesday morning. Little could the 22-year-old slugger have imagined he’d wind up on the 10-day injured list several hours later with a diagnosed

Game 16 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

After everything that’s happened in the last 48 hours, would you believe the Nationals have a chance today to win their season series against the Cardinals? Yep, they enter this afternoon’s finale at Nationals Park with a 3-2 record against St. Louis over the last week, and a win in this one would wrap it up. At worst, they’ll split the six-game season series. (Side

Nats prepare to proceed for a while without Soto in lineup

Uplifting as the Nationals’ 3-2 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday night was, it could not erase the fact Juan Soto is now on the injured list and a ballclub already dealing with more issues than it ever thought possible in late April has another one to contend with. The transaction to place Soto on the 10-day IL with a left shoulder strain caught everyone

Nats emerge victorious at end of eventful evening (updated)

Davey Martinez and his players have been insisting for several days now that the mood inside the Nationals clubhouse remains upbeat, that nobody is feeling a sense of dread two weeks into a season that has seen all manner of calamity befall this team. From a roster-ravaging COVID-19 outbreak to an ineffective string of pitching performances to a lineup that has been hit-or-miss to yet

Soto surprisingly lands on IL with shoulder strain

A Nationals club already beset with major pitching issues now has a major lineup problem: Juan Soto is injured. The Nats placed Soto on the 10-day injured list this evening with a left shoulder strain, an out-of-nowhere announcement less than an hour before they face the Cardinals on South Capitol Street, one that leaves this 5-9 club in further disarray at a moment when it

Nats promote Fuentes, still figuring out long-term pitching plan

Desperate for fresh arms who could help them navigate their way through a week that has seen three starters get knocked out early, the Nationals made another roster move today while continuing to map out a pitching plan for the weekend and beyond. The Nats promoted Steven Fuentes from their alternate training site in Fredericksburg, summoning the 23-year-old right-hander now in case he’s needed during

Game 15 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals (updated)

Well, this is what it has come to: The Nationals tonight desperately need a quality start from Patrick Corbin, who has yet to come close to producing such a performance in 2021 (and often didn’t do it in 2020, for that matter). In 13 starts since the 2019 postseason, Corbin has made it through six or more innings allowing three or fewer earned runs only

As he drops in lineup, Robles rediscovering old form in outfield

Maybe it was the diving catch in deep left-center after a long run from his position in the middle of the outfield. Maybe it was the 270-yard bullseye he hit on the fly from the base of the center field wall to second base to nab a greedy runner. Whatever moment you choose, chances are you’ve at some point in the last two weeks watched

Ross blasted for 10 runs, adding to rotation woes (updated)

If the Nationals are going to survive with Stephen Strasburg on the injured list, Patrick Corbin a mess and Jon Lester still building his arm up at the alternate training site in Fredericksburg, they’re going to have to rely on the remaining members of their rotation not only to pitch effectively but to at times exceed expectations. For two starts, that’s exactly what they got

On Bell’s timing, Avilán’s surgery and Nats’ vaccine goal

Josh Bell, maybe more than just about any big-name hitter in the majors, depends on proper timing at the plate to be successful. The big slugger doesn’t have the short, compact swing of an Anthony Rendon. His is a long swing with long arms that, when in sync, produces explosive results but otherwise can produce a lot of whiffs. When the Nationals first baseman departed

Game 14 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

Joe Ross has been probably the most positive development for the Nationals so far this young season. The right-hander, who won the fifth starter’s job in spring training after opting out of the 2020 campaign, has been outstanding in each of his first two outings and has yet to allow a run in 11 innings. It’s everything the Nats could’ve hoped for and more from

The positives and the negatives after two weeks

The Nationals’ 2021 season is only two weeks old, but boy does it feel like a lot has happened already or what? It’s been an eventful 13 days since they took the field to face the Braves after seeing their first four scheduled games of the year postponed due to their COVID-19 outbreak. Prominent players have gone on the injured list, prominent players have come

Lineup goes quiet as Nationals drop series finale (updated)

The day began with aggravating - though not terribly shocking, if you’ve been paying attention - news. Stephen Strasburg was going back on the injured list, this time with right shoulder inflammation, and the $245 million pitcher would not be making his scheduled start against the Diamondbacks. Rarely in the past have the Nationals not suffered as a result of a Strasburg IL stint, and

Nationals again left to solve rotation without Strasburg

Anytime during his 11-year career Stephen Strasburg has looked as bad as he did Tuesday night in St. Louis, when he was rocked for eight runs in five innings with diminished velocity, erratic command and poor body language, the right-hander has proven either to be injured or tipping his pitches. Turns out he was injured after all. The Nationals placed Strasburg on the 10-day injured

Game 13 lineups: Nats vs. Diamondbacks (Strasburg to IL)

The Nationals would like to win today’s series finale against the Diamondbacks, no question. If they do, they’d have taken three of four over the weekend and five of seven over the last week, a nice bounceback since that ragged 1-5 start to the season. But truth be told, there’s a bigger story going on right now that supersedes anything: Stephen Strasburg is injured. Despite

Injuries in ‘pen could create chances for Clay, McGowin

Back when the Nationals broke spring training and headed north, the bullpen looked like a definite strength. The addition of closer Brad Hand set the Nats up for a lockdown back end, and guys like Wander Suero and Kyle Finnegan backed up the high-leverage relievers with the potential to pitch multiple innings in middle relief. Now, barely two weeks into the season, the bullpen is

Fedde fans nine over five frames, Nats win second in row (updated)

Erick Fedde has struggled through outings where he couldn’t seem to harness any confidence. He’d get behind hitters, have to throw a hittable fastball and pay the price. But in the early going of Saturday’s start against the Diamondbacks, he got the feel for his changeup and used it masterfully. He also mixed his pitches to keep Arizona hitters off-balance and got on a roll.

Harrison dealing with stiff back, Avilán has torn elbow ligament

Josh Harrison, arguably the hottest Nationals hitter, is out of the starting lineup for this afternoon’s game against the Diamondbacks because he’s dealing with some back stiffness. Manager Davey Martinez said Harrison, who is slashing .556/.600/.778 with a homer and five RBIs in five games since being activated off the COVID-19-related injured list earlier this week, reported a stiff back after Friday night’s game, leading

Game 12 lineups: Nats vs. Diamondbacks

Today’s matchup pits two pitchers coming off their best performances of the young season, and both Erick Fedde of the Nationals and Luke Weaver of the Diamondbacks will be hoping to continue their success. At stake for the Nationals: A win today will give them consecutive victories for the first time this season. On the heels of another dominant effort by Max Scherzer on Friday

Another look at the Schwarbomb, by the numbers

If you walk around the Navy Yard this morning, you might still feel the reverberations from Kyle Schwarber’s walk-off homer Friday night. That bottom-of-the-ninth blast, which landed on the concourse beyond the second deck in right field, made for as exciting a finish as Nationals Park has witnessed in a while. Before the Nationals and Diamondbacks get back at it this afternoon, let’s take one

Schwarber’s walk-off bomb sends Nats to victory (updated)

Max Scherzer gave the Nationals exactly what they needed, reminding everyone this team still is built on the broad shoulders of a rotation that may be showing cracks in some spots but remains rock-solid at the very top. Great starting pitching, however, can’t win a ballgame all by itself. Somebody’s got to score a run at some point. Which the Nats finally did in the

Corbin still searching, Lester still building, Avilán lands on IL

Davey Martinez stayed up late Thursday night, stayed at Nationals Park til 12:30 a.m., went home and then stayed up until 2 a.m. pondering the state of his team, specifically his pitching staff. The Nationals manager was simultaneously trying to figure out what’s going on with Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg and how to get both veteran starters back into a recognizable form while also

Game 11 lineups: Nats vs. Diamondbacks

The Nationals have slogged their way through a few clunkers in the last week. The good news: They’ve bounced back in each case to play well the following day and win. So perhaps that portends better things tonight when they face the Diamondbacks and try to erase all memory of Thursday night’s fiasco. It starts, of course, with Max Scherzer, who is desperately needed tonight

Friday morning Nats Q&A

It’s been far too long since we’ve done one of these. But now that we’re 10 games into the season, with no shortage of topics to discuss, it seems like a good time open up the phone lines and hear what you have to say about the Nationals and their not-so-ideal start to the 2021 campaign. What’s happened so far? Well, there was the COVID-19

Another ragged start by Corbin leaves Nats in a lurch (updated)

Once was perhaps cause for concern but potentially forgivable. Twice is cause for alarm and potentially disastrous for a Nationals club that is built to win behind a dominant rotation but has now seen two of its top three starters get rocked in the last week, one of them twice. Stephen Strasburg, for the moment, isn’t the Nats’ greatest concern. Patrick Corbin is after another

Cabrera excited to “come back home” to D.C. with D-backs

When Asdrúbal Cabrera was picked up by the Nationals in early August 2019, he figured he’d finish out the season in D.C. and then probably call it a career. “I told my family: Probably this is going to be my last three months,” the veteran infielder said today during a Zoom session with reporters. “I’m just going to try to have fun here and see

Game 10 lineups: Nats vs. Diamondbacks

After an eventful road trip, the Nationals are back home tonight and will be here each of the next seven days. First up, it’s a four-game weekend series with the Diamondbacks. Then it’s three more with the Cardinals. And with capacity restrictions eased up for this homestand, there should be roughly 10,000 fans in the park now, which will be much appreciated by everyone. Tonight’s

Nats survived roller coaster to begin season, now can settle in

The Nationals flew home from St. Louis on Wednesday night, owners of a 3-6 record. It’s not a record anyone is going to brag about, nor should it be, but neither is it a record anyone should be afraid to acknowledge. Given all they’ve been through already during a roller coaster couple of weeks to begin the season, 3-6 hardly feels like a disaster. The

Nats ride Ross’ zeros, Zimmerman’s homer to victory (updated)

Nine games into a season that already has featured a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows, the Nationals have plenty of questions that still need answering, particularly within a rotation that was built to carry this team. Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin did not look good during this just-completed road trip. Jon Lester is still trying to build his arm back up after landing

Nats go with Turner-Soto combo atop lineup for first time in 2021

Davey Martinez has mentioned more than once his interest in batting Juan Soto second at times, and his interest in batting Victor Robles ninth at times. For today’s series finale in St. Louis, the Nationals manager decided to try out both in those spots. With an early-afternoon matchup against Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright, Martinez wanted to get his two best hitters as many at-bats as

Game 9 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

As bad as things went Tuesday night in St. Louis, the Nationals still woke up this morning with a chance to win the series and come home with a 3-6 record in spite of everything that’s happened to this team. Maybe it’s grasping at straws, but it feels like a win today would go a long way toward boosting everybody’s mood. To pull it off,

Harrison glad to be active, glad to be an everyday player

Josh Harrison had been through this before. Sort of. Upon signing with the Nationals shortly after opening day in 2020, the veteran utility man had to wait several days for his intake screening test - a test he says initially was lost - to be processed before he could actually join his new team. “I had to stay in my room a few extra days

Questions about Strasburg abound in blowout loss (updated)

The red flags appeared to be there right from the get-go. Stephen Strasburg’s first pitch of the night was a 91 mph fastball. There were more of them throughout a first inning that saw one ball leave the yard, then plenty more in the tortured innings that followed. Strasburg clearly didn’t seem to feel right. That seemed obvious based on the numbers - eight runs

Lester to throw simulated game, Harris not on mound yet

The Nationals’ lineup and bench are now complete with Monday’s activation of Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Harrison. The Nationals pitching staff, however, is still not at full strength and won’t be until two veterans - Jon Lester and Will Harris - are ready to make their season debuts. Each is making progress toward that goal, but it appears each still needs some more

Game 8 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

If it worked last night, might as well see if it works again tonight, right? The Nationals liked what they got from their finally full-strength lineup in the opener of their series in St. Louis, so manager Davey Martinez is sticking with the same one through seven hitters in tonight’s game at Busch Stadium. The only change among position players: Alex Avila is behind the

On Fedde’s turnaround, Castro’s RBIs and Hand’s pitch count

The 2021 debuts of Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Harrison, and the effect they had on the Nationals lineup, were the dominant storyline to Monday night’s game. But this 5-2 victory was made possible by several other players and several other developments worth exploring a bit deeper ... * Fedde’s 180 After Erick Fedde was rocked by the Braves in his season debut five

Newly activated regulars deliver late to end skid (updated)

It was appropriate - probably wise - to temper expectations when the Nationals emerged from visitors’ dugout tonight in St. Louis and for the first time in 2021 had their entire lineup active. As much as everyone hoped Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Harrison would make an immediate impact, logic suggested it was too much to expect in their first game of the season

All Nats personnel cleared, most were vaccinated today

Josh Bell tried to hit miniature Wiffle balls coming at him in all sorts of directions from a pitching machine. Kyle Schwarber used a virtual reality mask to take swings against simulated pitches only he could see. Both did whatever they could to follow their Nationals teammates through the season’s first week while stuck at home in quarantine. “It wasn’t ideal,” Schwarber said. “But you

Game 7 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

For the first time in 2021, the Nationals will field their full starting lineup. Now it’s up to that reinforced unit to actually produce and help end a five-game skid. Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Harrison all were activated from the COVID-19-related injury list today and all three are in manager Davey Martinez’s lineup for the series opener against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Bell, Schwarber and Harrison activated, Lucroy designated

The Nationals activated Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Harrison from the COVID-19-related injured list and will have all three veterans available for tonight’s series opener in St. Louis. Bell, Schwarber and Harrison were cleared to return today after completing their league- and city-mandated protocols. All had been quarantined since mid-to-late last week after either testing positive for COVID-19 or being deemed close contacts to

Despite delay, Hand encouraged by Nationals debut

When Brad Hand signed with the Nationals and envisioned his first appearance with his new club, the veteran reliever probably pictured himself trotting in from the bullpen at Nationals Park in the season’s opening series against the Mets, looking to close out a one-run game. But pitching the eighth inning with his team trailing by three runs at Dodger Stadium, in the sixth game of

Scherzer great, lineup not great as Nats shut out again (updated)

One week into a season that didn’t start when they expected and didn’t include the roster they expected, the Nationals have established a fairly common daily narrative. And not an uplifting one. The typical game has played out like this: An impressive outing by the starter is squandered by a lack of offense (especially a lack of power), with some shaky fundamentals and maybe a

Three players could be in St. Louis, but Lester needs more time

The Nationals are hoping their four remaining quarantined players will be cleared by Monday, and there’s a chance Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Harrison could be with the club for the start of their three-game series in St. Louis, though Jon Lester is going to need more time to build his arm back up before he pitches in a big league game. “Until we

Game 6 lineups: Nats at Dodgers

It’s hard to call a ballgame on April 11 a “must-win,” but here we are. The Nationals, having dropped four in a row since their walk-off win on opening day, kind of really need to find a way to emerge from Los Angeles with a victory this afternoon. Not that it would doom their season, but another loss to complete a sweep would leave them

For now, trio of catchers is fine with Martinez

By the time he arrived in the major leagues with the Cubs in 1986, Davey Martinez was playing on teams that had transformed their benches, ditching the traditional third catcher for a more versatile player or an extra bullpen arm. But for a couple of generations, most clubs carried three catchers on what was then a 25-man roster. Most times, one backstop was a bat-first

Corbin struggles in delayed debut, Nats fall to Dodgers (updated)

Patrick Corbin talked about the benefits of getting stretched out and admitted that his sinker lacked its usual bite. If not for the fact that he was facing the defending world champion Dodgers, he could have been critiquing a spring training start where pitchers are more focused on getting their work in than anything results-oriented.Corbin got his pitches in, totaling 80 and pitching into the

Nats, Martinez will keep watchful eye on Corbin in first start

Thanks to a simulated game thrown Wednesday at the alternate training site in Fredericksburg, Va., left-hander Patrick Corbin won’t be on a short leash tonight when he makes his first start of the season against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. “We’ll keep close eyes on him, but the last time he threw in a sim game in Fredericksburg, he threw 45 pitches, he went three

Game 5 lineups: Nats at Dodgers

Left-hander Patrick Corbin has been reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list and will start tonight’s game against the Dodgers, hoping to help the Nationals snap a three-game losing streak during which they’ve been unable to score for the past 16 innings. Corbin was one of nine players placed on the injured list as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak that spread through the team. He’s

Is Soto destined to be pitched around all season?

Victor Robles’ attempt to steal second base during the top of the eighth Friday afternoon in Los Angeles was ill-advised, as both the Nationals center fielder and his manager conceded following their 1-0 loss to the Dodgers. As Robles correctly noted, in getting caught trying to swipe second with runners on the corners and nobody out, he failed to recognize who was coming to bat

Nats waste another pitching gem, get shut out in L.A. (updated)

Until they get their remaining middle-of-the-order bats back from the COVID-19 injured list, the Nationals are going to need stellar performances from their pitching staff and a few clutch hits from a depleted lineup in tandem to emerge victorious. They got the pitching today at Dodger Stadium, most notably from Joe Ross in his 2021 debut. They did not get the one timely hit they

Four players activated, Corbin could start Saturday

The Nationals will have four of their previously ineligible players in uniform and available for today’s series opener at Dodger Stadium, and they could have their No. 3 starter back on the mound for Saturday night’s game. Alex Avila, Patrick Corbin, Yan Gomes, Brad Hand and Jordy Mercer all cleared their COVID-19 protocols and flew on a charter from Washington to Los Angeles this morning,

Game 4 lineups: Nats at Dodgers (four players activated)

Here’s some good news to share as the Nationals prepare to open their weekend series at Dodger Stadium against the 2020 World Series champs: They’ve got four of the nine players who were sidelined for COVID-19 reasons back on the active roster, including both catchers and their closer. Yes, the Nats announced the activation of Yan Gomes, Alex Avila, Brad Hand and Jordy Mercer from

New challenge awaits Nationals in L.A.

The Nationals flew west Wednesday night, all the way west for their first trip outside the eastern time zone since 2019. They were a fairly exhausted group, certainly more exhausted than you’d normally expect only three games into the season. Those first three games, of course, were anything but normal. Manager Davey Martinez wanted everyone to have a full day off in Los Angeles, a

Should opening series encourage or discourage Nats?

There are a couple of ways to think about the Nationals’ season-opening series. You can take the optimistic view and point out that in spite of their severely depleted roster, the Nats showed themselves to be pretty much on par with the Braves and very easily could’ve won the three-game series or even swept it. Or you can take the pessimistic view and lament the

Nats waste Strasburg’s gem, get shut out by Braves (updated)

Needing a good start from Stephen Strasburg to have a chance at winning their season-opening series against the Braves despite a roster missing nine key veterans, the Nationals got more than that. Strasburg was great, tossing six innings of one-hit ball this afternoon. What they didn’t get, however, was a run of their own. Or scoreless work from their bullpen. And because of it, a

Game 3 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

Who’s ready for some more baseball? With the opener of today’s doubleheader in the books, the Nationals and Braves will get right back at it with another seven-inning game on South Capitol Street. And because of the events of Game 1, in which Erick Fedde lasted only 1 2/3 innings, the Nats really could use a quality (and long) start from Stephen Strasburg. The veteran

Fedde squanders early lead, Nats lose twinbill opener (updated)

Five runs in two innings against the opposing ace should be a pretty air-tight formula for success. For the Nationals, it somehow meant a frustrating loss in the opener of a 14-inning doubleheader. Despite getting to Braves left-hander Max Fried early and often, the Nats watched helplessly as Erick Fedde gave it all back and then some during an eventual 7-6 loss at Nationals Park

Nats could get some players back in L.A., but it’s complicated

The Nationals could have some of their quarantined players back on the active roster at some point during this weekend’s series in Los Angeles, but there will be complications to get them to Dodger Stadium and available under Major League Baseball’s strict protocols. “It’s a possibility, it really is,” manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame Zoom session with reporters. “The good news is these

Game 2 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

And we’re back. Already. For a doubleheader. Already. Hey, no complaining about anything this season, alright? It’s certainly got to be easier for the Nationals to get right back to work after Tuesday’s walk-off win over the Braves in the season opener. Now, they realistically just need to think about winning at least one of today’s seven-inning games to win the series against the three-time

Lucroy finds himself thrust into spotlight in Nats debut

Jonathan Lucroy wasn’t a National on Saturday. Three days later, he somehow found himself squatting behind the plate to catch Max Scherzer’s first pitch of the 2021 season. And then playing a significant role in the Nationals’ 6-5 walk-off win over the Braves. How did the 34-year-old catcher process all of that? “It’s kind of funny, but I feel like a mercenary,” he said during

Soto delivers walk-off to cap stirring opening day win (updated)

They came wearing their masks and had their temperatures taken and stayed distanced from everyone else in attendance because they wanted to witness precisely this moment. Bottom of the ninth, tie game, Juan Soto at the plate. It’s the kind of situation the sellout crowd of 4,801 for the first ballgame at Nationals Park with fans in attendance in 18 months live for. And, to

Turner cleared to play, nine veterans placed on IL

The Nationals have unveiled their opening day roster, and as expected, it’s missing a whole lot of prominent veterans. Though not Trea Turner. The club’s 26-man roster does not include Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison, Yan Gomes, Alex Avila, Patrick Corbin, Jon Lester, Brad Hand or Jordy Mercer. All were officially placed on the injured list, with no reason or timeline given. Only four

Game 1 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

The day has arrived. At last. It required four postponements, four positive tests for COVID-19, nine other players and staff members placed into quarantine and three straight days of negative tests for everyone else, but the Nationals are finally going to open their 2021 season this afternoon. They will do so not against the Mets, but the Braves, who already are 0-3 after a rough

As rest of team deals with chaos, Scherzer just wants to pitch

This past week has been difficult for everyone associated with the Nationals. For the four players who learned they tested positive for COVID-19, for the nine players and staff members who were forced into quarantine because they were deemed close contacts, for all the others who were nervous about their teammates’ and their own health. And then there’s Max Scherzer, who endured though a completely

Nationals prepared to be without five regulars in opener

As he emerged from the dugout at Nationals Park this afternoon and scanned the group of players assembling for one cobbled together workout in advance of Tuesday’s rescheduled season opener, Davey Martinez could’ve chosen to focus on who wasn’t there. That list, by the way, would include the likes of Trea Turner, Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison, Patrick Corbin, Jon Lester, Brad Hand, Yan

Workout will give depleted Nats chance to prepare for opener

Here’s some good news to brighten your Monday morning: The Nationals are going to hold a workout today at Nationals Park, and they’re finally going to open their season Tuesday. It’s far from ideal, and the roster that takes the field Tuesday afternoon to face the Braves is going to be missing a significant number of big league players. But given the apparent severity of

Nats cleared to work out Monday, play Tuesday (updated)

The Nationals were cleared to open their season Tuesday against the Braves after another round of tests came back negative for COVID-19, and will be given the opportunity to hold a full workout for all healthy and eligible players at Nationals Park on Monday. Major League Baseball made the much anticipated announcement late tonight after another long day of uncertainty. Though the Nationals (who now

Pitching prospect Denaburg has Tommy John surgery

Mason Denaburg, the Nationals’ 2018 first-round draft pick and eighth-ranked prospect, will miss the season after recently undergoing Tommy John surgery, a club official confirmed. It’s another tough blow for the oft-injured Denaburg, who since he was selected 27th in the country out of Merritt Island (Fla.) High School three years ago has thrown only 20 1/3 professional innings due to arm troubles. The 21-year-old

As frustrating wait continues, Nationals sign catcher Lucroy

As they waited for approval to resume full workouts in preparation for the delayed start to their season, the Nationals added the first player from outside the organization who could find himself on an opening day roster that will be stacked with unexpected reinforcements. Veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy agreed to terms on a minor league contract Saturday night, a source familiar with the deal confirmed,

Depleted Nats now face physical, psychological challenges

The Nationals have for the last 72 hours been in what Mike Rizzo referred to as “crisis management mode.” Every moment the longtime general manager has been awake since learning one of his players tested positive for COVID-19 has been spent trying to coordinate contact tracing, trying to figure out who’s healthy and who isn’t healthy and trying to figure out which 26 players ultimately

Full series postponed, nine players now in quarantine (updated)

The Nationals’ entire weekend series against the Mets was postponed today by Major League Baseball, with four players having officially tested positive for COVID-19 and six others (five players, one staff member) in mandatory quarantine after being designated close contacts. The postponement of all three scheduled games at Nationals Park wasn’t a terribly surprising announcement, given the news of the last 24 hours, but it’s

An attempt to answer some questions about the Nats’ situation

These are, unfortunately, uncertain times for the Nationals. They were all set to open the 2021 season Thursday night against the Mets, then learned the game had been postponed when one (eventually three, possibly four) players tested positive for COVID-19. Now, with Major League Baseball declaring the game would not be made up today, the Nats face another day stuck at home in isolation, awaiting

With at least three positive tests, Nats’ opening series in flux

Two more Nationals players, and potentially a third, have now tested positive for COVID-19, all of them close contacts to the original player who learned Wednesday he had tested positive, leaving the team’s season-opening series against the Mets in flux. General manager Mike Rizzo delivered that new batch of unpleasant news early this evening after the results of the tests the entire team took Wednesday

Season opener postponed, won’t be made up Friday

The Nationals’ 2021 season won’t begin tonight, and at this point, it’s too soon to know for certain when it will be commence after Major League Baseball postponed the scheduled opener against the Mets due to ongoing contact tracing within the Nationals organization following Wednesday’s discovery that a player tested positive for COVID-19. No makeup date has been determined, but the league said in a

2021 Nats media season predictions

The day has come at last. The 2021 baseball season begins today. All 30 clubs are scheduled to play, including the Nationals in tonight’s nationally televised opener against the Mets. Fans will be in attendance everywhere, 5,000 of them here. Alas, five members of the Nats’ expected opening night roster will not be there after one tested positive for COVID-19 and four others were deemed

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