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Nationals can’t complete rally, drop fifth straight (updated)

The first inning was all too familiar, the Nationals digging themselves into an early hole yet again. The middle innings featured an unexpected (and encouraging) twist, as the lineup came to life and a laboring starter found his groove. But by the time the bottom of the ninth arrived at Truist Park in Atlanta this evening, the result was a re-run for a Nats team

Robles active but not starting, Fedde likely needs rehab start

Victor Robles is back on the Nationals’ active roster. He’s just not back in the Nationals’ starting lineup quite yet. Though he was activated off the 10-day injured list this afternoon, Robles is not starting in tonight’s series opener at the Braves. Manager Davey Martinez, who got encouraging reports on the 24-year-old center fielder’s rehab game for Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, did suggest he would

Game 50 lineups: Nats at Braves (Robles activated)

The Nationals need something to inject some life in their moribund offense. For now, that something will have to be Victor Robles, who has rejoined the active roster 12 days after spraining his right ankle. Robles was officially activated off the 10-day injured list today, in time for the nine-game road trip that begins late this afternoon in unincorporated Atlanta. The 24-year-old center fielder appeared

Monday morning thoughts on Robles, Fedde and Castro

Some thoughts on this Memorial Day morning as the Nationals try to put a brutal weekend sweep at the hands of the Brewers behind them and look ahead to a four-game series at the Braves beginning at 5:05 p.m. today ... * Victor Robles might be ready to rejoin the club today. The injured center fielder went on a rehab assignment for Double-A Harrisburg on

Same old script for Nats in shutout loss (updated)

With a five-star pitching matchup between two of the National League’s best, it wasn’t unfair to walk into Nationals Park today and wonder if the first team to score was assured victory in the series finale. Who knew it would actually play out just like that, with the winning run scoring in the top of the first? Maybe it all was too predictable in the

Harris to have thoracic outlet surgery, Robles rehabs in Bowie

For 2 1/2 months, the Nationals and Will Harris hoped they could find a reason for the swelling that would occur in his hand sometimes when he pitched, and hoped there was a way to continue to pitch while treating the mysterious ailment. Now, though, they finally have a concrete answer, and a course of action: Harris has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and

Game 49 lineups: Nats vs. Brewers

A nine-game homestand that began with a sweep of the Orioles concludes today for the Nationals, who need to beat the Brewers just to avoid getting swept and finishing this stretch with a losing record. Yes, the narratives change quickly around here. The good news: Max Scherzer is on the mound, and he’s the best thing the Nats have going for them right now. So

Frustrated Soto trying to snap out of his rare slump

It has become something of a familiar sight in recent weeks: Juan Soto hitting a hard ground ball somewhere on the infield and then showing visible frustration with the result after another potential breakout at-bat ending in an out. And it happened again Saturday afternoon in the opener of the Nationals’ doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Brewers. With a chance to deliver in

Nats melt down late to cap doubleheader sweep (updated)

At the end of a miserable day and night - weather-wise and baseball-wise - there really aren’t any silver linings for the Nationals to hang their caps on. Swept by the Brewers over the course of 14 innings of poorly executed baseball, they look very much like the last-place team they are this Memorial Day weekend. Yes, there are four months of baseball still to

Game 48 lineups: Nats vs. Brewers

Who’s ready for seven more innings of baseball in the rain? The Nationals and Brewers are going to give it a try, hoping the conditions at least allow for play as they did during this afternoon’s contest. As always, stay tuned and don’t be surprised if there are delays or even a postponement. Stymied by Freddy Peralta in the opener, the Nationals will see if

Offense silent again in seven-inning loss to Brewers (updated)

The weather was abysmal, but there was a doubleheader to be played rain or shine, so the Nationals and Brewers went ahead and got the first seven of today’s 14 scheduled innings in despite the awful playing conditions. And it produced a result that looked awfully familiar for the Nats. After Patrick Corbin dug them into an early four-run hole, the Nationals lineup could not

Weather throws wrench into Robles and Fedde’s rehab plans

Victor Robles is eligible to come off the injured list Sunday, but with little opportunity to test his sprained right ankle on a wet field all weekend, the Nationals may need to wait a bit longer to activate their starting center fielder. Robles was supposed to run the bases Friday, but the postponement of the series opener versus the Brewers shelved those plans. And with

Game 47 lineups: Nats vs. Brewers

Do you remember the last time the Nationals faced the Brewers? Yep, it was the 2019 National League wild card game. Quite a bit has happened since that memorable night, huh? Today, the Brewers make their first trip back to D.C. in 20 months. It’s not completely a must-win situation like it was for the Nats that night, but they’d certainly like to get back

Nats stuck playing another day of seven-inning games

In their attempt to minimize the amount of time players and staffers spent around each other at the ballpark during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Major League Baseball for the first time reduced all doubleheader games to seven innings. It was unconventional, and many fans weren’t big fans of it, but most agreed it was acceptable under the circumstances of that unprecedented season. When MLB decided

Series opener postponed, Nats reach vaccination threshold

The Nationals are getting the night off. And then another shortened doubleheader Saturday. If the weather permits. Tonight’s series opener against the Brewers was officially postponed, with sustained rain forecast for the entire evening and into Saturday. The two clubs, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, made the call about 3 1/2 hours before scheduled first pitch, opting not to wait it out and risk

García shows off two-strike approach with first MLB triple

The Nationals produced a grand total of two extra-base hits during their just-completed three-game series with the Reds. One was Josh Bell’s ninth-inning homer on Tuesday night, one that helped them avoid a shutout but still resulted in a 2-1 loss. The other was Luis García’s triple Thursday afternoon, and though it had no significant bearing on account of the Nats’ 5-3 win, it did

Offensive woes on display again in shutout loss (updated)

There’s no mystery surrounding the Nationals right now. Nobody has to dig deep into the analytics trying to figure out why they’re not winning enough games. The answer is right there for everyone to see, young and old, expert and novice, old school and new school. They aren’t hitting. At all. Tonight’s 3-0, seven-inning loss to the Reds in the nightcap of a pseudo-doubleheader necessitated

Game 46 lineups: Nats vs. Reds

After winning the completion of Wednesday night’s suspended game, the Nationals now attempt to sweep this not-really-a-doubleheader against the Reds, hoping to get a big-time start from Stephen Strasburg and avoid using the relievers they needed to close out the earlier 5-3 win. Strasburg was pretty good in his first start off the injured list, tossing 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Orioles, though he

Back of bullpen secures victory of suspended game (updated)

With five innings on tap this afternoon to complete the game that only lasted four innings Wednesday night before a storm barreled through town, then a seven-inning game still to come later tonight as part of this pseudo-doubleheader, Nationals manager Davey Martinez had to concoct a pitching plan that would give his club the best chance to win both games. And when the Nats added

Rainey activated off COVID-19 IL, Fedde to be cleared Friday

It’s not often a team has the ability to change its roster mid-game, but the Nationals and Reds both were afforded the opportunity today for the completion of Wednesday night’s suspended game. The Nats have activated Tanner Rainey off the COVID-19 injured list and will have the reliever available to them for the final five innings of the resumed game, plus tonight’s seven-inning series finale.

Nats’ lack of walks doesn’t really concern Martinez

The Nationals entered play Wednesday last in the National League - and next-to-last in the majors - with just 128 walks for the season. But for a team that prides itself on making contact, the lack of free passes isn’t an issue for manager Davey Martinez. “You go up there with a bat in your hand and you swing it, you know?” he said during

Suspended game ruins Ross’ impressive start against Reds (updated)

Wednesday night’s game between the Reds and Nationals was suspended after a lengthy rain delay, with the decision officially announced at 11:35 p.m. The suspended game, still slated for nine innings, will be resumed at 2:05 p.m. on Thursday with the regularly scheduled series finale following at 7:05 p.m. as a seven-inning game. Play was halted at 8:31 p.m. with the Nationals ahead 3-0 and

Martinez on Rainey, Fedde and García

Right-hander Tanner Rainey, on the COVID-19 injured list since May 19, could be on the verge of rejoining the Nationals after throwing an extended bullpen session Tuesday, manager Davey Martinez said this afternoon. “He threw 32 pitches yesterday,” Martinez said during his pregame Zoom session with the media. “I want to talk to him today and see how he feels after a long bullpen. If

Game 45 lineups: Reds at Nats

Right-hander Joe Ross has been one of two pitchers this season for the Nationals. He either gets through five innings or so, giving his team a chance to win, or gets shelled. It’s those rough patches that have inflated Ross’ ERA to its current 5.72 entering tonight’s game against the Reds. Take away two disastrous outings - when he allowed 10 runs in 4 1/3

Bell’s recent surge continues with right-handed homer

The only real offensive highlight of Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss at Nationals Park was Josh Bell’s bottom-of-the-ninth homer. A homer that was a long time coming for the switch-hitting slugger, because it came from the right side of the plate. Though he has been breaking out of his season-long funk as a left-handed batter over the last two weeks, Bell hadn’t shown much as a

Nats’ bats go silent again in 2-1 loss to Reds (updated)

These Nationals have teased us before. They’ve had moments over the last two months when they appear to have figured things out, especially at the plate, only to fail to sustain any sense of positive momentum. So even though they looked much better over the weekend while sweeping the Orioles, the Nats were in no way guaranteed of showing up at the park tonight and

García called up from Triple-A, Fedde and Rainey back in D.C.

In deciding who would take Victor Robles’ spot on their roster, the Nationals elected not to promote another outfielder from Triple-A Rochester, nor did they call up their top prospect who only two months ago was supposed to be their starting third baseman. The Nats’ decision to recall infielder Luis García before tonight’s series opener against the Reds instead of Carter Kieboom or an outfielder

Game 44 lineups: Nats vs. Reds

The last time the Nationals swept a series, they proceeded to lose seven of their next eight games and dig themselves into a hole they’re still trying to climb all the way out of. So this weekend’s sweep of the Orioles, while encouraging, certainly doesn’t guarantee this team has turned a corner. We won’t know about that until we see how the Nats perform this

“Grateful” Doolittle ready for emotional return to Nationals Park

Upon signing with the Reds days before pitchers and catchers were due to report for spring training, Sean Doolittle took a look at Cincinnati’s 2021 schedule. He scanned the entire 162-game slate, but he specifically noted when one particular road series would be taking place. May 25-27: at Washington. Doolittle has tried not to think about it too much since, because there were far more

Productive as ever, Zimmerman embraces part-time role

Ryan Zimmerman knows what you’re thinking. He knows you want him to play more than he is. He knows you believe he should be in the Nationals lineup more than a couple of times a week. And he gets it. But he also knows it would be a mistake in the long run. “You hear everyone saying, and rightfully so: ‘This guy’s raking. How are

Bullpen vets hang on, secure series sweep for Nats (updated)

During the course of one ballgame, a manager’s toughest decision often boils down to the following question: Do everything in your power to win today’s game or hold back in order to protect overused players for the long haul? There’s never one right answer to the dilemma, and a skipper can twist himself into knots trying to justify either approach. So when this very quandary

Harris, Robles both land on IL before series finale (updated)

The Nationals have placed both Will Harris and Victor Robles on the 10-day injured list, the struggling reliever still unable to get over the mysterious right hand ailment that has plagued him since spring training and the young outfielder still not ready to return from a right ankle sprain he suffered four days ago. Kyle McGowin was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take Harris’ spot

Game 43 lineups: Nats vs. Orioles

The Nationals still have their issues in the big picture, but they still have a chance to sweep a series today. And that’s nothing to scoff at. At this point, they’ve got to seize any opportunity they get, so a win today over the Orioles would be a welcome development. (It also would give them a 20-23 record, making another 19-31 start mathematically impossible this

Nationals remain committed to Hand as closer

On a day when pitchers across the board were getting hit hard, often over the fence, the sight of Brad Hand trotting in from the bullpen for the top of the ninth couldn’t have been especially comforting for Nationals fans. Less than 24 hours removed from the latest in a concerning string of shaky outings, here was Hand again entrusted by manager Davey Martinez to

Nats finally deliver big blasts, win slugfest over Orioles (updated)

The Nationals, believe it or not, actually are capable of hitting with runners in scoring position. And scoring in bunches. Even hitting a grand slam. And, most significantly, coming back from a sizeable deficit to win a ballgame. Yes, they do have the ability to do all of those things. Perhaps not as frequently as everyone would like, but that skill set is buried away

Nats likely need to make IL decision on Robles by Sunday

Victor Robles is out of the Nationals lineup for the third straight day with what has now officially been diagnosed as a sprained right ankle, and if his condition doesn’t improve in the next 24 hours, the club may have no choice but to put its starting center fielder on the injured list. Robles, who hurt himself in scary looking fashion rounding first base Wednesday

Game 42 lineups: Nats vs. Orioles

It was an enjoyable Friday night at Nationals Park, where the home team saw Stephen Strasburg pitch 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his return from the injured list, Josh Bell go 3-for-5 and make a key play in the field, and a season-high crowd of 14,369 cheer the Nats on to victory over the Orioles. Whether they can actually use that as a springboard to

Bell uses crowd to help complete rare assist to the plate

Josh Bell’s first responsibility when Trey Mancini ripped a ball into the right field corner in the top of the sixth Friday night was to make sure the Orioles slugger actually touched first base as he attempted to stretch his hit into a double. It’s a small thing, and rarely does it come into play. But in just doing what he was supposed to do

Strasburg, crowd return to form in win over O’s (updated)

You want a return to normalcy? How about Stephen Strasburg on the mound posting a string of zeros, an opportunistic lineup finally delivering a string of clutch hits and (most importantly) a loud and enthusiastic crowd cheering the home team on a beautiful Friday night on South Capitol Street. The Nationals’ 4-2 win over the Orioles tonight felt as normal as things have been around

Robles out of lineup again, getting MRI on ankle

The Nationals are without Victor Robles again tonight and now are awaiting results of an MRI taken on the center fielder’s right ankle, which remains sore two days after it buckled while he rounded first base in Chicago. Manager Davey Martinez said during his Zoom session before tonight’s game against the Orioles that Robles remains day-to-day for now. “He went to get an MRI today,

Game 41 lineups: Nats vs. Orioles

The last time we saw Stephen Strasburg on the mound in a big league game, it was obvious he wasn’t right. The veteran hurler was throwing fastballs that barely registered 90 mph. His pitches weren’t sharp at all. His mechanics were off. His body language suggested he didn’t feel right. Turns out Strasburg was indeed injured, dealing with right shoulder inflammation. The Nationals placed him

How do Nats make next 40 games better than first 40?

It began, shockingly enough, with the biggest offensive explosion of the season. The Nationals opened their just-completed, seven-game road trip with a 17-2 dismantling of the Diamondbacks, a blowout win that saw everyone in the starting lineup score at least once. At last, here was evidence the Nats’ sluggish offense was ready to bust out for good. Instead, the road trip turned into a bust

Another rough start could leave Ross’ job in jeopardy (updated)

For weeks, these two questions have loomed over the Nationals: When will Stephen Strasburg return from a shoulder injury, and who will lose his spot in the rotation once he does? As this seven-game road trip to Arizona and Chicago progressed, the answer to the first question became clear: Strasburg would be ready to come off the 10-day injured list Friday to start the Nats’

Robles sitting out, but X-rays on ankle negative

Victor Robles isn’t in the Nationals lineup for today’s series finale at Wrigley Field, but the young center fielder’s right ankle is apparently feeling well enough to give manager Davey Martinez reason to believe he could be available off the bench in a pinch. Robles, who fell to the ground in a heap after his ankle gave out while rounding first base on his fourth-inning

Game 40 lineups: Nats at Cubs

After a crazy Wednesday night in Chicago, the Nationals are back at it this afternoon, looking to win their series finale against the Cubs and split the four-game set. It took a lot of effort to pull off their 4-3 victory, which came by the skin of its teeth. And they’ll go into today’s game with a depleted lineup. Victor Robles, who injured his right

Turner, Martinez steamed by yet another interference call

The play looked vaguely familiar. The interference call on Trea Turner that followed most definitely looked familiar. And the tirade Davey Martinez subsequently went on in defense of his shortstop certainly brought back some familiar memories, until the Nationals manager took his displeasure to a whole new level with an epic tirade. Yes, Turner, Martinez and the Nats were victimized yet again by Rule 5.09a(11),

Nats cap eventful night with tight win at Wrigley (updated)

Maybe it’s Wrigley Field. The Friendly Confines just seem to bring out the highest of drama when the Nationals are in town, and have so for many years now. From epic playoff games to devastating walk-off grand slams to intentional walk records to wild back-and-forth contests, the Nationals and Cubs have experienced it all at the corner of Clark and Addison streets on Chicago’s North

Game 39 lineups: Nats at Cubs

Remember how we all wondered if Max Scherzer would ever be able to pitch at a Cy Young Award-caliber level again? Well, guess what? He’s doing it right now. The Nationals ace has been nothing short of magnificent so far season, entering tonight’s game against the Cubs seventh in the National League in ERA (2.10), third in WHIP (0.760), fourth in walk rate (1.4 per

Fedde, Rainey placed on COVID-19 IL after positive test (updated)

The Nationals had to place pitchers Erick Fedde and Tanner Rainey on the COVID-19 injured list before tonight’s game in Chicago after one tested positive for the coronavirus and the other was deemed a close contact to that player. The club didn’t specify which of the two tested positive, but manager Davey Martinez said that player was vaccinated, is asymptomatic and is feeling fine. The

After weekend outburst, Robles settling back in at plate

The storylines surrounding this Nationals lineup haven’t really changed since spring training. They still need consistent production from big offseason acquisitions Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber. Trea Turner is showing his sneaky pop is no longer sneaky. Juan Soto is still waiting to break out of his funk to reach the incredibly high standards he’s set for himself. And Ryan Zimmerman’s return is proving that

Late homer off Harris lifts Cubs over Nats (updated)

There was still some love in the air between the Cubs and their former teammates who now wear the curly W on their caps Tuesday night. After Kyle Schwarber enjoyed a tribute video before Monday night’s game, it was Jon Lester’s turn to have his moment after starting last night’s game on the mound. He was treated with a tribute video on the big scoreboard

Notes on Strasburg’s bullpen, tonight’s game and more

If you’ve been anxiously waiting for news on when Stephen Strasburg will make his next start, you’re unfortunately going to have to wait at least another day. Having been peppered with questions about the right-hander’s status over the last couple of days, Nationals manager Davey Martinez isn’t ready to say whether or not his recovering starter will be ready to be activated and make a

Game 38 lineups: Nats at Cubs (Corbin activated)

Now that the fanfare, hoopla and ovations for Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber’s returns to Wrigley Field were taken care of Monday night, it’s time to get back to just focusing on baseball. Of course, I’m not saying that it wasn’t an emotional game, as it was great to see the reception the former Cubs received from their previous club and fans. But that 7-3

Why has the Nationals offense been grounded?

One by one, they swung at hittable pitches. And one by one, they pounded the ball into the ground. Whether leading off an inning, trying to get something going with two outs or trying to drive in a runner from scoring position, the Nationals kept meeting the same fate during Monday night’s 7-3 loss to the Cubs: Groundball outs. How bad was it? Through the

Cubs give Lester, Schwarber love, then beat them (updated)

Tonight’s series opener at Wrigley Field was always going to be about Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber, one way or the other. The return of the two former Cubs to their old stomping grounds as members of the Nationals for the first time had been wildly anticipated for days in Chicago. And the North Side faithful showered both players with love all night. Lester and

Strasburg joins Nats in Chicago, but no decision yet

The Nationals haven’t decided yet if Stephen Strasburg will come off the injured list this weekend, but the fact the right-hander has rejoined the club in Chicago offers a hint they’re hoping to do just that. Fresh off a 75-pitch rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Rochester in Trenton, N.J., Strasburg flew to Chicago and will be with the Nationals for their four-game series against the

Game 37 lineups: Nats at Cubs

The Nationals have been involved in their share of dramatic games at Wrigley Field in recent years. The last time they played on the North Side of Chicago in August 2019, they swept the Cubs in a wild series that many saw as the first real evidence this team was capable of winning the World Series. One year earlier, their playoff chances essentially were crushed

Lester ready for emotional return to Wrigley Field

Jon Lester never got to have his farewell moment at Fenway Park, that final walk off the mound accompanied by a roar from a crowd that knew this was his last appearance there in a Red Sox uniform, because he was traded to the Athletics on July 31, 2014, an off-day for the team. Nor did he get to have that kind of moment at

Fedde’s zeros, Hernandez’s late homer lift Nats (updated)

Davey Martinez had one simple piece of advice this morning for Erick Fedde, who took the mound in Arizona knowing Stephen Strasburg had just made a rehab start for Triple-A Rochester and might be deemed ready to take back his spot in the Nationals rotation. “Make my decision tough,” the Nats manager said during his pregame Zoom session with reporters. “That’s what I want him

After 75-pitch rehab start, Nats face decision on Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg appears to have done what he needed to do in today’s rehab start for Triple-A Rochester. Now, the Nationals have to decide if it’s enough to activate the right-hander off the injured list. Strasburg threw 75 pitches over 4 1/3 scoreless innings this afternoon in Trenton, N.J., temporary home of the Buffalo Bisons while their ballpark is being prepped for the Blue Jays.

Game 36 lineups: Nats at D-backs

The Nationals’ series finale in Arizona this afternoon is important, because they’re trying to win the series and head to Chicago on a positive note. But there’s another important event taking place this afternoon, across the country in Trenton, N.J., where Stephen Strasburg is making a rehab start for Triple-A Rochester. It’s important, of course, for Strasburg to emerge from his start (planned for five

Groundball-heavy Soto believes he’s close to breaking out

Any discussion of Juan Soto being in a slump has to include the qualifier that a Soto slump isn’t like any other hitter’s slump. Other hitters go 1-for-30 with 17 strikeouts, and that’s clearly a slump. Soto goes 6-for-30 with six strikeouts and we start worrying about him. Soto has set the bar for himself extraordinarily high. But having said that, it’s not inappropriate to

Ross roughed up as Nationals fall in Arizona (updated)

Davey Martinez knew what Joe Ross had been getting away with in recent starts before tonight’s game in Arizona, and so the Nationals manager knew exactly what his right-hander needed to do to be successful in this outing. “The pitches are up,” Martinez said during his pregame Zoom session with reporters. “When he’s down, he’s really effective.” As such, it wasn’t hard to figure out

Gomes producing at the plate despite heavy workload

Yan Gomes had come up to bat with a chance to hit for the cycle before. Four times, in fact, as a big leaguer. But never like this. On those four previous occasions (once with the Nationals, three times with the Indians), Gomes needed a triple to complete the cycle. And in each case, he had only one at-bat at the end of the game

Game 35 lineups: Nats at D-backs

The Nationals lineup had its best night of the season Friday in Arizona. Why not stick with it again tonight, right? That’s Davey Martinez’s thinking, and it’s hard to fault the manager for that philosophy, especially after he spent the better part of the last month tinkering every single day with a new-look batting order. So tonight the Nats will again go with Trea Turner

Still thriving, Hudson tries to enjoy every moment he’s got left

Daniel Hudson was sitting at home in Arizona last winter, contemplating his memorable 2019 run to a World Series title and the frustrating and surreal 2020 that followed, and made a vow to himself to enjoy the 2021 season no matter what. Why? Because he has no idea at this point if he’ll even get a chance to be on a big league mound in

Nats explode for 17 runs in desert rout of D-backs (updated)

After an unseasonably cool spring on the East Coast that more often than not left their bats ice-cold, the Nationals might well have stepped onto the tarmac at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix late Thursday night, breathed in the scorching hot, dry desert air and wondered if they could just head straight to Chase Field to begin their series against the Diamondbacks early. Nothing

Strasburg to start Sunday for Rochester in Trenton

Stephen Strasburg will make a rehab start for Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, potentially the right-hander’s final tune-up before he rejoins the Nationals rotation, this start coming on the road against Buffalo, even though the game will be played in Trenton, N.J. Confused enough yet? You’re not alone. The most pertinent detail: Strasburg is going to face opposing hitters in an actual ballgame instead of teammates

Game 34 lineups: Nats at D-backs (Corbin on paternity leave)

Max Scherzer appears to be on one of those dominant rolls we’ve seen from him before, the kind that turns every one of his starts into must-see TV. Over his last six outings, the three-time Cy Young Award winner owns a 1.79 ERA, 0.769 WHIP and 52 strikeouts against only seven walks. (And remember, that stretch includes a seven-run blowup start against the Blue Jays,

Resurgent rotation trying to lead the way again

If you’re looking for reasons to remain optimistic about the Nationals’ chances of climbing out of last place and back into the thick of the National League East race, look no further than the club’s longstanding biggest strength: the rotation. Despite some notable April blowups, Nats starters have found their way again and are now leading the way, as they were expected to all along.

Nats get big blasts early, big start from Corbin to win (updated)

The Nationals aren’t going to amount to much this season if Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Patrick Corbin aren’t consistently contributing to the process. They all know that, and it’s why manager Davey Martinez isn’t going to give up on any of them anytime soon. The roster general manager Mike Rizzo built this winter included Bell, Schwarber and Corbin in prominent positions, the first two

Nats want one more tune-up for Strasburg before his return

Stephen Strasburg is close to rejoining the Nationals rotation, but first the club needs their rehabbing right-hander to build up his innings and pitch count one more time. They just need to figure out where and when that final tune-up will take place. Strasburg, who has already pitched in two simulated games at Nationals Park, was scheduled to throw a bullpen session this morning before

Game 33 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

To say the Nationals need to find a way to win today’s series finale against the Phillies is a gross understatement. No, the season isn’t over if they lose again, but if they get swept by Philadelphia after losing two of three to the Yankees after getting swept by the Braves ... well, that’s not a position you want to be in. So the pressure’s

Cavalli’s pro career off to a rousing start in Wilmington

If you’re in need of a little pick-me-up following Wednesday night’s extra-inning loss to the Phillies, here’s one that might do the trick: Cade Cavalli’s professional career is off to a fantastic start. The Nationals’ 2020 first-round pick authored another impressive outing Wednesday for high Single-A Wilmington, tossing five scoreless innings while striking out eight during an eventual 1-0 win over Jersey Shore. Cavalli surrendered

Hand blows another save, Nats lose in 10th (updated)

They had played far from a perfect ballgame, and certainly they didn’t tear the cover off the ball, but the Nationals nonetheless put themselves in position to beat the Phillies this evening, thanks to an effective start by Jon Lester, some timely hits in the sixth, a massive blunder in the outfield by Bryce Harper and strong setup work from Sam Clay and Daniel Hudson.

Suero activated, Espino optioned to Rochester

The Nationals have activated Wander Suero from the 10-day injured list and will have their workhorse reliever available for tonight’s game against the Phillies. To clear space on their active roster for Suero, the Nats optioned veteran right-hander Paolo Espino to Triple-A Rochester. Suero, who had been out since April 18 with a left oblique strain, was cleared to return three days after a one-appearance

Game 32 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

The Nationals need to score runs tonight. This does not qualify as some sort of huge revelation. It’s simply the truth. Over their last eight games, the Nats have scored an average of 3.4 runs on 7.5 hits. Which isn’t great, but it’s even worse when you consider they exploded for 11 runs on 10 hits during Friday night’s win at Yankee Stadium. Throw that

Emotional Zimmermann retires, recalls memories of time in D.C.

Jordan Zimmermann, as publicly stoic and unemotional a ballplayer as you’ll ever meet, was already feeling his eyes begin to well up as he discussed his decision to retire Tuesday on a Zoom session with reporters who cover each of the three teams he pitched for during his career. “I just felt like after 15 years of playing ball, my mind was still in it,

Nats squander chances at plate again, fall to Phillies (updated)

You can point to a number of reasons the Nationals find themselves in the basement of a tight National League East division in mid-May, but inevitably you come back to the same irrefutable conclusion: They just aren’t scoring enough runs on a consistent basis to win games. Even when they get a less-than-stellar showing from their starter, or meltdown from their bullpen, the Nats still

Strasburg builds up to 62 pitches, Suero almost ready to return

Stephen Strasburg took a significant step forward in his return from a shoulder injury today when he threw 62 pitches over four innings during a simulated game at Nationals Park. Strasburg, out since April 18 with right shoulder inflammation, was initially scheduled to only pitch three innings but felt strong enough after walking off the mound following the third simulated frame to ask for an

Game 31 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

The Nationals are in the midst of a rough stretch, no doubt about it. They’ve lost five of their last six and are back in last place in the division. And yet, when you consider they lost three of those games by one run (two via walk-off) and another by two runs, the situation very easily could be reversed. Is that reason for optimism or

Rounding up the first week of the minor league season

The first week of the minor league season is complete, and for the first time in two years, we actually have some box scores and stats to pore through and get a sense of the state of the Nationals farm system. The Nats’ four full-season affiliates are off to a rough start record-wise, but there have been some notable individual performances so far. Let’s run

D.C. will allow full capacity at Nationals Park beginning June 11

The Nationals have been granted approval by the District of Columbia to increase capacity at Nationals Park for their homestand later this month and to operate at full capacity in mid-June. Earlier today, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a slew of reopenings for restaurants, bars, and sports and entertainment venues in the city, easing up on restrictions that had been in place since the beginning

Soto feels good at plate, now looking for more results

After a two-week layoff while his left shoulder healed, it was only natural to believe Juan Soto would need some time to rediscover his swing. Even though the Nationals slugger had been able to take batting practice while on the 10-day injured list, it’s not the same as facing live pitchers. So it was going to take some time to get right again once he

Hand is unsteady again, Nats lose late to Yanks again (updated)

Davey Martinez’s day began with a follow-up question about his decision Saturday to use Brad Hand in the bottom of the ninth against the Yankees’ big right-handed bats. The Nationals manager explained why he believed his left-handed closer was his best option there, and would again be his best option with a game on the line, given his success against hitters from both sides of

Soto is DH again today, but plans to be in right field Tuesday

The fact Juan Soto was back in right field Saturday for the first time in nearly three weeks didn’t necessarily mean the Nationals slugger will be back at his regular position every single day for now. Despite appearing to look fine in his return to the field following a left shoulder injury, Soto is back to serving as the designated hitter for today’s series finale

Game 30 lineups: Nats at Yankees

In many ways, the Nationals have looked great this weekend at Yankee Stadium. They exploded for 11 runs in Friday night’s opener. They’ve got a decent start from Patrick Corbin in that game, then a brilliant game from Max Scherzer on Saturday. Juan Soto is back in the lineup and back in the field. Victor Robles went 3-for-4 on Saturday. The Nats scored the first

Hernandez’s role changes with Soto’s return to field

Juan Soto’s return to right field in Saturday’s 4-3 11-inning loss to the Yankees was a boost to a Nationals club whose offense has struggled to score runs while the slugger was sidelined with a left shoulder strain. Even though Soto has been available as a pinch-hitter for a few days and served as the designated hitter in Friday’s win at Yankee Stadium, the Nats

Scherzer carves up Yankees, but Nationals fall in 11th (updated)

Snarling, grunting Max Scherzer will stomp around the mound like a predator stalking his prey. But his alter ego - masterful, riveted Max Scherzer, who carves up an opposing lineup - can be just as intimidating and effective. The Yankees saw a little of both versions on Saturday in a 4-3 victory over the Nationals, punctuated by a season-high 14 strikeouts by Scherzer plus a

Soto’s return to right field lengthens Nationals lineup

Somewhere between Yankee Stadium’s unique configuration and Juan Soto’s eagerness to return to the outfield, Nationals manager Davey Martinez thinks he’s seen enough progress from Soto’s strained left shoulder to put the slugger back in right field for today’s matinee against the Yankees. Soto, who served as the designated hitter Friday night and contributed a two-run homer in the ninth inning of the Nats’ 6-2

Game 29 lineups: Nats at Yankees

If he craves the biggest stage in baseball, it stands to reason that Max Scherzer would enjoy pitching at Yankee Stadium. It doesn’t matter if it’s the third incarnation of the historic ballpark. Everything about the place - the monuments in center field, the pinstriped players, the rhythmic cadence of the fans’ roll call - is special. So why has the right-hander struggled - at

Bullpen’s perfect streak ends at 29 batters

The pitch from Kyle Finnegan, a 3-2 sinker to Gary Sánchez in the bottom of the seventh that appeared to split the outer edge of the superimposed strike zone on your TV screen, was called a ball by Carlos Torres. Sánchez trotted to first base, and nobody at Yankee Stadium thought much of his one-out walk during Friday night’s game against the Nationals. If you’ve

Late explosion propels Nats to rout at Yankee Stadium (updated)

The situation - runner on second, nobody out, late in a close game - felt eerily familiar. What happened next felt completely foreign for a Nationals club that has spent weeks trying everything in its power to manufacture some late runs and tonight broke through with an eighth-inning rally that provided as cathartic a moment as these guys have experienced in some time. Knotted in

Soto could be in field Saturday, Strasburg sim game Tuesday

The Nationals have Juan Soto back in their lineup tonight. And they could have him back in right field as soon as Saturday afternoon. With his team playing at Yankee Stadium this weekend, manager Davey Martinez is able to utilize Soto as his designated hitter for tonight’s interleague series opener. And prior to the game, the 22-year-old was planning to attempt to make throws from

Game 28 lineups: Nats at Yankees

There’s really only one question everyone wants answered today: Is Juan Soto in the Nationals lineup? The answer you’ve been waiting for: Yes. For the first time in 18 days, Soto is starting, albeit as designated hitter. Still unable to make throws in the outfield without fear of further injury to his left shoulder, he’s being held back to hit only for the Nats’ series

While lineup struggles, Nats pitching staff is living up to billing

The Nationals were just swept by the Braves in large part because of their lack of offensive production, especially in key moments late in games. On the flip side, though, they were in a position to have a chance to rally late because of their pitching staff, which is starting to perform like it was supposed to all along. The Nats sport a 4.06 ERA

Nats can’t convert late chances, get swept by Braves (updated)

You can’t say the Nationals don’t at least give themselves chances. This evening’s game against the Braves was right there for the taking late, in the bottom of the seventh, in the bottom of the eighth and again in the bottom of the ninth. In those final three innings alone, they took 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position. And managed only one hit in

For Scherzers, crazy Sunday was just how they wanted it

Upon learning he would be pitching on opening day for the Nationals, Max Scherzer began preparing to face the Mets. Erica Scherzer began preparing to give birth to the couple’s third child. “My wife, as soon as she knew that I was going to be opening day starter, she had already done the counting out days and knew I was going to be pitching either

Game 27 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

The Nationals need to score runs. Early in games. Too often they’ve found themselves trailing early and it’s cost them. Their record this season when they score first: 10-2. When they don’t: 2-12. There are all kinds of factors we can discuss when trying to decide why they’re 12-14 overall, but that stat right there pretty tells the entire story. So it’s incumbent upon today’s

Martinez will become Nats’ longest-tenured manager today

There won’t be any ceremony to commemorate the occasion. No formal mention of the achievement or announcement on the scoreboard. Nor should there be, because it’s not exactly a major accomplishment under the circumstances. And yet it’s not insignificant that today Davey Martinez will manage his 411th game for the Nationals. What’s significant about 411 games in the dugout? Well, believe it or not, it’s

Nats can’t convert late chances at plate, lose to Braves (updated)

With a roster that is less than ideally constructed and a matchup against a left-handed starter this evening, Nationals manager Davey Martinez wound up fielding a lineup loaded with right-handed hitters and a bench loaded with big names who he could choose to insert somewhere along the way when the right situation arose. Trouble is, Martinez never got around to using Juan Soto or Josh

Strasburg, Suero to pitch in simulated game Thursday

Stephen Strasburg and Wander Suero will take the next important step in their return from injuries when they pitch in a simulated game Thursday afternoon before the Nationals’ series finale against the Braves. It’ll be the first time both right-handers have faced live hitters since going on the 10-day injured list April 18, Strasburg with shoulder inflammation, Suero with a left oblique strain. Both Strasburg

Game 26 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

The Nationals didn’t have an answer for Huascar Ynoa on Tuesday night. They better have one for Max Fried tonight or else they’re going to drop their second straight to the Braves. Fried returns to Atlanta’s rotation after spending the last three weeks on the injured list with a strained hamstring. The Nats already got to the lefty back in early April, to the tune

Soto still feeling his way back in return from IL

Juan Soto didn’t quite know what to expect when he stepped up to bat in the bottom of the eighth Tuesday night at Nationals Park. In his first game appearance in 15 days, the young slugger was about to find out just how difficult it is to pinch-hit in the major leagues. But first, he was about to find out just how much Nationals fans

Nats can’t deal with Braves starter’s arm or bat in loss (updated)

Baseball folks don’t like to talk about momentum, because they’ve been doing this long enough to understand that what happened in recent days doesn’t necessarily portend what will happen tonight. The Nationals had every reason to enter their series opener with the Braves feeling like they held the upper hand, based on their four-game winning streak, Atlanta’s four-game losing streak and everything that transpired to

Soto back, but limited to pinch-hitting; Harris ready to pitch

Juan Soto is back on the Nationals roster, just not in their lineup. Will Harris is back in their bullpen, and hoping he will remain available as much as he’s needed. With a pair of mid-afternoon transactions today, the Nats moved closer to full strength. They’re still missing Stephen Strasburg and Wander Suero, but for now, this is a significant step in the right direction.

Game 25 lineups: Nats vs. Braves (Soto, Harris activated)

The Nationals have clawed their way back to the .500 mark, sweeping the Marlins over the weekend. Their next challenge is climbing over that mark and staying there, against some stiffer competition: the Braves. The three-time defending National League East champs are back in town for their second visit of the season already. They took two of three in the season-opening series on South Capitol

How call-ups and rehab assignments will work in 2021

Throughout their 60-game season last summer and the first month of this season, when the Nationals needed to add a player to their big league roster they simply sent word to their alternate training site in Fredericksburg and waited for the player to make the short drive up Interstate 95 to Nationals Park. It was, under the circumstances, the safest way to make transactions while

Minor league rosters set on eve of long-awaited opening day

It’s been an astounding 20 months since official Minor League Baseball games were last played, an interminable length of time for prospects, staff members, and fans in communities large and small across America to wait since the end of the 2019 season. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of eager folks right now on the eve of a long-awaited 2021 opening day. “It’s

Diminished role hasn’t dulled Zimmerman’s production

For nearly two weeks, Ryan Zimmerman mostly sat on the Nationals bench, readying himself for pinch-hitting opportunities that often didn’t come. Yes, he started back-to-back games last week against the Blue Jays, but that was possible only because the Nats were facing an American League opponent and needed a designated hitter. So when Zimmerman found himself in Sunday’s lineup against the Marlins, it represented his

Dad-to-be Scherzer goes the distance, Nats sweep Marlins (updated)

There is, believe it or not, a scenario more imposing for a lineup than facing Max Scherzer. Daunting as that is, it’s nothing compared to the challenge of facing Scherzer five days after he was roughed up by another club. Or, apparently, facing the longtime Nationals ace hours before his wife is due to give birth. Every pitcher insists he wants to bounce back from

Could Soto be ready to return Tuesday vs. Braves?

Juan Soto isn’t in the Nationals lineup for today’s series finale against the Marlins, but there’s a chance he could be back for Tuesday’s series opener against the Braves. Soto, on the 10-day injured list since April 20 with a strained left shoulder, continued to ramp up his throwing program before today’s game at Nationals Park, throwing from 120 feet. “We’ll see how he gets

Game 24 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

The Nationals have already secured their first three-game winning streak of the season. Now they’ve got a chance to secure their first three-game sweep of the season. Having taken the first two games of the weekend against the Marlins, the Nats will look to finish the job this afternoon, with Max Scherzer on the mound looking to rebound from a ragged start against the Blue

April by the numbers

April has come and gone for the Nationals, and nobody can say they saw the season’s first month playing out the way it did. A COVID-19 outbreak sidelining nine players? Injuries to Juan Soto and Stephen Strasburg? An implosion by Patrick Corbin? A complete lack of production from Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber? There were, of course, surprisingly positive developments as well. Who expected Joe

Corbin’s arm, Bell’s bat lift Nats to third straight win (updated)

The Nationals don’t need Patrick Corbin to be elite right now. They would happily settle for solid. Which is precisely what he was today during a 7-2 victory over the Marlins. With seven innings of two-run ball, Corbin turned in the exact kind of performance the Nationals have been seeking from their erratic left-hander since the season began one month ago. He wasn’t in peak

Strasburg throws off mound, Soto throws in outfield

Stephen Strasburg and Juan Soto each took another step toward returning to the Nationals roster prior to today’s game, Strasburg throwing off the bullpen mound for the first time since he landed on the 10-day injured list and Soto continuing to throw in right field to test out his strained left shoulder. Both players are now eligible to be activated off the IL, but both

Game 23 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

A quick turnaround from a night game to a day game is never easy, but when it comes on the heels of a walk-off win, it does at least brighten everyone’s mood a little bit. So the Nationals have to be feeling pretty good about themselves after Friday night’s 2-1, 10-inning victory over the Marlins, capped by Kyle Schwarber’s 454-foot blast to right-center. In order

Nats ready to transition from alternate site to minor leagues

When they needed to make a transaction prior to Friday’s game to open up a spot on the active roster for Jon Lester, the Nationals elected to option right-hander Steven Fuentes. That wasn’t terribly surprising; the 23-year-old prospect hadn’t appeared in a game after getting called up 10 days earlier, and the organization wants to make sure he gets back into a typical, five-day routine

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