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Turner’s third career cycle carries Nats to another win (updated)

The thermometer was loaded with mercury, the heat index was in triple digits, the ball was flying at Nationals Park, and as everyone else was dragging from exhaustion, there was Trea Turner racing around the bases in the bottom of the sixth, chasing history. Having already singled in the first, doubled in the third and homered in the fourth, here was Turner - on his

Bullpen thin today, but help could be coming soon

Asked during his pregame Zoom session with reporters around 2:15 p.m. who he planned to have pitching the late innings today if the Nationals hold a lead, Davey Martinez laughed like a manager who knew there was no simple answer to that question. “Actually, I’ve got a meeting at 3 o’clock with (pitching coach Jim) Hickey, so we’re going to start figuring this stuff out,”

Game 78 lineups: Nats vs. Rays

It is scorching hot today. It’s going to be 95 degrees with a heat index well above 100 when the Nationals take the field at 4:05 p.m. for the finale of their two-game series with the Rays. If you’ve got tickets, make sure you dress appropriately and prepare to drink a lot of water. And, of course, make sure you’re in your seats in time

Cade Cavalli selected to All-Star Futures Game

One of the hottest pitchers in all of baseball resides in the Nationals farm system and is going to be in the national spotlight a couple of weeks from now during Major League Baseball’s All-Star festivities, testing his talents with the best prospects the sport has to offer. Cade Cavalli has been selected to represent the organization in the 2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. The

If offered slot in Home Run Derby, Schwarber would likely pass

Given the historic home run barrage he’s been on over the last 2 1/2 weeks, it’s only been natural to wonder if Kyle Schwarber is going to earn a coveted spot in the upcoming Home Run Derby at Coors Field. Schwarber, though, all but said Tuesday night he doesn’t expect to find himself in Colorado in two weeks for the annual midsummer power exhibition that

Schwarber starts with a bang, Hand hangs on late (updated)

It’s not quite on par with Dodger Stadium, but Nationals Park typically takes a couple innings to fill up most nights. Such is life in this traffic-infested town we call home. If you’ve got a ticket to watch the local nine, though, you might want to start budgeting some extra commuting time to make sure you’re in your seats well before the first pitch of

Bullpen takes another hit with Rainey landing on IL

A Nationals bullpen that already was being stretched thin with the losses of several key late-inning relievers to injury has lost another key late-inning reliever: Tanner Rainey, who today was placed on the 10-day injured list with a stress reaction in his lower right leg. It’s a serious blow to a relief corps that has been trying to proceed without the services of Daniel Hudson,

Game 77 lineups: Nats vs. Rays

It’s a rare thing when a ballclub plays three different opponents on three consecutive days, but that’s the case for the Nationals tonight. After wrapping up their weekend series with the Marlins on Sunday, then facing the Mets in a one-off makeup game Monday, tonight they welcome the Rays to town for the first of two games in an interleague series. These two teams split

Soto doesn’t have concrete answer for lack of power

When Juan Soto steps to the plate these days, he does so with one task in mind: Get on base. Don’t worry about hitting a ball 450 feet somewhere. Just do whatever it takes to reach, whether via single, walk or some other mechanism. And he’s done quite well in that department, with a .396 on-base percentage that ranks among the league leaders. “Yeah, that’s

With homer barrage, Nats take down Mets again (updated)

As the balls flew off the bats of Kyle Schwarber (twice), Trea Turner and Gerardo Parra, and as Paolo Espino was carving up the Mets for five scoreless innings, the mood inside of Nationals Park was ... well, how exactly to describe this? Was it ecstasy? Was it delirium? Was it some emotion that has yet to be defined, because nobody in attendance had ever

Robles out of lineup with sore knee, but able to take BP

Victor Robles is out of the Nationals lineup, his right knee still bothering him enough to keep him from starting against the Mets one day after he was struck by a pitch in Miami. It was not bothering the 24-year-old center fielder enough, though, to keep him from participating in batting practice, suggesting he may not need to miss much time. Robles took a full

Game 76 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

And so begins the closing stretch of the first half of the 2021 season, a stretch that will test the Nationals unlike any that have come before. Fourteen games in 14 days, all against contending teams. It begins tonight with a one-off against the Mets, another makeup from the season-opening series that was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The great mystery for the last

After winning trip, Nats face daunting stretch to close first half

Here’s what the Nationals accomplished over the last two weeks: By winning 11 of 14 games, they climbed their way out of a significant hole, briefly reached the .500 mark and moved into sole possession of second place in the National League East, now within striking distance of the first-place Mets. It was the best two-week stretch this club has experienced since the end of

Nationals ride homers, Scherzer to victory in Miami (updated)

There are any number of reasons you can point to for why the Nationals have won or lost a ballgame this season, but here’s a simple one to consider: When they hit a home run, they usually win. When they don’t, they usually don’t. And when they clear the fence twice in the same inning, as they did today during a 5-1 win over the

Fedde’s strain believed mild, Strasburg throws off mound

Erick Fedde felt nothing during his start Wednesday afternoon in Philadelphia. But when the Nationals right-hander woke up Thursday morning in Miami, his left side was bothering him. The club told him to take it easy, and he didn’t attempt to throw his typical bullpen session between starts. And after an MRI revealed what manager Davey Martinez called “a minor strain of his left oblique,”

Game 75 lineups: Nats at Marlins (Fedde to IL)

Forty-eight hours ago, the Nationals were feeling as good about themselves as they had in a while. Winners of five straight and 10 of 11, they had reached the .500 mark for the first time since May 2. What’s happened since then? They’ve lost two in a row to the Marlins, fallen back into their offensive funk and have now seen their second-most reliable starting

Parra continues to carve out niche with Nats

Asking Nationals manager Davey Martinez to pinpoint what he likes most about what Gerardo Parra brings to the club is like asking a parent in a large family which child he loves the most. There’s really no answer to the question, but each different facet of Parra’s game seems to make Martinez take notice. Though Parra hasn’t played regularly since 2018, his last of three

Corbin delivers quality, but Nats struggle versus rookie (updated)

Patrick Corbin followed a familiar script, allowing an opponent to take an early lead before settling in to record a quality start. And while the Nationals eventually knotted the score, they did precious little against a 27-year-old rookie making his fourth major league start. Zach Thompson kept the Nats at bay, striking out 11 in six innings, and Jon Berti’s tiebreaking solo homer in the

Martinez on Bell’s return and Parra’s start

When the Nationals posted their lineup for this afternoon’s game in Miami, two things jumped out: Josh Bell was back at first base after sitting out two games with a sore right side that required a precautionary MRI and Victor Robles was on the bench, with Gerardo Parra getting his first start in center field since 2019. Bell has been one of the Nationals’ hottest

Game 74 lineups: Nats at Marlins

If the Nationals are going to get back to .500 and start another winning streak, they’ll need to figure out an unknown quantity in right-hander Zach Thompson, who faces them for the first time this afternoon in Miami. Thompson’s early returns since being summoned from Triple-A Jacksonville have been impressive. The 27-year-old, signed as a minor league free agent in November after six minor league

Bell expected back in lineup tonight after clean MRI

At the end of the worst game they’ve played in weeks Friday night, the Nationals did get some good news: Josh Bell appears to be fine and should even be in today’s lineup against the Marlins. Bell, who had to be scratched from Thursday’s lineup after complaining of tightness in his right side, underwent an MRI on Friday afternoon to see if he had strained

Lester’s dud sends Nationals to rare loss (updated)

When he stepped off the mound at the end of the sixth inning Saturday night at Nationals Park, Jon Lester felt as good as he has about himself in a long time. Ten starts into his first season in D.C., the veteran left-hander owned a 3.60 ERA. Anyone who reasonably expected anything more than that from the 37-year-old was being unreasonable. By the time he

As they await Bell’s MRI, Nats prepping others at first base

As Davey Martinez sat down for his pregame Zoom session with reporters about 2 1/2 hours before first pitch in Miami, Josh Bell was in the process of getting an MRI on his right side. The results of that test will be on the Nationals manager’s mind until he knows if his cleanup hitter can avoid a trip to the injured list. “He said he

Game 73 lineups: Nats at Marlins

You already know the Nationals have won 10 of 11 games. But did you know they’ve actually won nine games in a row that were scheduled to be nine innings? That’s right, their last two losses came in doubleheader games that were scheduled for only seven innings (one of which turned into an eight-inning loss to the Giants). Their last nine-inning loss was June 11,

On Bell’s oblique, Soto’s doubles and reaching .500 again

More news and observations after Thursday night’s 7-3 win over the Marlins, the Nationals’ 10th win in 11 games ... * Josh Bell was a late scratch from the lineup after reporting soreness on his right side. The Nats don’t seem to believe it’s anything serious, but they want to make sure he didn’t strain an oblique muscle before putting him back on the field.

Schwarber’s historic surge keeps Nats red-hot (updated)

You could only laugh at the first one, because it was yet another leadoff homer by Kyle Schwarber, his fifth in 13 games since taking over the top spot in the Nationals lineup on a full-time basis a couple weeks ago. But the second one? A three-run blast one inning later? His 12th home run in 13 games? His eighth in five games? What was

Hudson should be ready to throw off mound before Strasburg

Davey Martinez had to get creative with his bullpen in order to win Wednesday’s wild, 13-12 game in Philadelphia, ultimately asking Austin Voth, Tanner Rainey and Paolo Espino to record the final six outs. That’s because closer Brad Hand was unavailable after pitching four of the previous five days, and because Daniel Hudson remains on the 10-day injured list with inflammation in his right elbow.

Game 72 lineups: Nats at Marlins (Bell scratched)

The Nationals’ two-game sweep in Philadelphia was both uplifting but also exhausting. Wednesday’s 13-12 finale, in particular, used up every ounce of strength the Nats had, not to mention nearly every reliever on the staff. There’s no rest for the weary, though, because after a flight south to Miami following the game, the Nationals are right back to work this evening in the opener of

Espino’s memorable week now includes first career save

The call to the bullpen came after the bottom of the eighth, the Nationals at that point trailing the Phillies 12-11. Paolo Espino was told to warm up, and that he would be pitching the bottom of the ninth if his teammates managed to tie the game or take the lead. And when that’s exactly what they did, getting a two-run single from Starlin Castro

Nats rally twice, pull out all stops to beat Phillies 13-12 (updated)

In order to pull off their ninth win in 10 games, the Nationals needed another Kyle Schwarber three-run homer to highlight a five-run top of the fifth, a Josh Bell grand slam to cap a six-run top of the sixth, a two-run single by Starlin Castro in the top of the ninth to re-take a lead that had just been lost and then the first

Schwarber, Turner, Harrison all banged up, but playing

As the baseball world was still up in arms over the theatrics of Joe Girardi asking umpires to check Max Scherzer for foreign substances for a third time Tuesday night, the Nationals were dealing with several injury scares late during their 3-2 victory over the Phillies. Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Josh Harrison all were less than 100 percent healthy by the time Brad Hand

Game 71 lineups: Nats at Phillies

Well, guess what? There’s another ballgame to be played in Philadelphia. This afternoon. The buzz from Tuesday night’s histrionics hasn’t dissipated yet, but the Nationals and Phillies can’t wait for that to happen before taking the field again for the finale of this quick, two-game series. The Nats, by virtue of a dramatic 3-2 win that was overshadowed by Joe Girardi’s attempt to get into

Is there a better way to check pitchers for foreign substances?

So, what happens now? What happens when the Nationals and Phillies take the field again at 1:05 p.m. today for the finale of this quick, two-game series at Citizens Bank Park? Will the mandatory, between-innings checks of both teams’ pitchers by umpires looking for foreign substances continue without issue? Will either Joe Girardi or Davey Martinez try to one-up the other and request an extra

Nats won’t let Phillies get under their skin, win again (updated)

Let’s get the most important point out of the way first: The Nationals beat the Phillies 3-2 tonight. They’ve now won eight of their last nine, moved into a three-way tie for second place in the National League East and continued a dramatic June surge that is making believers out of more skeptics with each passing day. Max Scherzer allowed one run in five innings

Finnegan’s injury is minor, Nats hope; Hudson begins throwing

Just as he was beginning to assert himself into a more prominent role in a bullpen that has needed more guys to step up, Kyle Finnegan has now landed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hamstring. Finnegan, who was removed from the roster this afternoon as the counter-transaction to Max Scherzer’s activation off the IL, hurt himself while throwing the final pitch

Game 70 lineups: Nats at Phillies

An 8-3 homestand, capped with a strong and often thrilling weekend against the Mets, was a great first step for the Nationals to get themselves back into the mix in the National League East. A good road trip this week against two more division opponents would go a long way toward making this surge truly legitimate. It begins tonight in Philadelphia in the opener of

Unexpected delays couldn’t derail Fedde’s breakthrough

Erick Fedde’s phone rang around midnight, a few hours following the Nationals’ May 18 loss in Chicago. He was immediately asked where he was (his hotel room) and instructed not to leave. “Wait, what are you talking about?” the right-hander finally asked. At which point he was told the news: “You have COVID.” “I was like, it has to be a false positive,” Fedde said

Schwarber is NL Player of the Week (plus All-Star voting update)

Is it any wonder the greatest power display in one homestand in Nationals history was good enough to be deemed the best performance of the week by anyone in the National League? Kyle Schwarber, who turned Nationals Park into his own personal home run derby venue, was appropriately rewarded for his efforts by being named NL Player of the Week this afternoon. Not that anyone

Why the Nats’ surge might be legit and why it might not

Kyle Schwarber first said it one week earlier, unprompted, at the end of a Zoom session with reporters in which he was trying to temper recent suggestions the 2021 Nationals were going nowhere fast. “Remember, this is a good team,” the outfielder said as he stood up from his chair. “You guys stay with us now, all right? Stay with us.” One week later, at

Parra, Schwarber, fans bring the thrill back to Nats (updated)

For official purposes, the first ballgame played at Nationals Park following the 2019 World Series took place on July 23, 2020, when the defending champions lost to the Yankees in an empty ballpark during the height of a pandemic. And for official purposes, the first ballgame played at Nationals Park in front of fans since the 2019 World Series took place on April 7, 2021,

Why the Nationals brought Parra back now

Davey Martinez hinted Saturday the move might be coming soon. And sure enough, it came today: The Nationals called up Gerardo Parra and now will ask the popular outfielder to help re-energize the clubhouse and the stands as they try to climb their way back into the National League East race. “Everyone knows how much energy he brings to the clubhouse (and) on the field,”

Game 69 lineups: Nats vs. Mets (Parra called up)

If, one week ago, you were told the Nationals today would have a chance to take three of four from the Mets and seven of eight overall, how ecstatic would you have been? Presumably, very ecstatic. Given all that has happened with this team, you couldn’t really ask for a better scenario entering today’s series finale at Nationals Park. In order to take full advantage

Scherzer set to come off IL on Tuesday in Philly

Max Scherzer appears to be confident he’s ready to come off the injured list as soon as he becomes eligible in two days. The Nationals ace threw off the bullpen mound in between games of Saturday’s doubleheader, his final significant hurdle in his return from a tweaked groin muscle, and clearly was pleased with the results. Scherzer didn’t stop to talk to reporters who were

Old pals Lester and Schwarber team up in 6-2 win (updated)

They are inextricably linked, primarily from their time together on the North Side of Chicago, but now without question for their time together on South Capitol Street. There’s a long way to go before Kyle Schwarber and Jon Lester make the kind of memories for the Nationals they made for six seasons together with the Cubs. But they’re sure trying their best to help each

Game 68 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

The Nationals need to do more at the plate in the nightcap of today’s doubleheader against the Mets. They scored one run in Friday night’s game and still somehow won. They scored one run in today’s opener and unsurprisingly lost. They need a more productive showing in this one against Robert Gsellman, the first of several relievers who are expected to take the mound for

Nats can’t dig out of Ross’ early hole, win streak ends (updated)

The Nationals hoped Joe Ross would take the mound at 1:05 p.m. today and set a good tone for the 14 innings of baseball that were guaranteed to follow. Ross’ performance in the opener of a day-night doubleheader against the Mets would go a long toward determining the course of the rest of this long Saturday at the park. So it was undeniably discouraging when

Could Parra be in Nationals’ plans again soon?

Two years ago today, a slumping Gerardo Parra stepped to the plate for his first at-bat of a doubleheader against the Phillies, and for the first time did so with “Baby Shark” blaring over the Nationals Park sound system. Most in the crowd laughed at the odd choice for a walk-up song, but little did they realize what kind of impact it would have on

Game 67 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Friday’s night’s walk-off 1-0 victory over the Mets was a big boost for the Nationals, no doubt about it. But it won’t mean much if they can’t come out of today’s doubleheader on South Capitol Street without at least one more win. And if they can take the seven-inning opener this afternoon? Well, then it might be fair to start talking about legitimate positive momentum

Reinstated and ready to pitch, Voth can make light of broken nose

It might not always show, but Austin Voth is a down-to-Earth guy. It’s especially hard to notice when the majority of his meetings with the media over the past year and a half have been over Zoom conference calls. It’s always hard to get a read on someone’s personality through a computer screen. Not to mention, how often do we get to interact with a

Fedde extends scoreless innings streak as Gomes walks off Mets (updated)

It hasn’t been easy going for Erick Fedde over the last month. Almost a month ago, he was placed on the COVID-19 injured list after testing positive for the coronavirus in Chicago. That was just three days after he turned in one of the best performances of his career in Arizona. A little over three weeks after landing on the IL, he was reinstated after

Castro easing back in from restricted list, plus injury updates

The Nationals started the weekend by making a flurry of roster moves ahead of their four-game series against the Mets on Friday. Manager Davey Martinez clarified the statuses of some players while providing other updates on some injured high-profile starting pitchers before tonight’s opener. First, the roster moves: * Starlin Castro was returned from the restricted list* Austin Voth was reinstated from the 10-day injured

Game 66 lineups: Nats vs. Mets (Castro returns)

It’s hard to make too much of a weekend series against a division rival in the middle of June. But considering the circumstances surrounding this four-game series against the Mets over the next three days, you have to put some level of importance on it if you’re the Nationals. Coming off a sweep of the Pirates, riding a four-game winning streak and having won six

Weekend series with Mets is measuring stick for Nats

As they’ve completed a four-game winning streak, emerging victorious in six of their last eight games, the Nationals are facing something of an existential question: Is this legitimate evidence of a long-awaited and sustainable turnaround to a season that began horribly, or is this nothing more than a nice week against weak competition that will soon be exposed as insignificant? We may have a good

Hand returns to form, converting eight straight saves

It was a mere four weeks ago when the sight of Brad Hand taking the mound for the ninth inning was enough to cause Nationals fans to clench their teeth, sweat profusely and assume the worst was inevitable. After giving up two runs to the Orioles on May 21 and turning what should’ve been an easy win into a high-stress one, Hand found himself the

Espino delivers latest pitching gem as Nats sweep Bucs (updated)

The notion of the Nationals thriving with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Daniel Hudson all on the injured list at the same time would’ve sounded fairly ludicrous to anyone who considered that nightmare scenario two weeks ago. How could this team, deficient in pitching depth and offensive might, not only survive but actually get better with those three arms unavailable? In this most unusual season,

Castro on restricted list while dealing with family matter

The Nationals placed Starlin Castro on the restricted list today so the veteran third baseman can attend to “some family matters that he needs to attend to,” according to manager Davey Martinez. Castro informed the club of the matter prior to Tuesday night’s game and wasn’t in the starting lineup for only the second time this season. He left the ballpark prior to first pitch

Game 65 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates

The Nationals are seeking a three-game sweep of the Pirates this afternoon, which is good news. This isn’t a position they’ve been in often this season, so a chance at a series sweep and a four-game winning streak should not be taken lightly. There is, however, not-so-great news before we get to today’s game: Starlin Castro has been placed on the restricted list. What does

Two years later, Miller grateful for second chance with Nats

The last time he had pitched at Nationals Park, Justin Miller was roughed up by the Cubs. It was May 17, 2019, and after serving up a two-run homer to Kris Bryant, Miller wound up on the injured list with a rotator cuff strain. The Nats, after that loss, were 18-26 and about to reach rock bottom. Things have changed just a bit since then,

Gomes’ slam, Corbin’s gem lead Nats to easy win (updated)

If the Nationals thought Josh Harrison’s bloop RBI single to right with the bases loaded tonight was a welcome sight, imagine what they were thinking moments later when Yan Gomes connected with a fastball from Tyler Anderson. With one mighty swing, Gomes sent that pitch soaring into the left field stands and did what so few of his teammates have been able to do this

Scherzer’s brief IL stint leaves Nats needing Wednesday starter

In the end, the Nationals didn’t want to take a chance putting Max Scherzer on the mound this weekend without knowing for certain if his groin would hold up. So even though the three-time Cy Young Award winner is confident he’ll be ready to pitch again in a matter of “days, not weeks,” the club decided to go ahead and place him on the 10-day

Game 64 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates (Scherzer to IL)

First, the news of the day, not totally unexpected: The Nationals have placed Max Scherzer on the 10-day injured list with groin inflammation. The move is retroactive to Saturday, so that means he’ll be eligible to return one week from today against the Phillies. Again, no shocker here, and Scherzer certainly seems to expect he’ll be good to go by then. With a chance to

Scherzer makes case for pine tar, not stickier stuff

After offering an update on the status of a tweaked groin that will prevent him from starting Wednesday’s series finale against the Pirates, Max Scherzer offered a lengthy take on a subject matter that has become current issue No. 1 across baseball: foreign substances. With Major League Baseball attempting to crack down on pitchers using so-called “sticky stuff” to improve their grip and spin rate,

Schwarber’s power surge again propels Nats to win (updated)

Kyle Schwarber tried to act like a traditional leadoff hitter in the third inning of tonight’s series opener on South Capitol Street, attempting to use his legs to take an extra base that wasn’t there for the taking and paying the price for it. So when the opportunity to make a difference in this game came four innings later, Schwarber decided he’d be better off

Scherzer progressing, but won’t be ready to start Wednesday

Though he says his injured groin has made significant progress in each of the last three days, Max Scherzer does not believe it would be smart for him to make his scheduled start Wednesday against the Pirates. The question now is whether the Nationals decide to place their ace on the 10-day injured list or try to get by for a few days and hope

Game 63 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates

After going 3-3 against the two teams with the best records in the majors at the time (the Rays and Giants), the Nationals now host one of the worst teams in the majors the next three nights. And you’ve got to believe they believe they need to win at least two, if not all three, of these games. That’s easier said than done, of course,

Cavalli, Cronin promoted to Double-A; first All-Star votes revealed

Cade Cavalli’s dominant first six weeks of professional baseball have earned the Nationals’ top prospect a quick promotion to Double-A. The Nats are moving Cavalli and Matt Cronin from high Single-A Wilmington up to Harrisburg, rewarding both pitchers for their impressive starts to the minor league season, a source familiar with the promotions confirmed. Cavalli, the organization’s first-round draft pick last summer, has quickly rocketed

Schwarber is atypical - but productive - as leadoff hitter

Kyle Schwarber doesn’t exactly have fond memories of his initial attempt batting leadoff for the Cubs. “I stunk the first time I led off,” he said Sunday during a Zoom session with Nationals reporters. “I was terrible. I’ll be really honest: I stunk.” Schwarber’s memory is pretty accurate. He may have forgotten the two times he led off in 2015 and went 3-for-8 with a

Ross completes eight innings as Nats shut out Giants (updated)

As their two aces departed early with injuries the extent of which aren’t entirely known just yet, the Nationals were left with no choice but to call upon their longtime No. 5/6 starters to pick up the slack this weekend. Whether Erick Fedde and Joe Ross can continue to thrive under this new pressure for the long haul or not remains to be seen. Certainly,

Scherzer hopes to avoid IL, but admits it may be needed

Max Scherzer hopes to make his next scheduled start, but the Nationals ace admitted today he’ll need to be able to complete a bullpen session Monday without being too restricted by his tweaked groin muscle in order to avoid a short stint on the injured list. “That I can definitely say: I have to be able to throw a bullpen tomorrow if I’m going to

Game 62 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

To say this series has featured very little offense would be the understatement of the year. Through three games and 24 innings of baseball, the Nationals and Giants have each scored three runs. Yes, three runs. So it’s probably not unreasonable to say that the first team to score in today’s series finale is going to be in great position to win the game. The

What’s the state of the Nats pitching staff entering Sunday?

So, after all that, what’s the state of the Nationals pitching staff heading into today’s series finale against the Giants? Not as bad as it could have been, all things considered. But there are still bullpen concerns. The Nats made it through Saturday’s 15-inning doubleheader in one piece, thanks to Erick Fedde’s five scoreless innings in the opener and Jefry Rodriguez’s four scoreless innings in

Another gutsy pitching effort, but an extra-inning loss (updated)

That the Nationals found themselves with a real chance to win Friday night after Max Scherzer departed 12 pitches in with a tweaked groin was fairly remarkable. And that they found themselves again with a real chance to win tonight after giving surprise call-up Jefry Rodriguez the start against the Giants was fairly remarkable in itself. That after all that, they didn’t win either game?

Game 61 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

The Nationals pitching staff is by no means in great shape right now, but it’s in better shape than it might’ve been had Erick Fedde not delivered five scoreless innings in the opener of today’s doubleheader against the Giants. That performance has given Davey Martinez the luxury of starting Jefry Rodriguez in the nightcap but not needing the right-hander to go too deep if he’s

Fedde returns from COVID-19 IL, leads Nats to win (updated)

A long day of baseball for the Nationals began with a flurry of roster moves, moves necessitated both by pitcher usage and pitcher injury in the last 48 hours. After Max Scherzer departed Friday night’s start 12 pitches in with a tweaked groin and Daniel Hudson had to go on the 10-day IL this morning with right elbow inflammation, they had no choice but to

Hudson’s IL stint highlights flurry of roster moves

The Nationals made a flurry of roster transactions in advance of today’s doubleheader against the Giants, most of them necessitated by their need to have fresh arms for the 14 innings scheduled on the heels of what turned into a bullpen game after Max Scherzer departed with a tweaked groin after recording only one out. The promotions of right-handers Jefry Rodriguez (who may start tonight’s

Game 60 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

Here’s some good news to begin your Saturday: The clouds are beginning to clear out of the region and there is no forecast of rain today. The Nationals and Giants should have no trouble playing both ends of today’s 14-inning doubleheader. That’s about the only good news, unfortunately. The Nats just announced a swath of roster moves, a couple of them quite unexpected. Here’s the

Notes on additional fans, Robles’ spot in order and a Nats alum

Pressed unexpectedly into service when Max Scherzer sustained a groin injury while pitching to his second batter in Friday night’s game, Paolo Espino barely had time to process what had happened as he began his warmups on the mound at Nationals Park. Espino took over for Scherzer and - save for a slider that didn’t really break that Buster Posey hammered over the fence for

Scherzer’s injury exit further taxes ‘pen in 1-0 loss (updated)

Max Scherzer knew what the Nationals needed him to do Friday night, and the right-hander was game. In true ace fashion, he took the ball, expected to give a team desperately in need of some length a deep start and get the delayed opener to a four-game series against the Giants off to a good start. Everything was fine - until it wasn’t. And that

Injury forces Scherzer from game after only 12 pitches

Any hopes the Nationals had of using a deep start by Max Scherzer to rest their weary bullpen went quickly by the wayside in the first inning of Friday night’s game against the Giants. Like 12 pitches. Scherzer departed after throwing a high-and-outside ball on a 2-2 pitch to Brandon Belt. The right-hander hopped awkwardly on the mound, squatted as if trying to flex a

Fedde will rejoin rotation for Saturday twinbill

Rain continues to fall steadily at Nationals Park, the tarp is on the field and some players are running or throwing in the outfield. The Nationals are in firmly in pregame mode, even as manager Davey Martinez simultaneously plans for a single game tonight, a split doubleheader tomorrow and the possibility of back-to-back twinbills should tonight’s scheduled contest be rained out. “We’re preparing to play

Game 59 lineups: Giants at Nats

Well, the Nationals will try again tonight to send Max Scherzer to the mound to open a four-game series against the Giants. The Nationals have a ragged bullpen, even with an unscheduled off-day from Thursday night’s rainout, and need length from Scherzer, and that has a good chance of happening. For his career, the right-hander is 4-5 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.131 WHIP in

Friday morning Nats Q&A

Given the events of the previous 48 hours, the Nationals couldn’t have been too disappointed when Thursday night’s series opener against the Giants was rained out. The team was exhausted after a nine-game road trip, which ended with an 11-inning win at Tampa Bay and an overnight flight home that didn’t get them to bed until 6:30 a.m. Thursday. With the bullpen already taxed, the

Bleary-eyed Nats tried to rest up before postponed opener

The Nationals’ 11-inning win Wednesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla., ended at 11:30 p.m. The team bus departed Tropicana Field about an hour later and headed for the airport, where a charter flight awaited. That plane landed at Dulles International Airport maybe an hour before the sun rose, and by the time Davey Martinez was back in his home and put his head on his

Game 59 lineups: Nats vs. Giants

Hello from Nationals Park, which hasn’t hosted a ballgame in 11 days. Yeah, it’s been a while. The Nationals return home from a nine-game road trip in which they went 4-5, used up a lot of pitchers and took a very late-night flight back from St. Petersburg, Fla., to get here for tonight’s series opener against the Giants. They may be a bit bleary eyed

Rainey rewards Nats’ faith with first career save

Not once in his previous 101 major league relief appearances had Tanner Rainey been handed the ball with his team leading by three or fewer runs and needing only three more outs to secure a win. Certainly there were times in 2020 when the Nationals right-hander seemed deserving of such an assignment. But it hadn’t happened. That it did finally happen Wednesday night in St.

Nats battle back, then battle back again to win in 11 (updated)

All the Nationals needed to do to win tonight’s game at Tropicana Field was overcome a disastrous first inning from their starter, take an early lead thanks to three home runs, watch their bullpen blow that lead in regulation to force extra innings, score two runs in the top of the 10th with a rare display of situational hitting, watch their closer blow that lead

Strasburg not throwing yet, may see another specialist

More than a week removed from his latest start cut short by injury, Stephen Strasburg remains shut down from throwing and may be headed to see another specialist, who will attempt to figure out what precisely is causing the nerve irritation in his neck that has shelved the right-hander once again. Strasburg, who last pitched June 1 in Atlanta, was placed on the 10-day injured

Game 58 lineups: Nats at Rays

The Nationals, as you know by now, have not been a productive offensive team this season. But they have been more productive when facing a left-hander. Their .679 OPS versus righties ranks 20th in the majors, but their .759 OPS versus lefties ranks 11th. So maybe, just maybe, tonight’s game against Rays left-hander Shane McClanahan offers an opportunity to score some early runs and set

On the critical play at the plate that cost the Nats

For a team that knows run-scoring opportunities are few and far between, this was a moment to perk up. With one out in the top of the seventh Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, the Nationals had Josh Bell on second base, Josh Harrison at the plate and a 3-1 deficit to the Rays on the scoreboard. And when Harrison promptly lined a base hit to

Nats again can’t convert with bases loaded, lose 3-1 (updated)

You wanted to believe it would be different this time. Really, aren’t teams supposed to be excited to bat with the bases loaded? The pressure’s on the pitcher, not the hitter. It’s the best situation for anyone with a bat in his hands. Anyone except the 2021 Nationals, who have turned a bases-loaded plate appearance into the most agonizing two minutes in sports. So when

Voth out “for some time” after surgery to repair nose

Austin Voth is recovering from surgery to repair multiple fractures in his nose, and though the Nationals right-hander is feeling fine after getting hit by a fastball during Sunday’s game in Philadelphia, he will need some time to heal before returning to pitch. In addition to needing to have his nose reset in multiple places during Monday’s surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia,

Game 57 lineups: Nats at Rays

A three-city road trip that began in promising fashion, with two wins in three days in Atlanta, now reaches its final leg with the Nationals now needing a strong finish against a tough opponent. Having lost three of their last four (including two straight in Philadelphia over the weekend), the Nats tonight open a quick two-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla., against a Rays club

Checking in on the Nationals farm system

The minor league season is now in full swing. Teams have played five series, each of them lasting six games (with a few postponements along the way). So we’re starting to get a better sample size to evaluate players’ performances. The Nationals farm system, as has been well documented, is a work in progress. But there have been signs of life in recent weeks, with

Is the bullpen starting to show cracks?

The Nationals believed they were going to enter the season with as deep a bullpen as they’ve had in some time. With new closer Brad Hand joining experienced late-inning right-handers Daniel Hudson and Will Harris, plus up-and-comers Tanner Rainey, Wander Suero and Kyle Finnegan, the Nats were reasonably confident they had an ample supply of arms to win games late. Fifty-six games into a 162-game

Voth hit in face during disastrous series finale (updated)

There were events out of their control, from their starter for this bullpen game, Austin Voth, taking a fastball to his face in the top of the third to a string of poorly struck balls by the Phillies that somehow didn’t become outs to a 20-minute delay in the top of the eighth after the backstop netting at Citizens Bank Park collapsed. (Yes, that last

Fedde appears ready to rejoin rotation, Gomes out again

Though circumstances dictated they go with a bullpen game this afternoon in Philadelphia - Austin Voth will start, for those who haven’t heard yet - the Nationals shouldn’t need to take this unconventional route again unless someone else gets hurt. That’s because Erick Fedde appears ready to return from the COVID-19 injured list after making a five-inning rehab start Saturday for Single-A Wilmington. Fedde, whose

Game 56 lineups: Nats at Phillies

We’ve been wondering for days now who would be starting the Nationals’ series finale in Philadelphia, taking Stephen Strasburg’s spot in the rotation. Well, we finally have our answer. Today’s starter will be ... Austin Voth. Manager Davey Martinez came to that decision based on the fact Voth has been a starter his whole career up until this season, and he’s had four days off

Who’s going to start for the Nationals today?

Who’s the Nationals’ starting pitcher today? This wouldn’t normally be a question without a definitive answer hours before first pitch, but it is the case for today’s series finale in Philadelphia. That’s because the Nats are choosing to go with a bullpen game this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. Not necessarily because they want to, but because they believe it’s their best option at this

Ross not perfect enough to overcome weak lineup (updated)

The Nationals pitching staff has been far from perfect through the season’s first two-plus months, but too often that group has seemingly done enough to emerge victorious only to take a loss because its cohorts in the lineup weren’t able to provide ample support. This afternoon in Philadelphia, Joe Ross and Kyle McGowin collectively gave up three hits and six total baserunners through seven innings.

Gomes sits for third straight day, Sunday starter still TBD

Yan Gomes is out of the Nationals lineup for the third straight day with a tight right hamstring, and until the veteran catcher can comfortably squat behind the plate for an entire game without being hindered, he’ll remain out of the Nationals lineup. “This is going to be a day-to-day thing with him,” manager Davey Martinez said in his Zoom session with reporters before today’s

Game 55 lineups: Nats at Phillies

The Nationals managed to turn two runs and six hits into a win Friday night. They did so thanks to Max Scherzer’s dominance over 7 2/3 innings, then Daniel Hudson and Brad Hand’s relief work after that. In order to win today in Philadelphia, they’re either going to need a comparable effort from Joe Ross and any relievers who follow him or a much more

Scherzer’s start may have made Nats’ Sunday starter plan clearer

Every team is bound to run into this conundrum over the course of a 162-game season: The need for a replacement starting pitcher. With off-days, rainouts and injuries - all while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic this season and last - it happens more often than managers would like. But that comes with the job. Nationals manager Davey Martinez has been dealing with this issue

Avila sticks to fundamentals to seal victory over Phillies

Baseball is an easy game, right? Throw ball, hit ball, catch ball. Tag runner out with ball when not on a base. At least that’s how easy Alex Avila made it seem while making the heads-up play of the game Friday night to preserve the Nationals’ 2-1 win over the Phillies. The stage was set for some late-inning drama. Entering the ninth inning, the Nationals

Scherzer wins duel with Wheeler as Nats beat Phillies (updated)

The script couldn’t have gone any better for manager Davey Martinez and the Nationals on Friday night. Unsure of his starting pitcher for Sunday’s series finale in Philadelphia, and needing length from his next two starters to preserve the bullpen, Martinez turned to Max Scherzer to provide one of his usual deep outings to start this series against a division rival. And Scherzer did just

Schwarber back in left field, Gomes sits again with hamstring issue

It’s easy for baseball players and fans alike to be superstitious. So when manager Davey Martinez said the other day that the Nationals were finally “healthy,” it wasn’t hard to imagine all of the shaking of heads and palming of foreheads around the region, expecting another injury to happen after some good health news. Well, that’s what the Nationals got Friday afternoon before their series

Game 54 lineups: Nats at Phillies

Tonight will be the Nationals’ 54th game of the season, which means we are at the one-third mark of the 2021 campaign. At 23-30, the Nationals are tied with the Marlins, six games back of the division-leading Mets, but only two games back of this weekend’s opponent, the Phillies. Yet another opportunity for the Nats to gain some ground in the National League East. And

With a key single, then two blasts, Soto found his swing

Juan Soto became Juan Soto again - not on the two-run homer he hit for the Nationals in the eighth inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, not on the two-run homer he hit in the fifth inning Wednesday night in Atlanta. Juan Soto became Juan Soto again when he took an outside fastball from Braves left-hander Max Fried and hit a line drive single to left

Nats go silent at the plate, can’t win series in Atlanta (updated)

If they were going to produce a three-game winning streak and win a key road series against a division rival, the Nationals were going to need quality and length today from Patrick Corbin, plus a continuation of the power display their lineup showed the previous 48 hours. They almost got the first. They didn’t come close to getting the latter. Corbin was outstanding for five

Schwarber sits to rest sore knee, Sunday’s starter is TBD

When Kyle Schwarber walked into Davey Martinez’s office this morning in Atlanta, the Nationals left fielder told his manager his right knee was still sore after a hard landing while attempting to make a diving catch Wednesday night. Martinez told Schwarber he wouldn’t be starting this afternoon’s series finale against the Braves, but to get treatment on his knee, and then if he thinks he

Game 53 lineups: Nats at Braves

The Nationals have a chance this afternoon to take three of four from the Braves, and who saw that coming a few days ago? They’ve put themselves in position with a combination of power at the plate (four homers the last two nights), one gutsy start on short rest (Jon Lester) and a whole lot of innings out of their bullpen (11 innings the last

Gomes’ return to top throwing form making a big difference

There’s no secret to Yan Gomes’ success throwing out baserunners this season. Just a lot of hard work and some attention to getting the ball out of his hand as quickly as possible. Whether it’s complicated or not, the mere fact Gomes is throwing out so many opponents is music to the Nationals’ ears. After struggling mightily in this department in recent years, they’re finally

Nationals win the late innings to beat Braves (updated)

The Nationals hadn’t been in very many games like this in 2021. Back-and-forth affairs with late-night swings of leads and emotions were the norm during their championship run in 2019 and also were a regular occurrence during their disappointing 2020 season. This year? Most games saw one team take an early lead and hold it late, with very little late drama. That made tonight’s contest

Game 52 lineups: Nats at Braves

We’ve seen the Nationals put together isolated offensive explosions this season. Seven times they’ve scored seven or more runs. How have they done in their next game? They’ve averaged three runs. So there’s been an issue with sustaining offensive success. Tonight the Nats will try to finally do that and put together back-to-back big performances at the plate in the wake of their 11-6 victory

Strasburg placed on 10-day IL with neck strain (updated)

The Nationals have placed Stephen Strasburg on the 10-day injured list with a neck strain after sending the right-hander back to Washington for an MRI. Kyle McGowin, who was already in Atlanta as part of the club’s traveling taxi squad, was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take Strasburg’s roster spot and provide another fresh arm for tonight’s game against the Braves, in which Jon Lester

Strasburg’s latest ailment has ripple effect on entire staff

For all the positive things that happened Tuesday night during the Nationals’ 11-6 win in Atlanta, the departure of Stephen Strasburg in the bottom of the second with yet another physical ailment was by far the most significant development of the evening. And it’s not simply because of what this means for Strasburg, who reported tightness in his right trapezius muscle and will undergo an

Strasburg exits early, Nats pick him up with 11-6 win (updated)

On a night when Stephen Strasburg once again looked off and was pulled in the second inning - officially due to a tight trapezius muscle in his upper right back that will require an MRI in the morning - the Nationals found themselves faced with a dilemma. Having already lost five straight with a lineup that has turned the act of driving in a run

Lester to start Wednesday night on short rest

The Nationals won’t be turning to a sixth starter to take the mound in a pinch Wednesday night. They’ll instead ask the oldest player on their roster to pitch on short rest against the Braves. Jon Lester, who started the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Brewers, will return to pitch at Truist Park in Atlanta on only three days’ rest, manager Davey Martinez revealed

Game 51 lineups: Nats at Braves

May was not kind to the Nationals, who went 11-17 and fell to a season-worst eight games under .500. If you’re looking for silver linings, though, they were outscored for the month by only five runs (116-111). The average score of their wins was roughly 7-3. The average score of their losses was roughly 5-2. The point, if there is one: When the Nats hit,

Four-strikeout game highlights Turner’s breaking ball issue

The first strikeout came on a curveball, down and away, out of the zone. The second strikeout came on a curveball, down and away, though barely in the zone. The third strikeout actually came on a fastball, up in the zone, but only after he had seen three curveballs and a cutter down. And the fourth strikeout came on a slider, the fifth such pitch

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