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Reality begins to set in for Nats on day two of rebuild (updated)

If Day 1 of the next era of Nationals baseball offered everyone a glimpse at what could still make the rest of this season fun, Day 2 offered a harsh reminder of how rough the next two months could still be. During a 6-3 loss to the Cubs, the rebuilding Nats showed little of the youthful energy and talent that was on display during Friday

Reliever Thompson is first acquisition to join Nats

The first of the 12 prospects the Nationals acquired before this week’s trade deadline has joined the active roster. Mason Thompson, a reliever the Nats received from the Padres for Daniel Hudson late Thursday night, has arrived in Washington and was formally placed on the 26-man roster for tonight’s game against the Cubs. The 23-year-old right-hander does have some big league experience, having debuted for

Game 104 lineups: Nats vs. Cubs

At the end of an emotional 36-hour stretch for a completely gutted Nationals roster was this perhaps unexpected fact: The Nats not only beat the Cubs on Friday night, they also picked up a game on everyone in front of them in the National League East. They’re now 6 1/2 games back of the Mets. No, the front office isn’t suddenly regretting their decision to

Newly acquired players have reshaped Nats farm system

It will be years before anyone can know if the Nationals got enough legitimate prospects during their 36-hour trade deadline binge of 2021 to lift the franchise back into contention. As much as folks want to instantly grade a team’s performance on trades, it simply can’t be done until all involved players have a chance to prove who they are on the field. But this

New-look Nationals start off new era with win (updated)

The reboot of the Washington Nationals began tonight with a 34-year-old journeyman on the mound, a 22-year-old superstar batting third, a major-league cleanup hitter batting behind him, and a bunch of other assorted parts surrounding them. Some are potential parts of the franchise’s future, some are not. It may have left a majority in the crowd of 33,882 sad, angry, intrigued, maybe even excited for

Game 103 lineups: Nats vs. Cubs (plus roster moves)

Hey, don’t forget: There’s still a baseball game to be played tonight! After the Nationals made six franchise-altering trades over the last 24 hours that netted them 12 new prospects for eight veterans, manager Davey Martinez’s new-look team now has to turn its attention to a three-game series against the Cubs, who will also have a new-look roster. Originally, it appeared that Jon Lester was

Eight veterans in total dealt before deadline (updated)

When the clock reached 4 p.m. and it was all said and done, the Nationals had traded away eight veterans off their 2021 roster, four of them key contributors to the club’s World Series title only 21 months ago. In their place will come 12 prospects of varying pedigrees from six other organizations, all of them now trying to win this season while the Nats

MLB suspends Castro 30 games, Nats will release him

Major League Baseball has suspended Starlin Castro for 30 days for violating the league’s domestic abuse policy, and the Nationals subsequently announced they will release the veteran infielder once he completes the suspension. “My office has completed its investigation into the allegations that Starlin Castro violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in the

Source: Nats agree to terms with first-round pick House

As they continue to tear down their 2021 roster in the final hours leading up to today’s trade deadline, the Nationals took a key step in their quest to rebuild the franchise back up in the coming years, agreeing to a deal with recent first-round draft pick Brady House. The agreement, first reported by Baseball America and confirmed by a source familiar with the signing,

The breaking up of a champion, and the task of building another

Breaking up is hard to do. How do you cut ties with your first true love, say goodbye to someone who brought you so much joy, explain to them you’re finally ready to move on? How do you do it? First, you come to the realization yourself that it’s time. Then you suck it up, tell it to their face in simple, honest terms, tell

Schwarber to Red Sox, Hudson to Padres (updated)

The dismantling of the Nationals’ 2021 roster continued into the night when general manager Mike Rizzo struck deals to send Kyle Schwarber to the Red Sox and Daniel Hudson to the Padres in exchange for three more prospects in total, this only hours after agreeing to a blockbuster trade that will send Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers, this after starting the day

Source: Nats finalizing deal to send Scherzer, Turner to L.A.

The Nationals aren’t just trading Max Scherzer to a National League West contender. They’re also including Trea Turner in the deal. A blockbuster trade that will send both Scherzer and Turner to Los Angeles for four young players, headlined by the Dodgers’ two top-rated prospects (catcher Keibert Ruiz and right-hander Josiah Gray), is in the final stages of being approved by all affected parties, a

Nationals still evaluating trade offers for Scherzer

The Nationals are still evaluating trade offers for ace Max Scherzer, with the Padres having put forth a package of prospects that might be enough but other contenders still attempting to top it, according to sources familiar with the discussions. Despite a late-afternoon report by The Athletic that general manager Mike Rizzo was close to a deal with San Diego, sources said nothing has been

With chance for sweep, Nats collapse in loss to Phillies (updated)

Would you believe me if I told you this morning that the Nationals would have a very good chance to sweep the Phillies in today’s doubleheader after a COVID-19 outbreak in the visitors’ clubhouse, trade rumors heating up about Washington’s first starting pitching, an ominous forecast all day in Philadelphia and blowing a 7-0 lead in the second game? Well, they did have a chance,

Game 102 lineups: Nats at Phillies

As if there hasn’t been enough drama already today, there’s still another ballgame to be played in Philadelphia! The Nationals and Phillies face off one more time, with another scheduled seven-inning game. And with a big line of thunderstorms bearing down on the area at some point later this afternoon, it may be a good thing the game is only scheduled for seven innings. Patrick

Scherzer earns win in presumably last Nats start (updated)

The last 24 hours for the Nationals have been hectic, to say the least. But they are just the latest episodes in what has been a chaotic and unprecedented start to the second half for the fading ballclub. With a COVID-19 outbreak, trade rumors swirling, bad weather approaching and a doubleheader to play, what message did manager Davey Martinez deliver to his players this morning

Nats’ first trade: Hand to Blue Jays for catching prospect

The first of several deals the Nationals are expected to make over the next 28 hours was finalized today when closer Brad Hand was traded to the Blue Jays for catching prospect Riley Adams. The trade was announced by the Nats during the first inning of their game against the Phillies but apparently processed prior to first pitch, because outfielder Yadiel Hernandez was recalled from

Scherzer starting in Philly, four players go on COVID-19 IL

Max Scherzer will start today’s doubleheader opener in Philadelphia in what could very well be both his swan song after seven seasons with the Nationals and one last showcase for scouts of several clubs interested in acquiring the three-time Cy Young Award winner before Friday afternoon’s trade deadline. Scherzer will take the mound at Citizens Bank Park for a Nationals team that needed to place

Game 101 lineups: Nats at Phillies (plus roster moves)

All eyes will be fixated on the transaction wire over the next 30 hours or so, not only as we get closer to tomorrow’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, but also because the Nationals had to make a number of roster moves this morning after 13 members (four players, nine staffers) tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. Not to mention the potential of needing to fill other

Nationals left to prepare for another wild, uncertain day

What does today have in store for the Nationals? It should be a fairly straightforward question, but the way things have been going around here lately, anything and everything feels possible. If the day goes according to plan, the Nats and Phillies will play 14 innings of baseball, beginning at 12:05 p.m. We don’t yet know who’s pitching either of those games, but Patrick Corbin

Nats’ game off after four players, eight others test positive

The wildest week in recent Nationals history took another unexpected turn when Major League Baseball announced tonight’s game in Philadelphia is being postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak following Tuesday night’s revelation that Trea Turner tested positive for the coronavirus. MLB made the announcement at 5:45 p.m., saying the third game of this planned four-game series against the Phillies was called off “to allow for

Strasburg news should be final indicator it’s time to rebuild

It’s impossible not to consider this week one of the most consequential in Nationals history. We don’t yet know how it will end, but based on what has already transpired and what could be coming next, the ramifications for the franchise - both in the short- and long-term - are enormous. It would be one thing if this was strictly about Friday’s trade deadline, but

Turner leaves after positive test, Hand closes out win (updated)

As if this week’s events - and the prospect of events still to come - hadn’t already left the Nationals and all who observe them on edge, here now was the sight of Trea Turner departing tonight’s game in Philadelphia after scoring on Josh Bell’s top-of-the-first homer. Given the date on the calendar and the organization’s July freefall, it wasn’t inappropriate to immediately wonder if

Strasburg to have career-altering thoracic outlet surgery

A week that already was shaping up to be one of the saddest in the Nationals’ recent history was jolted by another dagger of bad news today: Stephen Strasburg needs surgery for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, a potentially career-altering injury. Strasburg’s diagnosis came Monday night after an examination by specialist Gregory Pearl, the same Dallas doctor who performed thoracic outlet surgery on Nationals reliever Will

Game 100 lineups: Nats at Phillies

In what is shaping up to be one of the most significant weeks in club history, the Nationals do still have games to play every night. It may be too late for their performance on the field to change the front office’s mind about what comes next, but they will be taking the field nonetheless and attempting to win a game against the Phillies. Losers

How far are Nats willing to go in selling at the deadline?

The Nationals are going to be sellers this week, of that there can be no doubt at this point. If it wasn’t already clear after Sunday’s walk-off loss in Baltimore, it surely was after Monday’s walk-off loss in Philadelphia. But there are different approaches to selling at the trade deadline, and that’s where the real intrigue comes in as general manager Mike Rizzo starts fielding

Hand blows another save, Nats collapse in Philly (updated)

Whatever the rest of this week has in store, of one thing you can be sure: Davey Martinez is going to keep encouraging his Nationals to block out whatever trade deadline chatter they’re hearing and just concentrate on that night’s task. “That message stands firm. I want them to focus on today,” the fourth-year manager said on Zoom prior to tonight’s series opener in Philadelphia.

Nats waiting to name Scherzer as Thursday’s starter

In unveiling their rotation plan for this week’s series in Philadelphia, the Nationals declined to name a starter for Thursday’s game at Citizens Bank Park. That, of course, is Max Scherzer’s spot, and the reason they haven’t officially named him their starter yet is because they’re waiting to see if his right triceps feels fine after a minor tweak last week. Scherzer went through a

Game 99 lineups: Nats at Phillies

Just how dire has the Nationals’ predicament become? Well, consider the following ... The Nats are 5-15 this month. That’s the worst 20-game stretch this team has experienced since June/July 2018. And prior to that, it hadn’t happened since 2010, the last time the franchise lost 90 games in a season. What does that mean? Well, there are 64 games now left. The best 64-game

Martinez not losing confidence in enigmatic Robles

Just because Victor Robles is struggling at the plate and has lost his stranglehold on the Nationals’ center field job doesn’t mean manager Davey Martinez has lost confidence in the enigmatic 24-year-old. It wasn’t that long ago that Robles was atop the club’s prospect list - yes, even ahead of Juan Soto - and the fact that he’s followed the club’s instructions to shed the

Hand coughs up lead in ninth, Nats are swept by O’s (updated)

Caught in a bad riddle with no easy answer, the Nationals can’t seem to decide whether they’re struggling more to keep opposing hitters at bay or whether their sagging offense is putting additional unnecessary pressure on a pitching staff that’s been stretched thin. Actually both are intertwined, and one swing of Ryan Zimmerman’s bat almost proved enough to save the Nats from a sweep and

Strasburg seeing specialist, Ross to start Monday (plus notes)

Stephen Strasburg continues to recover his neck strain, and the right-hander will see another specialist Monday in hopes of figuring out how to combat the nagging problem. “He’s scheduled to see someone tomorrow,” manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame Zoom session with reporters. The Nationals are trying to determine why Strasburg can play long toss without any problems, but feels the neck issue when

Game 98 lineups: Nats at Orioles

Needing a win to prevent a three-game sweep by the Orioles at Camden Yards, the Nationals today turn to a most unlikely pitcher to halt a three-game skid, secure a win in the season series against the Birds and provide some momentum heading into a four-game series in Philadelphia that could make or break Washington’s campaign. Righty Paolo Espino (2-2, 3.00 ERA) is 2-1 with

Martinez on Ross, Schwarber, Kieboom, Scherzer and trade talk

Right-hander Joe Ross came through his Friday bullpen session without any issues, and could be an option to start Monday’s opener of a four-game series in Philadelphia, Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. Ross, who is 5-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 16 starts this season, has been on the injured list since July 8 with right elbow inflammation. “He threw the ball well (and) he

Orioles blasts upend Lester in 5-3 loss (updated)

Though Davey Martinez may rely on a “Go 1-0 every day” mantra, the unspoken subtext of the Nationals manager’s repetitive refrain is that his team must take care of business by asserting itself against weaker competition. Seeking to prove to general manager Mike Rizzo that they are contenders instead of pretenders, the Nats came to Camden Yards hoping to have their way with an inferior

Triceps discomfort scratches Scherzer from start vs. Orioles

Neither Nationals manager Davey Martinez nor Max Scherzer believe the mild right triceps discomfort that caused the right-hander to be scratched from Saturday’s starting assignment against the Orioles is anything serious. But out of an abundance of caution - which might as well be baseball’s unofficial motto for 2021 - the Nats opted to let Scherzer rest and chose lefty Jon Lester to start the

Game 97 lineups: Nats at Orioles (Scherzer scratched)

The Nationals need a stopper, someone to prevent a single loss from turning into a losing streak and give them some momentum against a weaker opponent. Facing the Orioles in the middle of three interleague games at Camden Yards, it seemed right-hander Max Scherzer (7-4, 2.83 ERA) would be just the tonic for what ails the Nats. In his career, Scherzer is 7-2 with a

Could Stevenson supplant Robles in center field?

Andrew Stevenson has played an important role for the Nationals since debuting in 2017. A left-handed hitter who can play all three outfield positions with a great glove and speed that also poses a threat on the basepaths is a manager’s dream player off the bench. The only role Stevenson hasn’t played is that of a regular starter, aside from filing in for players dealing

Corbin can’t sustain command in loss to Orioles (updated)

It’s been an up-and-down season for Patrick Corbin so far in 2021. After struggling out of the gate, he seemed to have fixed his issues for a couple of starts. Then they resurfaced before a couple of strong outings ahead of the All-Star break. But Corbin did not get the second half off on the right foot after giving up six runs and 10 hits

Strasburg backed down after continued issues with neck

A frustrating 21 months since being named the 2019 World Series Most Valuable Player continues for Stephen Strasburg, who once again experienced neck pain while throwing during his latest bullpen session. The veteran right-hander was able to throw a bullpen session and then long toss earlier this week, but his second bullpen session caused more discomfort in his neck and forced the Nationals to keep

Game 96 lineups: Nats at Orioles

This season’s edition of the Battle of the Beltways concludes this weekend in Baltimore after the Nationals swept the Orioles in D.C. in May. Manager Davey Martinez has been asked a lot recently about how he can use Josh Bell and Ryan Zimmerman in the same lineup, with Bell getting some reps in left field during batting practice recently and Zimmerman trying to get his

Rizzo’s plan for Cavalli doesn’t appear to include D.C. in 2021

There may no prospect in baseball, certainly no pitching prospect, whose stock has risen around the sport this season more than Cade Cavalli. The Nationals felt all along they had something special in their 2020 first-round draft pick. Now the rest of the industry is catching on and recognizing the right-hander’s immense talent and potential, which was on full display during the All-Star Futures Game

Thursday morning Nats Q&A

The All-Star break ended one week ago, and suffice to say, it’s been an awfully eventful first week back for the Nationals. There’s been some good. There’s been some bad. And there’s been some chaos, as well. This is a critical stretch of the season for the Nats, who begin the day six games back of the Mets, still five games under .500 at 45-50.

Nats can’t get ahead in regulation, lose in 10th (updated)

They waited all night for the hit that would break a deadlocked ballgame. Just one hit at the right moment to drive in the go-ahead run and put them on a path to sweep the Marlins. And when the Nationals couldn’t get the job done during nine innings of traditional baseball, they were left to try to do it in extra innings of non-traditional baseball.

As Gomes and Avila rehab, Barrera earning starts behind plate

When the All-Star break arrived and they found themselves without either of their two experienced catchers due to injury, the Nationals elected not to go with a pair of rookies and instead signed 37-year-old René Rivera, who had recently been released by Cleveland. And then they thrust Rivera right into the lineup for Friday’s second-half opener against the Padres, then again Saturday night. Rivera was

Game 95 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

The Nationals find themselves in a position to sweep the Marlins tonight, and that’s exactly the position they hoped to be in at the start of this critical week. They’ve taken advantage of a softer schedule, and now they’ll try to take complete advantage of it and win their third straight over Miami, fourth straight overall. Erick Fedde gets the start, and he’ll look to

Nats won’t decide to buy or sell until right before deadline

If their general manager is to be believed, the Nationals have nine more days to prove they deserve to be trade deadline buyers and not sellers. Mike Rizzo, taking questions from beat reporters Tuesday for the first time since April, outlined a two-pronged approach he plans to take as the July 30 trade deadline approaches. He could decide to buy or he could decide to

Big names rise to occasion, rally Nats to victory (updated)

If they’re going to make their move over the next week and a half and convince their general manager he should buy at the trade deadline, the Nationals are going to have to win games on the shoulders of their stars. That’s what Mike Rizzo said this afternoon in discussing how his roster, depleted by injuries, could still find a path to contention in a

Rizzo: Nationals don’t plan for Castro to return to team

General manager Mike Rizzo spoke out forcefully against Starlin Castro and the recent domestic violence allegation made against the Nationals third baseman, accepting responsibility for signing him despite a previous allegation of sexual assault and saying he does not expect Castro to return to play for his team. “I am not planning on having Starlin Castro back,” Rizzo said this afternoon outside the dugout at

Game 94 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

The Nationals couldn’t have gotten their week off to a better start than they did Monday night, thrashing the Marlins 18-1 and getting seven scoreless innings out of Jon Lester. Tonight we find out if that was the start of something big, or just a one-night blip. It’s probably too much to ask Paolo Espino to toss seven scoreless innings himself, but the journeyman right-hander

What it would take for Bell and Zimmerman to start together

Given the losses his team has sustained elsewhere around the field, Nationals manager Davey Martinez has been toying with the idea of using Josh Bell in left field on occasion as a means of getting Ryan Zimmerman into the lineup alongside his usual first base platoon partner. But in order for that plan to work, not only does Bell have to prove he can handle

Nats hammer Marlins behind Lester’s arm and bat (updated)

They knew the schedule was about to ease up. They just needed to get through a daunting 14-game stretch against the National League West’s three contenders, sandwiched around the All-Star break, and then hope the tide would begin to turn once they had a chance to start facing lesser competition. And if tonight’s 18-1 thrashing of the last-place Marlins is a sign of things to

Strasburg throwing off mound again with no issues

There are still several more steps he’ll need to take - critical steps - before he’s ready to pitch for the Nationals, but Stephen Strasburg took an important one today when he threw 32 pitches off the bullpen mound and had no complaints afterward about his neck. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow, but he threw the ball well,” manager Davey Martinez said in his

Game 93 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

At last, the Nationals have completed the toughest portion of their schedule, a 17-game gauntlet against the Mets, Rays, Dodgers, Padres, Giants and Padres (again) that proved every bit as difficult as you’d have thought, even moreso given their depleted roster. They finished that stretch 6-11, though against the National League West contenders, they were 3-11. Not very good. Fortunately, the schedule finally eases up

Soto carrying Home Run Derby success into second half

It was supposed to be a joke, the notion that the Home Run Derby might actually fix Juan Soto’s swing after a first half that saw the Nationals slugger pound baseballs into the ground and fail to elevate them into the air. But Soto himself suggested he thought the idea had some merit. And when he promptly eliminated fan favorite Shohei Ohtani in the first

Escobar’s ninth-inning hit caps emotional win for Nats (updated)

At the end of a weekend dominated by tragic events that occurred outside Nationals Park, the energy level inside the ballpark was understandably down. Some of that had to do with circumstances out of the home team’s control, but some of it also had to do with the performance that team had put forth against a Padres club that clearly looked superior throughout the series.

Game 92 lineups: Nats vs. Padres

There is one more game to play today, one more game for the Nationals before they are through a grueling stretch against the National League West’s three contenders that has left their season on the brink. They’ve gone 2-11 against the Dodgers, Giants and Padres entering this series finale with San Diego. It’s been pretty ugly. But there’s a chance to salvage one win now,

Shaken by shooting, Nats return and lose suspended game

Nationals Park public address announcer Jerome Hruska thanked D.C. Police, Fire and EMS responders, stadium personnel and fans themselves for the way they responded to Saturday night’s shooting on South Capitol Street and the subsequent chaos inside the ballpark. The smaller-than-usual crowd in attendance applauded. And then the Padres took the field, Pierce Johnson began his warm-up tosses, Victor Robles made his way to the

A Saturday night at the ballpark unlike any other

It happened a split second after Kyle Finnegan struck out Wil Myers to end the top of the sixth. As the Nationals started to make their way off the field at the conclusion of a frustrating half-inning that saw their 5-4 deficit to the Padres balloon into an 8-4 deficit, the shots could clearly be heard. There were maybe five or six of them in

Game suspended after three shot outside Nats Park (updated)

The Nationals’ game against the Padres tonight came to an abrupt halt after a shooting took place outside Nationals Park following the top of the sixth inning. Moments after Kyle Finnegan struck out Wil Myers to end the half-inning around 9:30 p.m., with the Padres leading 8-4, a series of approximately five or six gunshots could be heard emanating from behind the third base stands.

Rehab for Strasburg, Ross slowed by discomfort

Stephen Strasburg’s return from a neck injury has been slowed after the right-hander felt discomfort after facing live hitters last week prior to the Nationals’ game in San Francisco. Strasburg made it through his July 9 simulated game against teammates at Oracle Park without any significant issues, manager Davey Martinez said, but the problem in his neck cropped up after the fact. “After talking to

Game 91 lineups: Nats vs. Padres

You couldn’t have drawn up a worse script for the first day coming out of the All-Star break from the Nationals’ perspective that what transpired before and during Friday night’s 24-8 loss to the Padres. So on some level, you have to be confident tonight has to be better, right? First and foremost, though, the Nats desperately need a quality start after Erick Fedde retired

Rivera thrown into fire as latest catcher to join Nats

René Rivera has played for 10 different major league clubs over 13 seasons, none of them for more than a total of 130 games, so it’s not exactly unusual for the veteran catcher to find himself scrambling to get to know a new team on the fly. Still, what Rivera experienced Friday night hours after signing with the Nationals - catching a 4-hour, 15-minute marathon

Nats ransacked by Padres in second-half opener (updated)

Had this performance come last weekend, with the Nationals on fumes at the end of a brutal stretch heading into the All-Star break, it might’ve been understandable. Annoying, but understandable, given the circumstances. But for this to happen in the first game out of the break? With everyone refreshed and ready to go again? That isn’t going to sit well with anyone employed by the

Nats change tune on Castro after domestic violence allegation

When Starlin Castro needed to leave the club for two days last month to deal with what was referred to as a “family matter,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez did not hesitate to throw his full support behind the veteran infielder. “I 100 percent support him,” Martinez said June 16 during a Zoom session with reporters. “We all support him here with the Nationals.” This afternoon,

Game 90 lineups: Nats vs. Padres

And we’re back. The second half of the season gets underway tonight on South Capitol Street, and before Erick Fedde throws the first pitch, there’s already been plenty of news. For those who didn’t see it earlier: Starlin Castro has been placed on administrative leave while Major League Baseball investigates an allegation of domestic violence. Jordy Mercer has been activated off the 10-day injured list

Castro goes on administrative leave, Nats add catcher Rivera

Major League Baseball placed Starlin Castro on administrative leave this afternoon while the league investigates an allegation that the Nationals third baseman committed domestic violence. In a brief release announcing the transaction, MLB said Castro has been placed on leave “under the Joint MLB-MLBPA Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.” Per the policy, the initial period of administrative leave may last up to

After limping into break, rested Nats need to start thriving

The Nationals closed out the season’s first half with their toughest two-week stretch to date: 14 games in 14 days, all of them against contenders. The goal at the time: Survive and reach the All-Star break in one piece. How’d they do? Things started off swimmingly with three straight wins over the Mets and Rays. Then Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber got hurt just as

Nationals second-half storylines

A roller coaster of a first half ended for the Nationals last weekend with a sweep in San Francisco, the final unexpected twist to 3 1/2 months of baseball that featured all kinds of unexpected twists. What, then, do the next 2 1/2 months have in store for this team? Can anyone truly say they know? You can make a compelling case for just about

Nationals’ first-half report card

This wasn’t the best first half in Nationals history, nor was it the worst. It was arguably the most eventful they’ve ever had, a 3 1/2-month roller coaster ride that began with a shocking drop (the COVID-19 outbreak), slowly began to climb back up, then gave everyone a June thrill ride before hitting some major bumps in early July. The end result of all that

Scherzer and Soto lead Nats All-Stars in Midsummer Classic

Although the American League won its eighth straight All-Star Game 5-2, the Nationals were well represented on the National League side Tuesday night. In taking the mound to kick off the game at Coors Field in Denver, Max Scherzer went from one of the last players named to the NL roster to making his fourth Midsummer Classic start. He is now one of just six

Nats trade Lobstein to Brewers for cash considerations

Just because it’s the All-Star break that doesn’t mean teams can’t make roster moves and trades this week, although Major League Baseball probably prefers no major moves are made to take attention away from its midsummer showcase of the sport’s best players. Commissioner Rob Manfred doesn’t have to worry about that because this move won’t be headline news as the All-Star Game gets underway later

Draft tracker: Nats make final picks of 2021 draft (multiple updates)

The 2021 First-Year Player Draft concludes today with the 11th through 20th rounds, as the Nationals continue to fortify their farm system with young talent. With picks in each of the first 10 rounds, the Nationals have strayed away from their traditional approach of stocking up on pitchers by selecting seven position players and only three hurlers over the first half of this draft, headlined

If Nats are going to make a run, stars must lead the way

Seven major league clubs will have four or more players representing them tonight at Coors Field in the All-Star Game. Five of those clubs (the Dodgers, Padres, Brewers, Red Sox and Astros) entered the break in possession of a postseason berth, and a sixth (the Blue Jays) owns a winning record. The seventh? That would be the Nationals, who despite climbing two games over the

Soto’s Home Run Derby charge ends in semifinal loss to Alonso

Maybe Juan Soto was drained from his first-round victory in Monday night’s Home Run Derby at Coors Field, when he vanquished the favored Shohei Ohtani of the Angels in a three-swing swing-off to advance to the semifinals against the Mets’ Pete Alonso. Perhaps his hand-selected pitcher, Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long, tired as the night went along, failing to deliver enough pitches to Soto’s up-and-in

Draft tracker: Nats continue adding players with second-day picks (multiple updates)

The First-Year Player Draft continued today with the second through 10th rounds, and the Nationals continued to stock up on hitters in the early portion of Tuesday’s action. In the second round, with the 47th overall selection, the Nats chose another prep player, left-handed hitting outfielder Daylen Lile of Trinity High School in Louisville, Ky. Lile hit .510 (45-for-88) with 10 doubles, eight triples, 14

Scherzer named to start All-Star Game for NL

When his name wasn’t included in the first list of National League All-Stars announced, Nationals ace Max Scherzer didn’t fret. He’s been around Major League Baseball long enough to know that other pitchers would have to be replaced because of injury or because they pitched Sunday. Scherzer was patient and awaited the call informing him of his eighth selection to the Midsummer Classic. That announcement

At break, Martinez chooses to see positive possibilities for Nats

Ever the optimist, Nationals manager Davey Martinez will pause during the All-Star break to take stock of his team. However, he won’t spend much time rehashing the injuries that have made roster management a daily challenge, the long stretches of ineffective offense and what might have happened had he had a healthy pitching staff for the season’s half. When Martinez says he looks at the

Nats go with high school shortstop House as No. 11 pick (updated)

The Nationals veered off their typical course tonight and did not select a pitcher with their first pick of the First-Year Player Draft. But in making Brady House their choice at No. 11, they did go back to a familiar well they’ve tapped before when taking a position player. House, a high school shortstop from Georgia, is only the second position player the Nats have

Nats helpless against Gausman, swept by Giants (updated)

Manager Davey Martinez had hoped the Nationals could use the final game of a West Coast road trip to end a three-game skid, prevent a sweep by the Giants and head into the All-Star break with a little bit of positive momentum. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman, who throttled the Nats in a 3-1 victory that gave his team a sweep

Cavalli flashes some heat in All-Star Futures Game (updated)

Double-A Harrisburg’s Cade Cavalli flashed a little of the triple-digit velocity that made him a first-round pick by the Nationals in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft during a one-inning relief stint in Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field in Denver. Relieving the Pirates’ Quinn Priester to start the fifth inning with his National League team ahead 6-0, Cavalli struck out two and walked two

Martinez on injuries and another IL move

Another day, another roster move for the Nationals. Right-hander Kyle McGowin is going on the 10-day injured list with a right biceps tendinitis, manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame Zoom session with reporters. Andres Machado is being recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take McGowin’s roster spot. McGowin left Saturday’s game after facing three batters in the sixth inning and working to a 1-1 count

Game 89 lineups: Nats at Giants

After dropping the first two games of a three-game set at Oracle Park, the Nationals will turn to Erick Fedde (4-5, 4.53ERA) to try to snap a three-game losing streak and end the season’s first half on a high note. The right-hander will be making his 13th start of the season and his second since returning from the injured list with an oblique issue. In

For Scherzer, All-Star nod - even late - is still a big deal

When the call finally came from Major League Baseball on Saturday afternoon, inviting Max Scherzer to his eighth All-Star Game as a replacement player for a pitcher who was throwing Sunday or had to beg off with an injury, the Nationals ace reacted with the glee of a rookie rather than the carefully measured words of a grizzled 14-year veteran. “Just excited. Awesome. Anytime, it’s

Defense, bounces don’t go Lester’s way in 10-4 loss (updated)

In an alternate universe, Jon Lester would have deserved a better fate. The ground balls he induced would have found gloves rather than grass, his fielders wouldn’t have betrayed him with clunky defense and he’d have been much more pitch-efficient. Instead, Lester endured a death by a thousand cuts Saturday afternoon, when the Giants both hammered and doinked him with regularity, his defense contributed to

Gomes hits IL, so catching falls to Barrera for now (updated)

Catcher Yan Gomes, who was removed in the second inning of Friday night’s game against the Giants, is undergoing an MRI this afternoon and the Nationals will wait until the results of that diagnostic test to determine whether Gomes needs to be placed on the injured list, manager Davey Martinez said. “We have nothing yet,” Martinez said in his pregame Zoom session with reporters. “He’s

Game 88 lineups: Nats at Giants

Jon Lester may still be finding his footing in his first season with the Nationals, but history suggests there’s ample reason for the left-hander to turn in a steller start when he faces the Giants this afternoon. Sure, Lester (2-3, 5.34 ERA) has gone six innings only twice in 13 starts this season, and his last outing saw the veteran log just 3 1/3 innings

Scherzer chosen as an All-Star replacement

Turns out Max Scherzer will get another star turn after all. The Nationals right-hander was selected as a replacement player for Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Denver, Major League Baseball announced Saturday morning. Scherzer, who is 7-4 with a 2.66 ERA, 0.878 WHIP and 134 strikeouts in 98 innings, is an All-Star for the eighth time in his career. He has been chosen for the Midsummer

Nats balancing rest and momentum heading into break

It might be easy to look at the recent body of work and be down on the Nationals entering the All-Star break: a four-game sweep at home at the hands of the Dodgers, a four-game series split with the Padres when winning three of four was right in their grasp, a loss in the first game against the Giants and a growing list of injuries.

Another injury and another loss for Nats (updated)

Who said it couldn’t get worse for the Nationals? Be honest, because I know you’re out there. After a tough loss Thursday night to end a four-game series in San Diego, and with an already jam-packed injured list, why would you say that knowing full well that it could, in fact, get worse? Indeed, it did get worse for the Nationals in the form of

Break will help injured players, Nats sign Dietrich to minors deal

Only three games stand between the Nationals and the All-Star break, starting with tonight’s series opener in San Francisco against the Giants. While Juan Soto, Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber will stop in Denver next week for their first All-Star Game selections before returning home (though it’s unclear whether Schwarber will attend or continue to rehab his hamstring injury), the rest of the team will

Game 87 lineups: Nats at Giants

The beauty of baseball is the everyday nature of the sport, making it easy to shake off bad losses and move on to the next game. So even though it wasn’t a happy flight from San Diego to San Francisco following last night’s heartbreaking loss to the Padres, the Nationals can put it behind them right away with tonight’s opener against the Giants. Paolo Espino

Breaking down the breakdowns in shocking loss

There’s still so much to process about Thursday night’s 9-8 loss in San Diego, a Nationals loss that can’t begin to be adequately explained merely through the final score. Let’s try to delve into a few more aspects of this wackadoodle game at Petco Park, which at times defied explanation. ... * Max Scherzer’s meltdown was as quick as it was shocking. It’s not just

Scherzer, Nats turn eight-run lead into 9-8 loss (updated)

They led by eight runs after 3 1/2 innings, with Max Scherzer cruising and looking very much like he wanted to make a definitive statement about his exclusion from the All-Star Game roster for the first time since 2012. How that somehow turned into a one-run lead 10 batters into the worst nightmare of a fourth inning Scherzer or anyone else on the Nationals could

Ross lands on IL but expected to return after break

The Nationals have been talking for months about the need to monitor Joe Ross’ workload after the he opted out of the 2020 season. They weren’t necessarily planning to give the right-hander time off right now in advance of the All-Star break, but when he reported tightness in his forearm following his between-starts bullpen session Wednesday, it was an easy decision for the club to

Game 86 lineups: Nats at Padres

We talked about the daunting two-week stretch the Nationals were going to face heading into the All-Star break, with 14 games in 14 days against five contenders. Well, 10 games in they’ve managed to go 5-5 despite a swath of injuries and a four-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers last weekend. And tonight they have a chance to win three of four on

Could Nats get both Bell and Zimmerman in lineup?

For much of the season to date, Nationals manager Davey Martinez’s plan at first base was fairly simple. Josh Bell almost always started against right-handers and Ryan Zimmerman almost always started against lefties. At this point, though, with Bell on a prolonged surge at the plate and Zimmerman now slumping after an electric April and May, Martinez’s decision on playing time isn’t quite as clear

Nats bats stay hot during blowout win in San Diego (updated)

There was the tone-setter, the three-run homer by Juan Soto in the top of the first that seemed to leave Petco Park in 1.3 seconds. There were the back-to-back, two-run singles by Josh Bell and Starlin Castro in the top of the second that kept the pressure on Padres starter Chris Paddack. And then there were the three additional runs the Nationals scored soon thereafter

Hudson activated, bringing bullpen closer to full strength

With only five days to go until the All-Star break and five more games to be played against a couple of National League West contenders, the Nationals are aggressively fortifying their pitching staff with some big names returning from injury. On Tuesday night, it was Erick Fedde and Kyle Finnegan coming off the injured list and pitching against the Padres. Tonight, it’s Daniel Hudson activated

Game 85 lineups: Nats at Padres

The Nationals have done OK at the plate through the first two games of this weekend’s series in San Diego, scoring 11 total runs. (Though they did strand a bunch of runners on base late during Tuesday night’s 7-4 loss.) Of greater concern has been a pitching staff that has given up 12 runs in 17 innings. Or more specifically, a rotation that has given

Soto will participate in Monday night’s Home Run Derby

Maybe the cure for Juan Soto’s struggles to elevate the ball is to hit a bunch of balls at high elevation in the Home Run Derby. Whether it helps him rediscover his power stroke or not, Soto is going to participate in Monday night’s derby at Coors Field, the Nationals star outfielder announced today. It’s Soto’s first career appearance in the Home Run Derby, and

Escobar is Nats’ latest unconventional leadoff hitter

If you were wondering what prompted manager Davey Martinez decide to make Alcides Escobar his leadoff hitter the last two nights in San Diego, why a 12-year veteran with a career .293 on-base percentage was the right choice to bat atop the Nationals lineup, go back and re-watch the first at-bat of Monday night’s game. The result of that at-bat against Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove

Fedde rusty in return from IL, Nats fall to Padres (updated)

The Nationals’ resurgent June was built upon multiple developments, but high on the list was the resurgence of their rotation into an elite unit for the first time all season. Now as the calendar has shifted to July, they’re finding out just how important that development was. It’s hard to win games when your starter doesn’t provide both quality and length. And the Nats haven’t

Rotation decision looms as Fedde returns, Strasburg gets closer

The Nationals get Erick Fedde and Kyle Finnegan back from the injured list tonight, surprisingly quicker than most expected in Fedde’s case. And at some point in the not-too-distant future, they believe they’ll get Stephen Strasburg back as well, the final and most significant return to a rotation that has needed some patching together through the season’s first half. The Nats have been going without

Game 84 lineups: Nats at Padres (Fedde starting)

Davey Martinez promised roster moves (plural) after Monday night’s win, and the Nationals manager meant what he said. The Nats added two healthy pitchers to their staff today, activating both Erick Fedde and Kyle Finnegan off the 10-day injured list. And Fedde (surprise, surprise) will start tonight in San Diego. That was not expected, because as far as we know, Fedde has not faced any

Was Scherzer snubbed or is NL pitching class too deep?

Every National League All-Star team assembled since 2010 has included at least one member of the Nationals pitching staff. Every All-Star Game since 2013 has included a roster with Max Scherzer. So imagine the surprise on South Capitol Street on Sunday when manager Davey Martinez walked into the clubhouse and informed everyone three of his players had been selected to this year’s Midsummer Classic: Trea

Surging Bell powers Nats to late-night win in San Diego (updated)

Ask anyone who has watched him - shoot, ask Josh Bell himself - to evaluate his performance through the season’s first half, and the answer almost certainly will be negative. And a quick glance at Bell’s season totals - .247 batting average, 12 homers, 39 RBIs, .775 OPS - would give reason to believe that. Let’s not forget, though, just how big a hole Bell

Turner and Gomes return to lineup, Tuesday’s starter is TBA

A Nationals club desperate for more healthy bodies is getting two of them back for tonight’s series opener in San Diego, with more potentially coming in the next few days. Trea Turner and Yan Gomes are both in tonight’s lineup, Turner returning after missing four games with a jammed left middle finger, Gomes back after taking a pitch off his right arm Saturday night. The

Game 83 lineups: Nats at Padres

Who’s ready for some late-night baseball? Yes, after their earliest start of the season Sunday morning, the Nationals now take the field tonight in San Diego for their latest start of the season. The caffeine intake has already begun here at the home office. A four-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers made for a tough weekend, and the task doesn’t get particularly easier

Was Dodgers series a blip or a sign of worse things to come?

As he sat at a dais next to Juan Soto and Kyle Schwarber, his fellow 2021 All-Stars, Trea Turner was asked about the Nationals’ four-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers. Turner, of course, didn’t appear in any of the four games, still dealing with a jammed left middle finger from sliding hard into third base while completing his third career cycle Wednesday afternoon.

Turner, Soto, Schwarber all earn first All-Star selection

The Nationals will send three players to next week’s All-Star Game, all of them first-time selections, while their most decorated star stays home - at least for now - despite producing one of the best first halves of his storied career. Trea Turner, Juan Soto and Kyle Schwarber all were named reserves to the National League All-Star team this afternoon, each earning a spot in

Overmatched Nats suffer four-game sweep to Dodgers (updated)

You can analyze this four-game sweep at the hands of the defending World Series champions until your face turns blue, but it really boils down to a simple fact: The Dodgers had 26 healthy and versatile players whom their manager trusted to be used over the course of a ballgame, and the Nationals did not. Over the course of a difficult holiday weekend on South

Game 82 lineups: Nats vs. Dodgers

Good morning from Nationals Park - and, yes, it was morning when last we spoke. Less than 11 hours after they wrapped up a rain-delayed 5-3 loss to the Dodgers, the Nationals are back to work for their annual Independence Day morning game, needing a win to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the defending World Series champs. They will do so with

After rain, Dodgers rally to send Nats back under .500 (updated)

The largest crowd at a D.C.-area sporting event since Dec. 22, 2019, when the Washington Football Team hosted the New York Giants in Landover, gathered on South Capitol Street tonight to watch some baseball, get an early start on Independence Day weekend and witness a fireworks display on a picture-perfect Saturday evening. What the sellout crowd of 42,064 at Nationals Park got instead was a

Schwarber, Avila land on IL; Escobar acquired from Royals

The “injury rat” Max Scherzer referred to Friday night that is running through the Nationals clubhouse and taking a bite out of players left and right is perhaps more pervasive than anyone on the outside realized at the time. Not only did the Nats have to place Kyle Schwarber on the 10-day injured list with a significant right hamstring strain, they also had to place

Game 81 lineups: Nats vs. Dodgers (Schwarber, Avila to IL)

How’s this for a primetime nationally televised matchup tonight at Nationals Park: one of the best pitchers in baseball versus Clayton Kershaw. What, you don’t believe Paolo Espino is one of the best pitchers in baseball? Among all major leaguers with at least 35 innings pitched this season, he ranks 11th in ERA (2.02), 12th in WHIP (0.869) and first in walks per nine innings

How do Nats survive Schwarber injury on top of others?

As he walked down the home dugout at Nationals Park during the bottom of the second Friday night, limping and clearly disgusted with what had just happened to him, Kyle Schwarber passed Trea Turner, Stephen Strasburg, Daniel Hudson, Kyle Finnegan, Erick Fedde, Tanner Rainey, Andrew Stevenson and Jordy Mercer. All of them were injured and unavailable to play against the Dodgers, and now Schwarber joins

Bullpen blowup follows Schwarber injury in painful loss (updated)

Max Scherzer walked off the mound after a scoreless top of the sixth, his pitch count an even 100, his Nationals holding a two-run lead on a night they were again missing Trea Turner, out with a finger injury, and then lost Kyle Schwarber to an apparent hamstring injury. Upon reaching the dugout steps, he engaged in a brief conversation with Davey Martinez. A series

Nats call up another infielder, Schwarber wins Player of Month

With Trea Turner’s left middle finger getting better but not quickly enough to allow him to play tonight, and with an MRI of Jordy Mercer’s right quadriceps showing a muscle strain, the Nationals were again faced with the prospect of taking the field without enough true infielders on their roster. On Thursday, they had no choice but to start backup catcher Alex Avila at second

Game 80 lineups: Nats vs. Dodgers

Here’s some good news: There’s no serious threat of rain tonight, the temperature and humidity have dropped and it should be a very pleasant Friday evening at the park as the Nationals and Dodgers play the second of four games this holiday weekend. And here’s some more good news: Max Scherzer is on the mound. How good has the ace been? Well, over his last

Nats attempting to add another infielder for tonight’s game

When two of their four major league middle infielders were unavailable due to injury and four more potential call-ups from their farm system likewise weren’t available for promotion due to injury, the Nationals were left with no choice but to start 34-year-old backup catcher Alex Avila at second base for Thursday night’s series opener against the Dodgers. To hear Davey Martinez discuss the state of

Slam off Corbin in fifth seals storm-shortened loss (updated)

Anyone with a smartphone and a weather app knew what was coming. It was approaching from the west and it was going to reach Nationals Park at some point this evening. It was just a question of when. And what the status of the Nationals’ series opener against the Dodgers was going to be when it did arrive. The answer: It arrived moments after the

Turner and Mercer out, Nats forced to start Avila at second

The Nationals didn’t submit tonight’s starting lineup until 45 minutes before first pitch, the sense being they were waiting to see if any or all of Juan Soto, Trea Turner and Jordy Mercer were available to play after departing Wednesday’s win over the Rays with injuries. Then the lineup came out, and Turner and Mercer were missing. Which leaves the Nats in a most precarious

Game 79 lineups: Nats vs. Dodgers

Good afternoon from Nationals Park, which just experienced a minor hurricane a few minutes ago. Seriously, it was intense. The skies have let up since then, and at this moment the forecast suggests it will be dry until about 8 p.m. That, of course, doesn’t guarantee anything. So don’t assume anything. As always, when we know something about the status of the game, we’ll let

Lester labors, but Nats take solace in his five-inning start

Only once in his career had Jon Lester made a major league start on a hotter day, and that was 11 years prior when his Red Sox were in Texas on a 102-degree afternoon. So there was a built-in excuse for the veteran left-hander to use Wednesday after he slogged his way through five innings on a muggy 95-degree late afternoon at Nationals Park, if

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