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Another ragged start closes out Corbin’s rough August (updated)

On a day in which the Nationals all but admitted their once highly touted center fielder has become a bust, they proceeded to watch their $140 million No. 3 starter take another step toward locking up the worst pitching season in club history. The Nats were able to option Victor Robles to Triple-A. They have no such luxury with Patrick Corbin. With yet another dreadful

Robles optioned to Triple-A, Finnegan on paternity leave

Victor Robles, not long ago a more highly touted prospect than Juan Soto and only two years ago the starting center fielder on a World Series champion, is now a minor leaguer. The Nationals optioned the slumping Robles to Triple-A Rochester prior to tonight’s game against the Phillies, a transaction that had shock value in the moment but in truth was weeks in the making.

Game 131 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

There isn’t nearly as much anticipation for tonight’s game as there was Monday night, when Keibert Ruiz made his Nationals debut with Josiah Gray on the mound. But that doesn’t mean tonight’s game isn’t significant. Ruiz, remember, is an everyday player. At a premium position, where he’ll have an impact on the outcome of every game. So in some ways it may be more interesting

Infield depth could be seriously tested if Escobar misses time

The sight of Alcides Escobar writhing in pain on the ground Monday night after fouling a ball of his left knee, then needing major assistance from manager Davey Martinez and director of athletic training Paul Lessard just to walk off the field, was plenty disheartening for the Nationals. But the realization of what an injury to Escobar would mean for the Nats infield moving forward

Rough night for Gray-Ruiz battery in loss to Phillies (updated)

The Nationals wanted so much for this to be a memorable night, the first of many featuring Josiah Gray on the mound and Keibert Ruiz behind the plate. And there will be many more nights featuring the young battery and centerpieces of last month’s blockbuster trade that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers. No matter how their story turns out, whether in

Barrera heading to Triple-A, Adams starts learning first base

Keibert Ruiz’s arrival in Washington has a domino effect on the Nationals catching corps, which has suddenly grown in size and promise in the last month. The 23-year-old top prospect is going to start most days the rest of the season, manager Davey Martinez revealed today, which means far less playing time for anyone else behind the plate. The plan, then, for now: Tres Barrera

Game 130 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

If you were going to rank the games of most significance for the Nationals over the remainder of this season, tonight’s series opener against the Phillies might rank at the top. That’s what you get when you pair Keibert Ruiz’s club debut with a Josiah Gray start. It’s a nice coincidence - or is it? - that Ruiz’s debut coincides with Gray’s start. The two

Made-over Nats eager for arrival of yet another acquisition

When Keibert Ruiz joins the Nationals later today, he’ll need to work the clubhouse like a D.C. politician, introducing himself to teammates who have only heard second-hand of his exploits and connecting with pitchers of all experience levels eager to forge a relationship with their new batterymate. There’s not a stack of “Hello, My Name Is” cards at the clubhouse entrance, but there could be.

Nationals end road trip with a thud in 9-4 defeat (updated)

The Nationals ended a nine-game road trip with a thud Sunday afternoon, managing just one hit against a rookie pitcher and falling 9-4 to the New York Mets to finish their 11-day trek with a 3-6 record. Nationals starter Erick Fedde pitched in trouble for much of the afternoon, but much of the traffic was of his own making. He hit two batters, yielded a

Nationals announce Ruiz will be promoted to majors on Monday

The Nationals aren’t waiting to get a look at promising young catcher Keibert Ruiz, who will be promoted from Triple-A Rochester for Monday night’s opener of a three-game home series against the Phillies, the club announced this morning. “He’s playing really well down there,” manager Davey Martinez said in his pregame Zoom session with reporters. “We want to get him here, get him settled, let

Game 129: Nats at Mets

Erick Fedde (6-8, 4.91 ERA) has already set a career high in victories, innings pitched and strikeouts this season. Now he’ll try to get a little closer to .500 and cement himself as a rotation piece for the Nationals next season. The right-hander has gone 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA in his last three starts, winning his past two decisions after going 10 straight decisions

Cavalli gives up five runs in brief Triple-A debut

The Nationals promoted Cade Cavalli to Triple-A this week because they wanted to see how their top pitching prospect would handle more experienced hitters with a better sense of the strike zone. And in his debut Saturday night for Rochester, the young right-hander got a taste of what’s still in store for him before he’s ready to pitch in the big leagues. Cavalli was pulled

Bullpen can’t finish the job this time, Nats lose 5-3 (updated)

Having already used up four young relievers to win Friday’s game by the slimmest of margins, Nationals manager Davey Martinez had little choice but to turn to another group tonight after getting a solid start from Sean Nolin, hoping these bullpen arms could likewise protect a one-run lead against the Mets. That proved too tall a task for Ryne Harper and Mason Thompson, who combined

Avila finally begins rehab assignment in Florida

It had been nearly two months since Alex Avila last appeared in a ballgame, nearly two months since the 34-year-old catcher was thrust into emergency second base duties and wound up straining both of his calves in the process. Add a mandatory quarantine period after testing positive for COVID-19, and Avila had been stuck on the sidelines far longer than anyone could’ve imagined at the

Game 128 lineups: Nats at Mets

Friday night proved to be a fun, and arguably important, win for the Nationals, who got to see four inexperienced relievers thrive in a pressure situation and hang on to beat the Mets, 2-1. Tonight? Well, it might require a bit more offense to emerge victorious again. That’s because Sean Nolin takes the mound for his third start for the Nats, his second against the

Could surprisingly productive Escobar figure into ‘22 plans?

Alcides Escobar enters the day with a .277 batting average, .335 on-base percentage and .699 OPS. That may not knock anyone’s socks off, but it’s still the most productive the veteran infielder has been at the plate in a long time. Escobar, who didn’t play in the big leagues in 2019 or 2020 and only joined the Nationals in July after the club suffered a

Nats bullpen comes through in 2-1 win over Mets (updated)

Earlier this summer, as the Mets were holding onto their lead in the National League East and the Nationals were starting to make their move up the standings, these late-season matchups between the two rivals loomed large. Perhaps they’d be played in front of packed houses in D.C. and New York, everyone hanging on every pitch with a division title potentially at stake. When the

Nationals requiring full-time staffers to be vaccinated

The Nationals have become one of baseball’s first teams to require COVID-19 vaccinations for employees, a club official confirmed this afternoon. The Nats informed all full-time staff members earlier this month they would be required to provide proof of vaccination or valid reason to be exempted. The deadline for employees to do so was Thursday. “Like many organizations, the Washington Nationals decided to make COVID-19

Game 127 lineups: Nats at Mets

If you go back about six weeks, back when the Nationals were still wondering if they’d be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, one of the arguments supporting them to go for it was the Mets’ schedule. New York, despite leading the National League East most of the season, was going to face an absolute gauntlet in mid-August, with 13 consecutive games against the

Is September promotion in the cards for Ruiz?

Keibert Ruiz is making the Nationals take notice, but even a sizzling start at Triple-A Rochester since arriving in a trade deadline deal with the Dodgers might not be enough to earn the 23-year-old catcher a look-see in D.C. in September. Ruiz is slashing .314/.360/.614 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 18 games since joining the Red Wings, including back-to-back two-homer games on

Marlins reel in Corbin in 7-5 Nationals loss (updated)

After each of his 24 previous starts this season, Patrick Corbin has plopped himself down in front of a laptop in the Nationals Zoom room and patiently tried to explain what did - or more likely didn’t - work in each outing. But time is running out for the veteran southpaw to figure out how to return to form, and no one would blame Corbin

Martinez on Robles’ return and weekend rotation plans

Victor Robles returned to the Nationals lineup for tonight’s finale of a three-game series in Miami against the Marlins, playing center field and batting leadoff. It’s the first start since Aug. 20 for Robles, who ceded center field to newcomer Lane Thomas in the interim. Robles had battled an illness recently and Thomas’ 8-for-19 stretch over the past five games made it difficult for him

Game 126 lineups: Nats at Marlins

After suffering through a stretch of six straight outings in which he yielded at least four runs in each start, left-hander Patrick Corbin (7-12, 5.82 ERA) turned in a gem on Aug. 20 at Milwaukee, holding the playoff-bound Brewers to a run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings to pick up his first victory since July 7. Now Corbin just has to do it

Injured again, Rainey running out of time to return in 2021

Tanner Rainey should be a part of the Nationals bullpen during these final two months of a season that began with October hopes but is ending in full-scale evaluation mode. As Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez gauge what they now have in a relief corps filled with inexperienced arms, Rainey’s absence is all too noticeable. Though Kyle Finnegan has done a nice job serving as

Gray impresses again, but Nats fall in extras (updated)

When they remember this game years from now, they might remember that the Nationals lost to the Marlins 4-3 in 10 innings. They will for sure remember what happened prior to that, when two 23-year-old right-handers dueled for the first time and showed why their respective clubs have such high hopes for both of them. Josiah Gray and Edward Cabrera went head-to-head and perhaps appropriately

As Thomas gets another start, Martinez supports Robles

Lane Thomas hasn’t supplanted Victor Robles as the Nationals’ starting center fielder and leadoff hitter. But he has performed at such a high level since his acquisition from the Cardinals that manager Davey Martinez feels compelled to keep playing him for now, even as Robles returns to full health after falling ill last weekend. “Victor’s feeling better,” Martinez said during his Zoom session with reporters

Game 125 lineups: Nats at Marlins

Every Josiah Gray start has been an event since the young right-hander arrived in Washington earlier this month. Tonight’s game in Miami, though, becomes an even bigger event because of the fellow young right-hander who will be facing Gray: Edward Cabrera. Cabrera, the Marlins’ top pitching prospect, makes his major league debut. Which makes this a rare matchup between two pitchers who rank among the

Nats take the good and the bad from inexperienced relievers

The Nationals’ 5-1 victory Tuesday night in Miami was never seriously in doubt, but there was perhaps one moment late when it appeared things might tighten up. With two outs and two on in the seventh, rookie reliever Andres Machado had to face Marlins leadoff hitter Miguel Rojas. As any Nats fan who has paid scant attention over the years knows, Rojas is as tough

Fedde cruises in Miami while Nats blast Luzardo (updated)

There was a point, four or five years ago, when the Nationals could look into the future and imagine a rotation that included both Erick Fedde and Jesús Luzardo. And there probably was a point in more recent years when Luzardo (a third-round pick in 2016 who has since been traded to the Athletics and then the Marlins) looked to have a brighter future than

Clay, Murphy added to bullpen; Klobosits, Rodriguez dropped

Two days after adding two fresh arms to their bullpen, the Nationals added two more, continuing an ongoing attempt to find the right combination of youthful relievers to get them through the remainder of the season. Today’s additions: Sam Clay and Patrick Murphy, each promoted from Triple-A Rochester. They replace Gabe Klobosits, who was optioned to Rochester, and Jefry Rodriguez, who was designated for assignment.

Game 124 lineups: Nats at Marlins

After a run of games against contending clubs, the Nationals tonight open a three-game series against the club that currently occupies the basement of the National League East, right below them. The Marlins, like the Nats, are rebuilding, though in their case it feels more like a perpetual rebuild. But like the Nationals, the Marlins have some intriguing young players, especially on their pitching staff.

Top pitching prospect Cavalli getting promoted to Triple-A

The Nationals are promoting Cade Cavalli to Triple-A Rochester, bringing their top pitching prospect one step closer to the big leagues, a source familiar with the decision confirmed. Cavalli, the organization’s 2020 first-round pick, made 11 starts at Double-A Harrisburg, producing a 2.79 ERA, 1.276 WHIP and 80 strikeouts in only 58 innings. At times, the right-hander dominated the competition, though he continues to have

Nats claim Ford from Rays, prepare to face young Marlins

In their continued quest to improve organizational depth, the Nationals claimed Mike Ford off waivers from the Rays on Monday, hoping the former Yankees first baseman can produce at Triple-A and perhaps help out at the big league level at some point. Ford, 29, has spent parts of the last three seasons in the majors with the Yankees, first making a name for himself as

Monday morning Nats Q&A

Well, it was kind of an ugly weekend in Milwaukee for the Nationals, but these last two losses shouldn’t completely overshadow the three wins that preceded them last week. Nor the continued positive developments involving several young players who are starting to make a name for themselves as long-term parts of the plan around here. We’re nearly four weeks removed from the trade deadline now,

With flurry of walks, Nats hand series finale to Brewers (updated)

An inexperienced pitching staff is going to make mistakes. Davey Martinez understands and accepts that. What the Nationals manager has a harder time accepting is a pitching staff that is killing itself not by getting hit by more accomplished hitters, but by handing them free bases over and over and over. It happened during Saturday’s loss in Milwaukee, and it happened in even more mind-numbing

Voth, McGowin rejoin bullpen; Guerra, Stevenson off roster

An ever-changing Nationals bullpen saw the return of two familiar right-handers today, with both Austin Voth and Kyle McGowin activated off the injured list. And an ever-changing Nats roster saw the departures of two familiar faces as a result, with Javy Guerra designated for assignment while Andrew Stevenson was optioned to Triple-A Rochester. The transactions, announced about 90 minutes before today’s series finale in Milwaukee,

Game 123 lineups: Nats at Brewers

The Nationals’ winning streak ended Saturday in Milwaukee, but they’ve still got a chance to win the weekend series if they can bounce back in this afternoon’s finale. All things considered, that’s not a bad position to be in. They’re going to need to get some quality innings out of Sean Nolin, who gets the start as Joe Ross’ replacement for now. Nolin, the 31-year-old

Four things to watch over last 40 games

The Nationals have 40 games remaining in the 2021 season, starting with this afternoon’s series finale in Milwaukee. It’s hard to believe that we’re already this close to the end of the baseball season. Fall is right around the corner. On this week’s episode of the “MASN All Access Podcast,” Amy Jennings and I set goals for a handful of Nationals players to reach before

Bullpen breaks late as Nats’ winning streak is snapped (updated)

It was only a matter of time. The Nationals bullpen flirted with danger too often this afternoon against the Brewers and it finally cost them in the eighth inning of a 9-6 loss. Looking for their first four-game winning streak since June 27-30, the Nationals couldn’t get pitchers to make pitches when they needed them the most. After a strong showing by starter Paolo Espino,

Nats uncertain how Avila’s return will affect catching rotation

With two young catchers playing well on the active roster, a veteran nearing his return from the 10-day injured list and a top prospect knocking on the door at Triple-A Rochester, the Nationals’ catching situation is one of the more interesting storylines to follow for the remainder of the season. After four straight games behind the plate, Riley Adams gives way to Tres Barrera, who

Game 122 lineups: Nats at Brewers

Can the Nationals make it four in a row? After last night’s win over the Brewers, the Nats are now in the midst of their longest winning streak since July 18-20. Their last four-game winning streak came all the way back from June 27-30. Paolo Espino will take the mound in pursuit of that feat as he faces the team with which he made his

Young catching tandem learning on the fly

For 2 1/2 seasons, the Nationals had nothing but veteran catchers on their roster. Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki joined forces to win a championship in 2019, then returned to work together in 2020. And after Suzuki departed as a free agent last winter, the Nats brought in Alex Avila to back up Gomes this season, again ensuring they’d have two seasoned guys behind the

Young and old lead Nationals to third straight win (updated)

The Nationals’ rebuild will be a success if they can get more than a few of the young players who now make up the majority of their roster to develop into legitimate contributors. It’ll be an even bigger and faster success if they can also get their few remaining veterans to return to the form they displayed while winning the World Series two years ago.

Nolin will get Sunday’s start as Ross’ rotation replacement

The Nationals didn’t need to utilize a fifth starter until next weekend, but they’ve decided to go ahead and plug Sean Nolin into their rotation now. Nolin, the 31-year-old left-hander who has been available out of the bullpen for the last week since making one spot start against the Mets, will start Sunday’s series finale against the Brewers, manager Davey Martinez said. Nolin takes over

Game 121 lineups: Nats at Brewers

Fresh off a two-game sweep of the Blue Jays, the Nationals now embark on a nine-game road trip that kicks off with a tough challenge: a weekend series in Milwaukee. The Brewers have won eight of 10 and now hold a commanding 8 1/2-game lead in the National League Central. They’re doing it with elite pitching, especially from an imposing threesome atop their rotation (Brandon

Soto content for now to take walks, keep raising OBP

From the moment he arrived in the big leagues in 2018, Juan Soto’s ability to reach base has outshone every other baseball skill of his. And he’s got plenty of elite skills. For all his prowess hitting for power, hitting to the opposite field, just hitting in general, Soto has always made a name for himself first and foremost because of his batting eye. That,

Gray learning and embracing new role with Nats

Every start for Josiah Gray is another stepping stone toward being the reliable frontline starter the Nationals envision. While he’s learning along the way, the 23-year-old is also embracing a new role and a new set of expectations with his new club. There are certain things the Nationals are looking for from Gray when he takes the mound every fifth day. He’s going to get

After blown lead, late homers help Nats sweep Blue Jays (updated)

A lot of games are going to be wild rides for the Nationals as they close out this season. Some will end on a high note. And others, as we’ve seen a lot recently, won’t. Wednesday’s game was another up-and-down affair that actually went the Nats’ way in the form of an 8-5 win to sweep the Blue Jays in front of 18,336 at Nationals

Rainey shut down for now, Suero gets a few days off

A two-game interleague series doesn’t usually bring for a lot of news and notes at this point in the season. But the Nationals did have some updates on two bullpen arms that are currently down on the farm. Most significantly, Tanner Rainey has been shut down at Triple-A Rochester for the time being with an injury to his side. It’s another bad break for the

Nats announce 2022 spring training schedule

The 2021 season isn’t over yet, but if you are already looking forward to next year, Major League Baseball earlier today announced they 2022 spring training schedules for all 30 clubs. All teams across the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues will open exhibition play on Saturday, Feb. 26. For the Nationals, that opening contest will require a three-hour trip to Lakeland to face the Tigers. The

Game 120 lineups: Nats vs. Blue Jays

Unfortunately for the Nationals, Joe Ross’ season-ending injury is another blow to an already depleted rotation, one that bears no resemblance to what the club expected to have at the beginning of the season. Fortunately, the two off-days this week surrounding this two-game set with the Blue Jays allow those who are available to pitch to do so on normal rest, not requiring manager Davey

Hand thankful for brief time with Nats, new chance with Jays

Amid the chaos of his move from the Nationals to the Blue Jays just prior to last month’s trade deadline, Brad Hand couldn’t help but chuckle when he noticed where one of his new team’s first road trips would take him. “Right when I got traded, I looked at the Toronto schedule and knew that we were coming here in two weeks,” Hand said Tuesday

Adams delivers against Jays, Nats snap losing streak (updated)

The opportunity was too good for Davey Martinez to pass up. Though it was probably Tres Barrera’s turn to catch tonight’s series opener against the Blue Jays, the Nationals manager wanted to give Riley Adams a chance to face the team that traded him three weeks ago. Adams, Martinez would reveal in the dugout before the game, was notably excited when his manager told him

No surgery for now, but Ross will miss rest of season

Joe Ross won’t need Tommy John surgery for now, but the Nationals right-hander will miss the rest of the season after getting examined by the Dallas-area orthopedist who performed his first elbow ligament replacement four years ago. The diagnosis from Keith Meister was a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, which is consistent with the team’s initial MRI results last weekend that showed a partial tear. A

Game 119 lineups: Nats vs. Blue Jays

After a string of games against the National League East’s remaining contenders, the Nationals now take a break for a quick interleague series. They’ll host the Blue Jays tonight and Wednesday afternoon (weather permitting), which means a little bit of a reunion. It was just a few weeks ago that Brad Hand was dealt to Toronto in exchange for Riley Adams. We don’t know if

Nats will win again when rotation is ready to lead the way again

It had been the one constant around these parts for the better part of the decade. When you thought of the Nationals, you thought first and foremost of one thing: a dominant rotation. Max Scherzer. Stephen Strasburg. Patrick Corbin. Jordan Zimmermann. Doug Fister. Gio González. Aníbal Sánchez. Those are the starters who defined the Nats’ consistent pitching success over a prolonged stretch of winning baseball.

How many current players are locks for the 2022 roster?

On Sunday afternoon, Lane Thomas became the 54th player to appear in a game for the Nationals this season. That’s an exceptionally high number, only three shy of the club record set way back in 2006. And with 44 games still to go, and more players likely to join the roster before this is over, it’s quite possible this year’s team will establish a new

Nats keep it close, but can’t avoid sweep (updated)

As miserable as things have been lately for a Nationals team that has turned winning baseball games into an increasingly difficult task, one not insignificant truth has emerged: They’ve given themselves an opportunity to win just about every one of these games. Sure, there have been a few duds along the way, and Saturday night’s blowout loss to the Braves was probably the worst of

Ross placed on IL with partial tear of elbow ligament

A summer of misery for the Nationals took another turn for the worse in the last 24 hours when Joe Ross reported forearm tightness following a bullpen throwing session and a subsequent MRI revealed a partial tear of his elbow ligament. The club hasn’t finalized a plan yet for Ross, but he will be examined by Keith Meister, the Dallas-area orthopedist who performed Tommy John

Game 118 lineups: Nats vs. Braves (Thomas called up)

Things are pretty bleak around Nationals Park these days. The home team has lost 11 of 12 and 29 of 39, and has fallen into a tie with the Marlins for last place in the National League East. Yes, this is the first step in a rebuilding project, and the club’s record means a lot less now than it did three weeks ago. But that

How the eight players Nats traded are faring with new clubs

More than two weeks have now passed since the craziest trade deadline in Nationals history. And that means all of the players involved in the club’s sell-off have had ample time to start making a name for themselves with their new teams. Some have risen to the occasion and become instant fan favorites. Some are still trying to figure things out. Here’s a look at

Corbin, Nats reach new depths in blowout loss (updated)

It’s been 15 years since the Nationals last saw a pitcher do this. That is, pitch this poorly while remaining a member of the rotation for the bulk of a season. Way back in 2006, when Alfonso Soriano was chasing a 40-40 season, Frank Robinson was nearing the end of his managerial career and Ryan Zimmerman was trying to win National League Rookie of the

Nats claim reliever Murphy from Jays, release catcher Rivera

August waiver trades are a thing of the past, but teams still can still acquire players from other organizations under certain circumstances, and today the Nationals found a way to pick up another young pitcher who could potentially help them in their long-term plan to rebuild. The Nats claimed right-hander Patrick Murphy off waivers from the Blue Jays, taking a shot at a 26-year-old reliever

Game 117 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

And we’re back. If it feels like Friday night’s game just ended, that’s because it did. The Nationals and Braves find themselves in the unfortunate position of not only having just played a game that ended at 1:19 a.m. but having their next game scheduled to start at 6:05 p.m., an hour early to accommodate the planned postgame fireworks show. And, yes, it’s important to

Nats working with Kieboom on smoother play at third base

One year ago, the last time he had a chance to play regularly in the big leagues, Carter Kieboom looked better in the field than he did at the plate. This time around, he’s looked better at the plate than in the field. Kieboom’s entire game remains a work in progress, of course, and the Nationals aren’t ready to draw any conclusions about the 23-year-old

Gray impressive again, but done in by late homers (updated)

There are things you find out about ballplayers at 10 p.m. in front of a sellout crowd, and then there are things you find out about them at midnight in front of a few thousand fans who were willing to wait out the longest rain delay of the season. They all matter in the end, and all of these experiences ultimately shape young ballplayers into

Rainey has work to do before Nats bring him back (game delayed)

Tanner Rainey’s return to the Nationals bullpen Thursday was as brief as it was disappointing, but it didn’t change the club’s intentions for the right-hander. Rainey, who had been optioned to Triple-A at the start of the month, was called up as the Nats’ designated 27th man for their doubleheader against the Mets. Then, after giving up a two-run homer to Jonathan Villar in the

Game 116 lineups: Nats vs. Braves

The Nationals are back home again, having just suffered through a brutal 1-5 road trip to Atlanta and New York that included blown saves, rain delays, rainouts and other assorted calamities. All of that leaves this team in a prolonged funk unlike any they’ve experienced in a very long time. The Nats have lost 27 of their last 37 games. The only worse stretch in

Temperature check two weeks after trade deadline

Two weeks ago today, the Nationals completed six franchise-altering trades, admitting this season was a lost cause. They were able to move eight players (seven on expiring contracts) to net 12 prospects in return. Ten of those 12 are already in MLBPipeline.com’s ranking of the top 30 Nats prospects. Six of those 12 are in the top 16. And three of those six are in

Nats rally late, but suffer sweep against Mets (updated)

Nationals manager Davey Martinez spent his morning Zoom session with reporters detailing his pitching plans for today’s doubleheader against the Mets. After a suspended game on Tuesday and last night’s postponement, the mound plans had been thrown into a state of flux. Of course, like much of this season, nothing really ever goes according to plan for the Nationals. But today, the pitching plan held

Game 115 lineups: Nats at Mets

And we’re back. Seven innings down, seven more to go before the Nationals can finally get out of New York and return home after a long week. Erick Fedde brings a 4-8 record and 5.15 ERA to his late-afternoon start. The last time Fedde faced the Mets, on June 18, he pitched seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball with six strikeouts to bring his season

Nats go quietly in opening loss to Mets (updated)

The recipe for success for the Nationals the rest of the way this season is going to be one of two things: keep the score close, take a late lead and hope to hold on, or explode for a lot of runs early and win in a blowout. Neither of those scenarios took place in today’s 4-1 doubleheader opening loss to the Mets. Let’s start

Pitching plans laid out for Thursday’s doubleheader

The past few days have not been easy on Nationals manager Davey Martinez and pitching coach Jim Hickey. A suspended game Tuesday night then a postponement last night has led to today’s doubleheader against the Mets at Citi Field, while also throwing the Nats’ pitching plans into chaos. Good thing they’re in the city that never sleeps. After a confusing 40 hours or so, Martinez

Game 114 lineups: Nats at Mets (Nolin starting)

It’s been a weird week for the Nationals in New York leading up to this afternoon’s series finale against the Mets. The coaching staff rejoined the team on Monday’s off-day. Tuesday’s game was suspended in the second inning. In Wednesday’s resumption, the Nats blew a 4-1 lead, then went up 7-4 and blew that lead before finally losing 8-7. And then yesterday’s regularly scheduled game

Inexperienced bullpen is going to deal with more bumps

Two weeks ago, if the Nationals held a 7-5 lead heading to the seventh inning, Davey Martinez wouldn’t have needed to think too hard about his upcoming pitching decisions. Provided everyone was available, he would’ve had Kyle Finnegan pitch the seventh, then Daniel Hudson the eighth and Brad Hand the ninth. It wouldn’t always have worked, and certainly during those final days before the trade

Thursday doubleheader planned after another rainout

When a major storm cell barreled through New York on Tuesday night, the Nationals’ series opener against the Mets had to be suspended in the second inning, then completed this afternoon. When another major storm cell was preparing to barrel through New York tonight, they didn’t take any chances. The Mets delayed the start of the nightcap of the scheduled doubleheader, then an hour later

Game 114 lineups: Nats at Mets

Well, the opener of this evening’s pseudo-doubleheader did not go as the Nationals would’ve hoped. Despite twice holding a three-run lead, they wound up losing to the Mets 8-7, done in by an inexperienced bullpen that is suddenly being asked to pitch high-leverage innings against a team still in the pennant race. They’ll have to hope for a better result in the nightcap, a scheduled

Nats can’t hold lead, lose completion of suspended game

The Nationals are going to have a say in the outcome of the National League East race this season. Not because they’re likely to climb back into contention after trading away eight veterans for 12 prospects two weeks ago. But because the final two months of this season will see them face the three teams still angling for what could be an ugly division title

Lefty Nolin promoted from Triple-A, struggling Clay optioned

Looking for more pitchers who can provide innings during the 24 innings of baseball on tap over the next 24 hours, the Nationals promoted left-hander Sean Nolin from Triple-A today, optioning reliever Sam Clay to Rochester in the process. Nolin, 31, is on a big league roster for the first time since 2015, when he started six games for the Athletics. After bouncing between the

Young hitters still trying to earn prominent spots in lineup

The final 50 games of the Nationals’ season are about evaluating young talent. Even more than that, they’re about evaluating how young talent handles various situations. Like seeing if some of the club’s less experienced hitters can perform in prominent parts of the lineup. We’ve already seen Victor Robles get an opportunity to bat leadoff again after spending most of the season at the bottom

Game suspended in second inning, to be resumed Wednesday

Everything was going swimmingly for the Nationals in New York tonight. Until the skies opened in the second inning and left everyone at Citi Field swimming in a deluge. The Nats’ series opener against the Mets ultimately had to be suspended in the top of the second inning, the visitors leading 3-1, after a long and ultimately fruitless wait for a major storm system to

Soto returns to lineup, coaches return to Nats dugout

Juan Soto is back in the Nationals lineup, his right knee feeling better five days after he tweaked it running the bases. Soto, who was held out of the lineup for the Nats’ entire weekend series in Atlanta, was cleared to return to full-time duties tonight for the opener of a three-game series in New York. “I talked to him; he felt pretty good,” manager

Game 113 lineups: Nats at Mets

For months, the Nationals found themselves chasing the Mets in the National League East, and because they ultimately weren’t able to gain enough ground in the division race, their leaders decided it was time to undergo a mass rebuild. Since then, what’s happened to the Mets? They’ve gone in the tank as well, losing nine of 11 and turning a four-game lead in the NL

Full coaching staff set to return at last tonight in New York

As much as the Nationals roster has undergone massive changes in the last two weeks, let’s not forget what happened to manager Davey Martinez’s coaching staff as well. Just one day before the frenzied 36-hour stretch that saw eight veteran players traded away for 12 prospects, the Nats learned five of their big league coaches, plus four other staff members, had tested positive for COVID-19.

Monday morning Nats Q&A

So, anything interesting happen around here recently? The last two weeks of July, to be honest, were as eventful as any two weeks in Nationals history, aside from perhaps the final two weeks of October 2019. Even having had some time now to process everything that happened, I’m not sure I can fully grasp everything that did occur. It was nuts. And the end result

Homers haunt Corbin again in Nats’ latest loss (updated)

The Nationals’ objective over the final two months of this season, first and foremost, is to identify which young players are going to be part of the organization’s long-term plan. That’s what made a game like Saturday night’s 3-2 victory over the Braves, in which Josiah Gray dazzled on the mound and Riley Adams delivered a momentous blast at the plate, so uplifting for anyone

With Soto sitting again, Bell returns to roots in right field

Five years removed from his last appearance there in a game, and one month since he began getting early-afternoon reps there, Josh Bell is finally making his official return to the outfield. Bell, who has exclusively played first base since 2017, will start in right field this afternoon when the Nationals wrap up their weekend series against the Braves at Truist Park. It’s a move

Game 112 lineups: Nats at Braves

Last night was a good night for the Nationals. Not only because they won, 3-2, but because the guys who made the win possible are front-and-center members of their rebuilding effort. Josiah Gray struck out 10 over five impressive innings. Mason Thompson struck out a pair during a scoreless inning of relief. Riley Adams blasted the game-flipping homer with two outs in the top of

Robles still not seeing results out of leadoff spot

The Nationals’ decision to sell off veterans at the trade deadline and transition into a rebuilding phase freed up Davey Martinez to try some different things with his lineup without the pressure to win every night. And high on that list was the return of Victor Robles to the leadoff spot. It’s a look the fourth-year manager liked when this season began, but after a

Gray dazzles on the mound, Riley blasts Nats to win (updated)

These are the games that will be worth watching, no matter the outcome, no matter the Nationals’ sinking place in the standings. When Josiah Gray takes the mound the rest of the season, it will amount to something close to must-see TV. And when another young prospect acquired in last week’s trade deadline sell-off delivers a game-flipping homer with two outs in the ninth as

Soto out of lineup again, MRI on knee is negative

Juan Soto is out of the Nationals lineup for the second straight day with a right knee contusion that required an MRI this morning to be sure the injury wasn’t more serious. Soto, who hurt himself while taking a secondary lead off second base in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game at Nationals Park, has been taking part in some pregame drills in Atlanta prior

Game 111 lineups: Nats at Braves

The Nationals aren’t playing winning baseball right now, not anything close to winning baseball. They enter tonight’s game in Atlanta having dropped five in a row and 23 of 32 overall. So the focus, of course, turns to individual performances, especially those who figure into the club’s long-term plans. So tonight we get an opportunity to watch one of the key building blocks again: Josiah

Defensive gaffes by young players irk Martinez

The Nationals lost Friday night’s game 8-4 in Atlanta for any number of reasons, but two defensive miscues certainly played a significant role in the final outcome. Miscues by a couple of young players getting an extended look in the big leagues for the first time. Miscues that led to long conversations with the manager at the end of the night. “Unfortunately, it’s going to

Soto-less Nationals drop fifth straight (updated)

Take a Nationals lineup already depleted by the trades of Trea Turner, Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison and Kyle Schwarber, then remove Juan Soto from the equation, and what do you get? Well, you get this: The Nats were held to five hits (two of them in the ninth inning with the game already out of reach) by the Braves during an 8-4 loss tonight at

Soto not in Nats lineup after tweaking knee Thursday

Davey Martinez arrived in the visitors’ Zoom press conference room in Atlanta shortly before 5 p.m. today and immediately was asked about Juan Soto’s status for the Nationals’ series opener against the Braves. Martinez, while insisting he’s not significantly concerned about his star slugger’s right knee, made it clear he was hesitant to put him in tonight’s lineup. “I’m at 50-50 right now, I really

Game 110 lineups: Nats at Braves

The Nationals are in a tough spot right now, and if you didn’t already know why, here’s some evidence: In eight of their last 12 games, they’ve held the lead going into the ninth inning. And they’ve only emerged victorious in three of them. So on one hand, even the rebuilding, inexperienced Nats are still putting themselves in a position to win more than they

Kieboom and García embracing opportunity together

This new direction the Nationals are taking for the remainder of the season and into next year presents plenty of opportunities. Opportunities for rookies to make their major league debuts. Opportunities for veterans to finish their seasons strong and make their cases for 2022. And opportunities for young guys who have been around a while to continue to grow. Carter Kieboom and Luis García find

Ross strong, but Nats blow another late lead in loss (updated)

Erick Fedde was allowed to push his limits during a season-high 108-pitch outing on Sunday, emptying the tank and showing the Nationals what he can muster while on his last legs. Joe Ross, in a similar position as Fedde in this rotation, was able to do the same this afternoon, even in the Nats’ eventual 7-5 loss to complete a sweep at the hands of

McGowin nearing rehab assignment, coaches to be cleared Sunday

With the additions of new names and faces over the past week, the Nationals are still waiting for the returns of some familiar folks, hopefully sooner rather than later. On the field, the Nats are still without Kyle McGowin, who has been on the 10-day injured list since July 11 with right biceps fatigue. The right-handed reliever took a big step in his return this

Game 109 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

This afternoon’s series finale against the Phillies represents another opportunity for a young Nationals pitcher to go out and show what he can provide the team down the line, while also trying to avoid a four-game sweep at home. Joe Ross makes his 19th start of the year today. He’s 5-9 with a 4.00 ERA after giving up five runs (four earned) in last weekend’s

Who starts opening day 2022 for the Nationals?

Upon recording his 10th strikeout of the night late Wednesday, Max Scherzer stalked off the mound at Dodger Stadium and returned to the home dugout, where a bunch of new teammates doled out high-fives and ultimately pushed the three-time Cy Young Award winner back up the steps to acknowledge a sellout crowd seeking a curtain call. On the other side of the country, Nationals fans

Kids show off power, but Nats lose third straight (updated)

The Nationals and Phillies existed, for four months, in roughly the same neighborhood. Both star-laden teams struggled to get on any kind of a roll but kept themselves within close enough striking distance of the Mets to believe they might still have a shot at winning an exceptionally weak National League East this season. But then the Nats cratered over the final two weeks of

Coaching staff remains out, Escobar returns to lineup

One week after learning they had tested positive for COVID-19, two remaining Nationals players, five coaches and four other staffers still have not been cleared to rejoin the club. Manager Davey Martinez said the affected personnel are anxious to get back to work but are forced to remain away from the team until getting the green light from officials. “Not yet. Nothing,” Martinez said during

Game 108 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

There are players we know are going to be part of the Nationals’ plan in 2022, and there are players we know are not going to be part of their plan in 2022. And then there are those who don’t really fall into either category. They aren’t necessarily building blocks for the future, but they also still serve a valuable function and could return next

Nats to open 2022 at Mets, home opener vs. Phillies

The Nationals will open the 2022 season at Citi Field, facing the Mets, before returning to D.C. to host the Phillies in their home opener four days later. Major League Baseball is nothing if not predictable when it comes to scheduling. The league unveiled its 2022 schedule today, and it features all kinds of familiar-looking matchups. The Nationals open March 31 on the road against

After “crazy couple of days,” Adams hopes to stay in D.C.

Riley Adams was in Worcester, Mass., on Thursday, preparing to play that night for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate against Red Sox prospects, when he learned he needed to get to Rochester, N.Y., instead. He had just been traded to the Nationals for closer Brad Hand. After an emotional goodbye with his longtime teammates from the Blue Jays’ system, the 25-year-old catcher made his way

Nats keep it interesting but can’t rally vs. Phillies (updated)

The Nationals, no matter who remains on their ever-changing roster, continue to play well enough to keep themselves in every game. Give them that. Whether the organization’s goal remains winning in 2021 or not, the players who still comprise the 26-man roster are doing everything in their limited power to try to pull it off. They managed to take two of three from the equally

Suero optioned to Rochester, Adams and Guerra join roster

The Nationals optioned Wander Suero to Triple-A Rochester this afternoon, demoting the struggling reliever in hopes of getting him straightened out after a series of late-inning meltdowns that culminated with a blown save Monday night. Suero was one of two players removed from the active roster prior to tonight’s game, joining catcher René Rivera, who was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right

Game 107 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

Games like last night, when a recently acquired prospect makes his debut, are about the future. Games like tonight, when a struggling veteran takes the mound yet again, are about something else. Patrick Corbin is part of the Nationals’ future, but that’s only because his contract dictates it. He’s signed for three more seasons and still owed $82 million. He’s not going anywhere. So the

Thompson makes most of first appearance for Nats

Mason Thompson had three days to think about his Nationals debut, time to sit in the bullpen and observe, time to get to know everyone, time to wonder how and when he would be called upon to take the mound for the first time. The time finally came in the top of the sixth Monday night, in a game with the Phillies that was tied

Gray impresses in debut, but bullpen blows it in ninth (updated)

There are going to be more nights like this at Nationals Park the rest of the season, nights that include legitimate reason for optimism and then legitimate reason for anguish. It’s up to everyone - the players, the coaches, the front office, the fans - to decide what to care most about. On this unseasonably cool August Monday night, the optimists could look at Josiah

While Escobar deals with injury, García gets shot at short

It was lost in the shuffle a bit during a chaotic weekend that saw the Nationals undergo so much change, but infielder Alcides Escobar hasn’t played since Friday, still dealing with a swollen left wrist after getting hit by a pitch. Escobar wasn’t in the lineup for Saturday or Sunday’s games against the Cubs, and he’s again out of the lineup tonight against the Phillies,

Game 106 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

The debut of a promising young pitcher is always exciting. Perhaps the circumstances that preceded Josiah Gray’s debut tonight at Nationals Park weren’t cause for celebration, but now that it’s happened it’s worth embracing. This isn’t Gray’s major league debut; he pitched twice for the Dodgers in the last few weeks. But there’s an entirely different kind of hype and pressure for this start than

Should the Nats have locked up more of their own stars?

It started with Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond, who departed after the 2015 season. Then came Bryce Harper following the 2018 season. And, of course, Anthony Rendon a few months after they won the 2019 World Series. The Nationals, an organization that long prided itself on developing its own star players, has seen nearly all of them depart once they reached free agency. There have

Fedde pushed early, Hernandez wins it late for Nats (updated)

If you’re wondering - for practical, in-game purposes - what will be different the next two months from everything that came before it, here was a good example in the top of the sixth this afternoon at Nationals Park. Erick Fedde, who had been cruising along against a depleted Cubs lineup, opened that frame allowing a single to Andrew Romine, then a two-run homer to

Gray will debut Monday, Ruiz goes to Triple-A for now

Josiah Gray, the top pitching prospect the Nationals acquired in this week’s blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, will make his debut for the club Monday night, starting the series opener against the Phillies. The Nats officially added Gray to their active roster this morning, giving him a day to get acclimated before he takes the mound for the first of what they hope is many

Game 105 lineups: Nats vs. Cubs

It’s a gray Sunday at Nationals Park, and I actually mean that in the literal sense. Rain is forecast on and off throughout the afternoon. Hopefully, it doesn’t impact the game, but the grounds crew has the tarp ready to go just in case. Metaphorically, it’s been a gray several days for the Nats, who just wrapped up one of the worst months in club

Zimmerman endorses rebuild, contemplates his future

Ryan Zimmerman knows what it’s like to be part of a rebuild. Even if the specific details have faded from his mind over the last 12 years, the longest-tenured player in Nationals history remembers taking the field every night in 2009 on a 103-loss club that featured only a handful of players who would actually stick around long enough to be part of the club’s

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