Entries Listing

Thursday morning Nats Q&A

Well, we’ve reached the final leg of a long and often painful season. The Nationals flew home from Denver late Wednesday night after a long and painful, 10-5 loss to the Rockies. And now after a well-earned day off, they’ll face the Red Sox over the weekend to wrap things up in 2021. There are some compelling storylines to come over the next 72 hours,

Nats fall to Rockies in rain-delayed marathon road finale (updated)

They played two-plus innings in a little more than an hour before the heavy rain arrived in Colorado, then waited through a two-hour delay before taking the field again. They then played 6 1/2 more innings across nearly three more hours, each team using up most of its expanded bullpen, all in a vain attempt simply to complete this 159th game of a season that

Corbin won’t pitch again in 2021, Sunday starter TBD

Turns out Patrick Corbin’s start Tuesday night in Colorado was his final outing of the season. Nationals manager Davey Martinez met with the left-hander this morning and emerged with the decision not to send him back to the mound for one final start in Sunday’s season finale against the Red Sox, for both physical and emotional reasons. “You saw Patrick make his last start yesterday,”

Game 159 lineups: Nats at Rockies

It’s the final road game of the season for the Nationals, who haven’t exactly thrived away from home in 2021. They enter today’s matinee at Coors Field with a 30-50 record on the road, though if they win it’ll only be the fifth-worst away record in club history, the 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 teams having been worse. It’s also the final start of the

Who’s to blame for Nats’ extra-long games this season?

Juan Soto went 0-for-4 without reaching base Tuesday night, and that still didn’t qualify as the most surprising fact about the Nationals’ 3-1 loss to the Rockies. No, that honor went not to any one individual but to the clock at Coors Field. The game started at 6:40 p.m. local time, and it ended at 9:40 p.m. local time. Yes, a three-hour ballgame. At the

Another encouraging start for Corbin, but Nats lose (updated)

We don’t know at this point if Patrick Corbin will pitch again this season. Davey Martinez is still contemplating whether to send him back to the mound for Sunday’s finale against the Red Sox, or whether to let tonight’s outing in Colorado serve as his closing act on a dismal 2021. If, however, this was it for Corbin this season, he can head home for

Martinez plans to start Zimmerman at least once in final series

Ryan Zimmerman is in the Nationals lineup tonight for the 47th time this season, the 44th time at first base. It appears he’ll make at least one more start this weekend during the final series of 2021, but manager Davey Martinez still doesn’t know exactly how the potentially retiring Face of the Franchise wants to handle his playing time down the stretch. “We’re just taking

Game 158 lineups: Nats at Rockies

By any measure, it’s been a miserable season for Patrick Corbin. The left-hander enters tonight’s start at Coors Field with a 9-15 record and 5.92 ERA. A bad outing in this one, and he might just complete one of the worst seasons by any big league starter in a long time. The last pitcher to lose 16 games while posting an ERA over 6.00: Jason

Improvement from Hernandez in left field, but more to learn

The book on Yadiel Hernandez entering the 2021 season was pretty straightforward. He could hit fastballs, though he needed to prove he could hit off-speed pitches to have a chance of sticking in the big leagues, probably as a bench player. And if he was going to have any chance of playing the outfield with any regularity, he was going to have to take major

Bullpen delivers in Colorado to secure win for Gray (updated)

Ask an inexperienced bullpen that has been on fumes for weeks to protect a one-run lead at Coors Field in late September and you’re asking for trouble by default. Not that Davey Martinez had any choice tonight. Despite five scoreless innings from Josiah Gray to begin the Nationals’ series opener in Colorado, the rookie starter faded quickly in the sixth and got the hook with

Gray, Corbin could each get one more start this weekend

The Nationals are still mapping out pitching plans for the season’s final week, but it’s possible both Josiah Gray and Patrick Corbin could get another start this weekend against the Red Sox. Gray and Corbin are starting the first two games of the team’s penultimate series against the Rockies, with Gray on the mound at Coors Field tonight and Corbin to follow Tuesday. If the

Game 157 lineups: Nats at Rockies

We have reached the final week of the season, which makes this the final road series of the season. The Nationals are at Coors Field for the first time since April 24, 2019. Things have changed just a bit since then. That day, Aníbal Sánchez took the loss and fell to 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA. Matt Adams was the cleanup hitter. Jake Noll batted

Why the Nats could really use a multi-inning reliever or two

Nationals relievers have thrown a total of 545 1/3 innings this season, which works out to roughly 3 1/2 innings per game. It’s actually the fifth-lowest total in the majors, which may come as something of a surprise given how much it feels like their starters have struggled to pitch deep into games. Here’s a bigger problem, though: The Nationals have totaled 540 relief appearances

Another short start, another grand slam in Nats loss (updated)

Condense this lost season for the Nationals down to one issue, one reason above all else to explain why this organization is where it finds itself today with one week to go until a long winter, and the answer is obvious: Pitching. It’s all about the pitching. It’s always been about the pitching. And until something is done about the pitching, it’s hard to envision

Adams making most of limited starts behind plate

Riley Adams has done just about everything the Nationals could’ve asked of him since joining the club following his acquisition from the Blue Jays. The 25-year-old catcher enters today’s series finale in Cincinnati batting .288 with a .420 on-base percentage and .920 OPS in 81 plate appearances, with nine extra-base hits to his name. So how is it that he’s in the lineup today for

Game 156 lineups: Nats at Reds

The Nationals won’t be winning back-to-back series. That possibility flew out the window with back-to-back, walk-off losses in Cincinnati the last two nights. But they do have a chance to salvage a four-game split if they can win today’s series finale over the Reds. They would certainly love to get another quality start out of Josh Rogers, who has been an absolute revelation since his

Martinez undecided on effect of smaller September rosters

More than three weeks after 26-man rosters were expanded by just two players per an agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, Nationals manager Davey Martinez still isn’t sure what to make of the new rules and the tighter stretch-run rosters. “I haven’t decided yet, honestly,” Martinez said via Zoom before Saturday’s game against the Reds in Cincinnati. “Because in situations where

Ruiz’s tools on display in 7-6 loss to Reds (updated)

Keibert Ruiz joined the Nationals at the trade deadline as a prospect with a reputation for being undeniably toolsy. His offense took a while to get going, but both his bat and his defense were on full display Saturday night in a 7-6 loss to the Reds. Ruiz threw out two runners on the bases, one of which took the Reds out of a bigger

Kieboom cleared to play after MRI

Third baseman Carter Kieboom, who was scratched from last night’s starting lineup when left forearm soreness cropped up, has been cleared to play after a precautionary MRI earlier today showed no lingering issues. “Everything came back negative,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said in his pregame Zoom session with reporters. “He’s going to go work out today (and) we’ll see how he feels. But he’s available

Game 155 lineups: Nats at Reds

October is a week away and right-hander Erick Fedde (7-8, 4.66 ERA) is still searching for consistency. Though he’s won three out of four decisions since Aug. 17, he’s got a 5.05 ERA over that span, allowing opponents to slash .274/.308/.527. But his strikeouts have ticked up: 42 over his past 35 2/3 innings. Fedde is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two career starts

Ruiz’s bat heating up, Kieboom getting MRI on forearm

It always felt like it was only a matter of time. Keibert Ruiz’s track record in the minor leagues, not to mention his approach in his first extended stint in the major leagues, suggested the hits were going to start falling in. And once those did, the power would likely follow soon thereafter. So consider what is now happening vindication for anyone with the Nationals

Soto’s streak ends at 12, Nats lose in extras again (updated)

As captivating as it is to watch Juan Soto step to the plate and continually find ways to reach base, the truth is he can’t carry the Nationals on his own. He needs some support around him. And you may be surprised to know he has had a healthy amount of support for a couple of months now, even after the Nats’ late July sell-off.

Robles is hitting at Triple-A, but unlikely to return this season

Victor Robles is playing at Triple-A exactly how the Nationals hoped he would, but it doesn’t appear the club intends to call the outfielder back up to the majors before the season ends in nine days. Robles has appeared in 18 games for Rochester since the Nats demoted him Aug. 31, and entering tonight, he’s batting a robust .324 (23-for-71) with eight doubles, a triple,

Game 154 lineups: Nats at Reds (updated)

What’s this, a winning streak? By the Nationals? Why, yes, it is. Three in a row by manager Davey Martinez’s bunch after Thursday night’s 3-2 victory over the Reds in Cincinnati. It’s the club’s first three-game winning streak since Aug. 17-20. These guys haven’t won four in a row since June 27-30, which brought them to their high point of the season at 40-38 thanks

Is Rainey ready to take over closer’s job from Finnegan?

What should have been a nice and tidy, 3-0 victory for the Nationals in Cincinnati on Thursday night instead turned into a real nail biter. Handed that three-run lead for the bottom of the ninth, Kyle Finnegan proceeded to give up two quick runs and then let the winning run step to the plate with two outs. Finnegan would ultimately escape, striking out the Reds’

Soto’s remarkable run continues in win over Reds (updated)

We’ve reached the point of absurdity with Juan Soto. It has become impossible to note anything the young Nationals star does without comparing him to the greatest hitters who have ever played this game. And it’s not hyperbole. Soto legitimately deserves the comparison. Because you can’t really compare him to anyone else currently hitting in 2021, not right now. Yes, Bryce Harper is having a

Three years after trade, Romero joins Nats bullpen

Three years ago, a Nationals club stuck around the .500 mark made only one deal at the July 31 trade deadline, and it wasn’t one anybody expected. They dealt veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler to the Cubs for a Single-A relief pitching prospect named Jhon Romero. The move seemed to have more to do with moving Kintzler and his salary than in acquiring someone who was

Game 153 lineups: Nats at Reds

The Nationals have finally completed the National League East portion of their 2021 schedule. They played all 76 required games against the Braves, Mets, Phillies and Marlins, going a combined 30-46 along the way. (Not great, obviously.) So what’s left on the slate? Three series against non-division opponents: the Reds, Rockies and Red Sox. It begins in Cincinnati with a four-game series that opens tonight.

Garcia’s power, Rainey’s return and Cavalli’s mixed results

Juan Soto and Josiah Gray stole the show Wednesday night in Miami, but there were some other notable developments during the Nationals’ 7-5 win over the Marlins, plus one that took place in Worcester, Mass., of all places ... * Luis García had another big night at the plate, again showing off his power stroke. The 21-year-old second baseman went 2-for-5 with a double and

Another big night from Soto ensures Gray’s first win (updated)

Juan Soto, unquestionably, is having a remarkable season. The Nationals, unquestionably, are not. And those two facts might just be on a collision course in a week and a half, when members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America have to decide if the latter disqualifies the former from earning their National League MVP vote. Yes, Soto has very much thrust himself into that age-old

Avila gets start in hometown, chance to help Gray

Alex Avila’s three starts behind the plate this month all came with Patrick Corbin on the mound, a calculated move by Nationals manager Davey Martinez in hopes the veteran catcher could get the left-hander out of a long funk. Tonight, Avila will be behind the plate again, this time tasked with helping rookie Josiah Gray turn things around after a ragged stretch. “I’m just curious

Game 152 lineups: Nats at Marlins

It’s been a while since the Nationals last won a series. How long? How about Aug. 17-18, when they swept the Blue Jays in a two-game series in D.C. They haven’t won a three-game series since July 30-Aug. 1 against the Cubs. That’s a long time. Tonight, though, the Nats have a chance to end that streak if they can beat the Marlins in their

Nationals’ problem stopping running game has resurfaced

There was a time, before July 30, when the Nationals were among the toughest teams in baseball to run on. With Yan Gomes and Alex Avila behind the plate, the Nats excelled at controlling the running game, fixing what had been a major problem area for the team the previous two seasons. Alas, Gomes is now catching in Oakland. Avila only recently returned to the

Rogers dazzles during a 7 2/3-inning gem in Miami (updated)

For only the sixth time this season, a Nationals starter took the mound for the eighth inning, the first such instance in more than three months. The guys who had previously done it? Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin and Joe Ross. The guy who did it tonight in Miami? Josh Rogers. Yes, that Josh Rogers. The 27-year-old dumped from the Orioles’ Triple-A roster earlier this summer.

Kieboom sitting tonight after jamming left thumb

Carter Kieboom is not in the Nationals lineup tonight after jamming his left thumb sliding into second base in the ninth inning of Monday night’s loss in Miami. “Yesterday he got beat up a little bit, hurt his thumb a little bit,” manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame Zoom session with reporters. “So we’re just going to give him a day. And if we

Game 151 lineups: Nats at Marlins

It’s Rematch No. 2 tonight in Miami, and this time the dueling starters have the same name. Yes, for the second time in a week, it’s Josh Rogers versus Trevor Rogers, and who doesn’t get excited for that? The first showdown between these two left-handers occurred last Wednesday in D.C., with the Nationals’ Rogers tossing five scoreless innings and the Marlins’ Rogers allowing only one

Why do the Nats keep getting burned by Rule 5.09a(11)?

You would think by now the Nationals wouldn’t find themselves in the middle of yet another argument over the interpretation of Rule 5.09a(11). Not after it was used against Trea Turner twice, including most famously in Game 6 of the 2019 World Series. Yet there was Josh Bell, pleading his case after being struck in the back by a throw just as he reached first

Late mistakes cost Nationals in 10-inning loss (updated)

There is little sense at this point judging a Nationals-Marlins game on the performance of the two clubs after five or six innings. As much as they’ve faced each other in the last month, everyone should understand by now every game is going to be decided late, either by the bullpens or by some other manner of back-and-forth chaos. So it was again tonight in

Bell’s work in outfield creates more playing time for Zimmerman

Josh Bell starts in left field for the Nationals tonight, and while this is not a new development, it is notable that manager Davey Martinez felt comfortable enough in his slugging first baseman’s ability to handle himself out there that he was willing to do this for a game inside spacious loanDepot Park. The Marlins’ home stadium features one of the largest outfields in baseball,

Game 150 lineups: Nats at Marlins

If you feel like you’ve seen the Nationals and Marlins play each other enough already this season, well, join the club. Alas, there are three games remaining on the head-to-head schedule between these two division foes and those will be taking place over the next three nights. When they wrap things up Wednesday night, the Nats will have faced the Marlins 19 times for the

Dramatic NL batting race has all kinds of D.C. connections

As much as he wishes he could, Juan Soto can’t help but notice his batting average when he steps to the plate. And even if he manages to avoid it, he can’t help but hear about it from others. “You try to keep your mind away from it,” the Nationals right fielder said in a Zoom session with reporters Sunday. “You decide to come out

Espino shines again, bullpen closes out 3-0 win (updated)

If their collective motivations at this point have dwindled to trying to avoid a 100-loss season, several Nationals nonetheless have ample motivation over the season’s final two weeks on a personal level. For Juan Soto, there’s a potential second straight batting title to chase, not to mention a 1.000 OPS that would’ve sounded unthinkable three months ago. For Tanner Rainey, there’s a chance to re-establish

Avila will retire at season’s end, plans to work in baseball

Alex Avila came to his decision several months ago, before those double calf strains that threw a complete wrench into what he already knew would be the final season of his career. So the 34-year-old catcher has had plenty of time to contemplate what life will be like in retirement, a decision he chose to publicly announce today. “I went through that back-and-forth in my

Game 149 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies

The Nationals are not a good baseball team. Sorry to put it so harshly, but it’s impossible to ignore that fact at this point. And they haven’t just been bad since the trade deadline; they already were headed well in that direction a month prior to it. They’ve now played 70 games since July 1, and their record across that span is a dismal 20-50,

September workload is mental challenge for Finnegan, relievers

Kyle Finnegan is in his ninth professional season, his sixth as a full-time reliever, and he’s been fairly durable the entire time. He has not, however, found himself taking on the kind of workload required of him this season in Washington. The next time Finnegan takes the mound, whether this afternoon at Nationals Park or in the coming days during the final road trip of

Nats can’t overcome another dud from Corbin (updated)

The opportunity for Patrick Corbin to salvage his season has long since passed. There is no September surge that’s going to change the perception of the left-hander’s 2021 campaign, no strong finish that’s going to leave a good taste in the Nationals’ mouths as they head home for the winter. Corbin may yet deliver one or two positive moments before the season wraps up in

Rainey gets another chance with Nats, Suero sent down

In their never-ending quest to find some combination of relievers who can provide quality work late in games, the Nationals recalled Tanner Rainey from Triple-A before today’s game against the Rockies and optioned Wander Suero to Rochester. Whether that one transaction makes a significant impact for a bullpen that is running on fumes as the season winds down remains to be seen. But Rainey’s experience

Game 148 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies

At this stage of the season, you know the drill. The Nationals will be asking one of their starting pitchers to get them deep into the game with an effective performance, then hoping their bullpen can hang on the rest of the way. It’s been the formula for months, and more often than not it hasn’t worked. Not that manager Davey Martinez has any realistic

Could Martinez shake up the lineup over the last two weeks?

It ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A common phrase that Nationals manager Davey Martinez is taking to heart over the last month or so of the season as it pertains to his lineup. Ever since Lane Thomas solidified his role in the leadoff spot on Aug. 28, Martinez’s lineups have mostly looked like this: CF Lane ThomasSS Alcides EscobarRF Juan Soto1B Josh BellLF Yadiel Hernandez3B

Finnegan blows late rally, Nats eliminated with loss (updated)

There are only so many ways to say this, and given the frequency with which it’s happening, we’re running dangerously low on options. So I’ll be blunt: The Nationals bullpen blew two more leads in Friday’s 9-8 loss to the Rockies on South Capitol Street. Handed a one-run lead after a late rally in the eighth, Kyle Finnegan needed only three outs in the ninth

How Gray can earn his elusive first big league win (with Rizzo quote)

Wins and losses don’t really point to the successes and failures of a starting pitcher. So many things can happen throughout the course of a game that are out of the pitchers’ control, it wouldn’t be fair to judge them on their record alone. There are other numbers that tell a better story. That being said, wins and losses aren’t totally meaningless to pitchers. And

Game 147 lineups: Nats vs. Rockies

There are only 16 games left in the Nationals’ season, which means Josiah Gray probably only has four starts remaining, starting with tonight’s series opener against the Rockies. Gray started his career in D.C. strong, pitching to a 2.89 ERA over his first five starts. But he has since struggled with an ERA of 12.75 over his last three outings. If the right-hander wants to

Once a pitching-rich club, Nats have lost their way

In a summer full of agonizing losses, Wednesday’s 8-6 defeat at the hands of the Marlins had to rank among the Nationals’ worst. Not just because of the end result, but because of the path they took to reach that result. After getting five scoreless innings from starter Josh Rogers, and after getting a well-balanced offensive attack from a lineup that has been better than

First things first: Nats remain committed to Adams as catcher

Riley Adams wants you to know he’s a catcher, and he wants to continue being a catcher. And the Nationals coaching staff wants you to know it considers Adams a catcher and wants him to continue being a catcher. So why is Adams taking ground balls and learning proper technique at first base right now? “Just trying to get comfortable over there, and in an

Bullpen gives up eight to ruin Rogers’ strong start (updated)

The baseball that was displayed for 3 hours and 53 minutes this afternoon at Nationals Park was not of a caliber many in the announced crowd of 16,309 could have found satisfactory. The Nationals and Marlins took turns trying to out-underperform each other, from the Nats’ inability to produce with runners in scoring position to the Marlins’ inability to play clean defense to both bullpens’

Martinez, coaches honor Clemente with No. 21 jerseys

Davey Martinez won’t be able to walk up the dugout steps and stand on the field for today’s national anthem. After a follow-up procedure on his left ankle Tuesday, the Nationals manager remains in a cast and will again need to watch today’s game from a perch in the dugout (preferably in the shade on this hot and muggy afternoon). Those who can see Martinez,

Game 146 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

The nexus of the universe stands at the corner of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue SE this afternoon, where both the Nationals and Marlins will be sending left-handed pitchers to the mound named Rogers. OK, so this is hardly cosmos-bending stuff, but it is a funny little quirk about the matchup for today’s series finale at Nationals Park. Josh Rogers gets the start for

Bell holding his own in outfield, Soto chasing another batting title

Ryan Zimmerman produced the most memorable hit of Tuesday night’s 8-2 win over the Marlins when he launched a fastball from Jesús Luzardo 442 feet to right-center field, into the second deck at Nationals Park. But Zimmerman’s presence in the lineup was made possible in part by Josh Bell’s ability to remain in the lineup himself while moving out to left field for the night.

Zimmerman’s blast sets tone in Nats’ lopsided win (updated)

Nobody in a Nationals uniform gets a bigger ovation when he steps to the plate these days than Ryan Zimmerman. He’s far from the team’s best player at this point, but with only three home series remaining on the 2021 schedule, everyone in attendance is well aware there are only so many more guaranteed Zimmerman plate appearances to witness. The original face of the franchise

Martinez has follow-up procedure, Scherzer is Clemente nominee

Davey Martinez had a follow-up procedure on his left ankle earlier today, and though he was back at Nationals Park by mid-afternoon, it was unclear if he’d be in the dugout to manage tonight’s game against the Marlins. Martinez, who already watched one game from his office following his initial Sept. 2 surgery, has been wearing a cast since. He’s been managing all games from

Game 145 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

The Nationals avoided the ignominy of being no-hit for the first time Monday night, but let’s be honest: Even if it happened, it would’ve come against a worthy foe in Sandy Alcantara, an All-Star who was in peak form in the series opener. Tonight, they face a highly touted, but far less accomplished opponent in Jesús Luzardo. Yes, the same Luzardo the Nationals drafted and

Will Rainey and Robles return to play in D.C. this season?

As the Nationals’ season reaches its final stages, with only 18 games left on the schedule at this point, time is running out for any more players to be promoted from the minor leagues and get more than a token opportunity to make one final statement heading into 2022. Truth be told, the Nats have seen just about everyone they need to see by now,

Nats avoid no-hitter, but can’t touch Alcantara in loss (updated)

The Nationals played the 2,632nd regular season game in their history this evening, which means they’ve now existed as long as Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive games streak lasted from 1982-98. That’s nearly 17 seasons of the third incarnation of Major League Baseball in D.C. And though there have been no shortage of dizzying highs and terrifying lows along the way, the Nationals have always been

Mercer returns from IL, Sanchez designated for assignment

The Nationals got another veteran back on their roster for the season’s final weeks, activating infielder Jordy Mercer after a lengthy stint on the 10-day injured list before tonight’s series opener against the Marlins. Mercer, who hadn’t played since straining his left calf muscle July 20 against Miami, returns to the active roster after a brief rehab appearance with Double-A Harrisburg last week. The 35-year-old

Game 144 lineups: Nats vs. Marlins

Would you believe we’re down to the final three weeks of the season? Yep, tonight the Nationals begin a six-game homestand with the Marlins and Rockies. After that, they’re on a three-city road trip to Miami, Cincinnati and Colorado. And then they come home for the final series against the Red Sox. And that’s it. Time flies when you’re having fun. Or something like that.

Soto’s stats, Thomas’ power and a chat about walks

Juan Soto had little impact on the Nationals’ 6-2 victory Sunday in Pittsburgh. He didn’t drive in any runs. He scored only once. He took only one at-bat with a runner on base. He made no notable plays in right field. And yet the young star still had one of the best individual performances of the day, which it turns out was just like so

Pitching staff finally takes advantage of run support (updated)

The Nationals got their customary production today from a lineup that has quietly turned into a legitimate strength but too often has been wasted by ineffective pitching performances, especially from those charged with taking the mound late in games. Eight times since Aug. 25, this team had scored five or more runs. And proceeded to lose all eight games, the longest such streak in major

Ruiz cleared, but not in lineup after getting hit in face

Keibert Ruiz passed concussion tests and has been cleared to play, but the rookie Nationals catcher is not in the lineup for today’s series finale in Pittsburgh. Ruiz, who was struck near his right ear by a pitch from Pirates reliever Kyle Keller during Saturday night’s game, remains sore, but is allowed to play if needed. “He’s clear,” manager Davey Martinez said in his pregame

Game 143 lineups: Nats at Pirates

If you thought a lighter schedule was going to help the Nationals finish out a disappointing season strong, well, that hasn’t exactly played out as hoped so far this weekend. With back-to-back losses to the Pirates, the Nats are now in danger of being swept by one of the worst teams in baseball. (The Pirates, for what it’s worth, haven’t swept anyone in a three-game

Nats’ fighting effort is worth watching

I had someone ask me the other day, “How do you keep watching the Nationals when they’re losing so many games?” Aside from it being my job, my answer was easy: They’re always in it. You’ve heard manager Davey Martinez say it time and time again: “The boys are battling.” Well, what does that mean exactly, aside from the obvious definition of playing hard? “Yeah,

Nats pitching collapses in loss to Pirates (updated)

It’s no secret: The Nationals pitching staff is the team’s biggest liability at this point in the season. It seems like no lead is safe and every deficit could continue to grow. That was certainly the case during tonight’s 10-7 loss to the Pirates, the Nats’ third straight defeat, second in Pittsburgh. Optimists would say entering the bottom of the fifth inning with a 5-2

Martinez remembers baseball’s return after Sept. 11 attacks

It’s a tough day for all Americans today. The 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., brings a lot of emotions to all who remember that tragic day for our nation. Like many of us, Nationals manager Davey Martinez remembers exactly where he was and what he was doing

Game 142 lineups: Nats at Pirates

This weekend series between the Nationals and Pirates continues to be filled with reunions and signs of the changing times between these two franchises. Josh Bell homered in his return to Pittsburgh last night. Today, he’ll get the chance to face Wil Crowe, the pitcher the Nats sent to the Pirates in order to acquire the first baseman last winter. A second-round pick by the

Bell has long since overcome awful start to season

Try as he might to ignore it at the time, Josh Bell couldn’t avoid knowing his stat line on May 13, the low point of a 2021 season that was shaping up to be a disaster. The big slugger, in his first season with the Nationals, was batting .133 with three homers, 10 RBIs, a .198 on-base percentage, .289 slugging percentage and .487 OPS that

Nationals’ fill-in closers can’t close out Pirates (updated)

They got another quality start from Josh Rogers. They got a big blast from Josh Bell in his return to Pittsburgh. The Nationals just needed their bullpen to finish off the Pirates. A bullpen that featured two unfamiliar people pitching the bottom of the ninth, which ultimately undid the Nats. Patrick Murphy, given a chance to close with Kyle Finnegan unavailable due to his recent

MLB suspends Nolin five games, Martinez one game (updated)

Major League Baseball has suspended Nationals pitcher Sean Nolin five games and manager Davey Martinez one game after determining Nolin intentionally hit Braves slugger Freddie Freeman with a pitch Wednesday night in Atlanta. Nolin, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, initially appealed his suspension and was to remain on the active roster until his case was heard, but the Nationals later announced the lefty

Game 141 lineups: Nats at Pirates

If you’re interested in silver linings, here’s one for you: The Nationals are done playing the National League’s division title contenders for the season. Yep, they’re wrapped things up against the Braves, Phillies, Mets, Brewers, Giants and Dodgers, and though there are still series remaining with the wild card contending Reds and Red Sox, the worst of the schedule is now behind them. And that

Friday morning Nats Q&A

We are inching toward the finish line of this most unusual season. The Nationals have 22 games left to play, none of them against the National League East’s three remaining contenders. It’s going to be the Pirates, Marlins (home and home), Rockies (home and home), Reds and Red Sox to close out the 2021 campaign, so there appear to be both winnable games and some

Nats battle Braves one final time before falling in 10th (updated)

If the final month of this lost season is about giving young players a chance to grow and establish their place within the Nationals’ plans in 2022 and beyond, tonight’s 7-6, 10-inning loss to the Braves provided no shortage of evidence for several potential building blocks on the roster. In both positive and negative ways. The positives: Carter Kieboom and Lane Thomas delivered clutch hits

Martinez surprised by Thomas’ baserunning blunders

For all the good he has done since joining the Nationals last month - and he’s done a lot of good - Lane Thomas has one curious blemish on his otherwise sparkling resume: baserunning blunders. The 26-year-old outfielder has twice been thrown out on the bases not because of anything the opposing defense did, but because of his own lack of awareness of the rules.

Game 140 lineups: Nats at Braves

The Nationals gutted out a 4-2 victory Wednesday night in Atlanta, thanks to 8 2/3 innings from six relievers who were thrust into overtime duties after Sean Nolin was ejected eight pitches in for throwing at Freddie Freeman. Where does that leave them for tonight’s series finale at Truist Park? Well, first and foremost, they need innings from Erick Fedde. That’s a big ask for

The domino effect of Wednesday’s incident

Sean Nolin’s ejection eight pitches in Wednesday night added some drama to what might otherwise have been an insignificant ballgame in Atlanta. But it also set in motion a link of falling dominoes that would impact not only that game but tonight’s series finale and perhaps some portion of this weekend’s series in Pittsburgh. For those who missed it: Nolin was ejected by plate umpire

Nats send message, then topple Braves (updated)

For Sean Nolin and the Nationals, the message (standing up for a star teammate against an opponent that appeared to hit him on purpose the previous night) superseded all else. If it meant the rest of the pitching staff would face an extreme uphill battle from that point on, so be it. The message, even if nobody would publicly admit it after the fact, was

Ruiz returns to lineup, Mercer begins rehab assignment

Keibert Ruiz’s much-hyped Nationals debut came eight days ago, in the club’s homestand opener against the Phillies, with fellow former Dodgers prospect Josiah Gray on the mound. Since then, the rookie catcher has gone a pedestrian 3-for-21 at the plate, started four games, fouled a ball off his right knee and spent three days recovering from the bone bruise that caused. The Nats can only

Game 139 lineups: Nats at Braves

What’s the best thing the Nationals could do to give themselves a better chance of winning tonight against the Braves? How about a quality performance from their starter, allowing them to avoid falling into an early hole yet again and asking their lineup to battle back just to make it interesting late? As impressive as the offense has been with all these rallies of late

Hernandez finishing strong with an eye toward next season

Yadiel Hernandez will turn 34 next month, and his youthful exuberance and willingness to do anything asked of him have ingratiated him to the Nationals, who may have to figure out how to keep him on the roster for the 2022 campaign. One thing that would make Hernandez’s inclusion on the roster next season a no-brainer: if Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association

Nats’ late rally goes for naught in 8-5 loss to Braves (updated)

For the sixth straight game, the Nationals mounted a furious comeback, erasing a 5-1 deficit by scoring four times in the seventh to give themselves new life in the opener of their series against the Braves in Atlanta. Yadiel Hernandez’s three-run homer in the seventh knotted the score at 5-5, but switch-hitter Ozzie Albies, hitting right-handed against righty Ryne Harper in the bottom of the

Martinez on Ruiz’s knee, plans for Rogers and Thompson

Catcher Keibert Ruiz continues to recover from a bone bruise on his right knee, but Nationals manager Davey Martinez is hopeful he will have the young backstop available off the bench tonight, assuming he gets through pregame activities without any issues. “He’s gonna go catch in the bullpen, take (batting practice), he’s gonna run a little bit,” Martinez said in his pregame Zoom session with

Game 138 lineups: Nats at Braves

While he’s been one of the bright spots in an otherwise lost season, there’s no way around the fact that as righty Paolo Espino’s innings totals have gone up, his effectiveness has gone down. Espino (4-4, 4.08 ERA) starts tonight as the Nationals open a three-game series at Atlanta, and is hoping to deliver both some length and some efficiency. In six starts since the

In a pinch, nobody’s been better than Stevenson

When Ryan Zimmerman drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth Friday night, Nationals manager Davey Martinez immediately sent Andrew Stevenson out to pinch-run for the veteran. And wouldn’t you know it, but minutes later Stevenson was racing around the bases and ultimately colliding with Mets catcher Chance Sisco en route to scoring the game-tying run. So when Zimmerman drew a two-out walk

Nats finally convert late, rally to beat Mets (updated)

All weekend, over the course of five games in four days, the Nationals battled their way back against the Mets. Three times they trailed, once by a whopping nine runs, and rallied to tie late, only to ultimately lose in the end. But today, in their final matchup of the season, the Nats finally finished the job. Down a run in the bottom of the

Ruiz out with bone bruise, Adams gets first drills at first base

Keibert Ruiz has a bone bruise in his right knee, the result of a foul ball he hit off himself Saturday, and remains unavailable to catch for today’s series finale against the Mets. The Nationals planned to have their rookie start multiple games of this five-game weekend series, but he wound up catching only the first half of Saturday’s doubleheader. Fouling a ball off his

Game 137 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

At long last, the Nationals and Mets wrap up their five-game holiday weekend series, not to mention their 19-game season series, this afternoon. These two teams have been playing each other way too much lately. In fact, 11 of the Nats’ last 25 games have come against the Mets. I think I speak for everyone who has had to cover or watch all these games

Still way too soon to know what kind of pitcher Gray will be

As you watched Josiah Gray alternate between misfiring pitches well outside of the strike zone to his arm side and leaving them right over the heart of the plate to be hammered by Mets hitters Sunday afternoon, you couldn’t help but be alarmed. This was a bad start, and there was no way to try to frame it as anything other than that. It included

Gray battered early, bullpen blasted late in 13-6 loss (updated)

On a day in which they watched their brightest young starting pitcher get beat around for the second time in a week, the Nationals yet again found a way to overcome an early deficit and make the Mets sweat. And they yet again found a way to turn a potentially inspiring comeback into a calamitous, late-inning meltdown that made it all moot. At some point,

Rogers stays on roster, Parra placed on IL

Josh Rogers is going to get another chance to pitch for the Nationals. Gerardo Parra may not get another chance to play for them. The club decided to keep Rogers on the active roster following his impressive debut Saturday night as a fill-in starter for a doubleheader split with the Mets, and manager Davey Martinez said the left-hander is likely to going to make at

Game 136 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

The Nationals and Mets have already played three games in this holiday weekend series, and they’re not even close to wrapping it up just yet. They face off this afternoon, then will return Monday afternoon for the Labor Day finale of a rare, five-game set. After the craziness of Saturday’s doubleheader, everyone would appreciate a simpler affair today. And the Nats would love to get

Martinez not worried about Ruiz’s slow start at bat

A week into Keibert Ruiz’s Nationals tenure, the promising young catcher is assuming the bulk of the workload behind the plate but still trying to find his way offensively. A 1-for-5 afternoon in the Nats’ 11-9 loss to the Mets left Ruiz’s slash line at .148/.148/.259. Manager Davey Martinez is paying close attention to the rookie, who was anointed the organization’s top prospect after coming

Newcomer Rogers beats Mets, halts skid at seven (updated)

An unknown quantity produced some much-needed quality for the Nationals on Saturday night. Lefty Josh Rogers - whose contract was selected from Triple-A Rochester to start the nightcap of a doubleheader because he was on turn and filled a need - threw 5 2/3 innings of four-hit, three-run ball as the Nationals beat the Mets 4-3 to snap a seven-game losing streak. Employing a herky-jerky

Game 135 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

With their losing streak at seven games, the Nationals will send left-hander Josh Rogers to the mound against the Mets in the nightcap of today’s doubleheader. Gametime is scheduled for 6:55 p.m. after the extra-inning loss in the opener, and “Nats Xtra” pregame will air at 6:30 p.m. on MASN. Rogers was 7-3 2ith a 3.70 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) for Triple-A Rochester.

Nats rally from 9-0 hole, fall 11-9 to Mets in extras (updated)

Erick Fedde is still searching for consistency and the Nationals continue to seek an elusive victory. Francisco Lindor led off the ninth inning with a moonshot two-run homer off Kyle Finnegan and the Mets, who blew a 9-0 lead and allowed the Nats to tie the game on Andrew Stevenson’s two-run homer in the seventh, outlasted the Nats 11-9 in nine innings in the first

Rogers joins Nationals, will start nightcap vs. Mets

The Nationals have selected the contract of left-hander Josh Rogers from Triple-A Rochester, and he will be the 29th man for today’s doubleheader against the Mets and will start the nightcap. “He’ll start the second game,” manager Davey Martinez said during his morning Zoom briefing with reporters. “Four-pitch mix and he throws strikes. ... Wanna give him a shot and see what he can do.”

Game 134 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

If the Nationals are going to halt their six-game skid, they’re going to need a decent start from right-hander Erick Fedde (6-9, 5.08 ERA), who goes in the seven-inning opener of a doubleheader this afternoon. Though he’s coming off a loss to the Mets on Sunday at Citi FIeld, Fedde has won two of his last three outings after a stretch that saw him drop

Kieboom making most of latest opportunity to impress Nats

As the Nationals use the waning weeks of a lost season to gauge what they have moving forward, it won’t be unusual to see some new faces in the lineup or some known quantities in different spots in the batting order. That’s part of a retooling, and manager Davey Martinez wants to use real-time opportunities to see what he’s got to work with for next

Nats rally in ninth, but fall 6-2 in 10 innings (updated)

A last-of-the-ninth rally nearly made up for eight innings of Nationals offensive struggles, but an out-of-contention club playing only for pride (and to stay in fourth place in the National League East) opened a five-game holiday weekend series with another loss. The Mets tallied four times in the 10th inning off Austin Voth for a 6-2 victory that extended Washington’s losing streak to six games.

Finnegan returns from paternity leave, McGowin hits injured list

The Nationals bullpen got a boost and took a hit today, with news that right-hander Kyle Finnegan had returned from paternity leave. To make room for Finnegan on the 28-man roster, the Nats placed righty Kyle McGowin on the 10-day injured list with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, a tough break for a guy who has performed well while riding the

Game 133 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Sean Nolin (0-2, 6.57 ERA) will take the hill tonight to face the Mets.Since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 11, the lefty has made three starts, two of them against the Mets, against whom he’s gone 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA and a 1.680 WHIP, allowing six runs on 14 hits with no walks, three

Soto hitting at high level again without sacrificing walks

Juan Soto has known for some time now opponents aren’t going to pitch to him. At least not with any regularity. He’s drawn 48 walks in 42 games since the All-Star break, far and away most in the majors. And that has produced a whopping .516 on-base percentage during that time, also far and away the highest in the majors. If you’ve been paying even

Inexperienced Nats once again hand game to Phillies (updated)

The Nationals understand there are going to be growing pains as they play out the string of a season that has now long since morphed from one with legitimate visions of success into one that is solely about starting a difficult organizational rebuild. But it’s one thing when those growing pains come in the form of rallies made possible by a superior opponent’s performance. It’s

Martinez has minor foot procedure, Bogar may manage

Davey Martinez underwent a planned, minor foot procedure earlier this morning, and though he’s expected to be at Nationals Park in time for today’s series finale against the Phillies, bench coach Tim Bogar may take over his duties for the game. Martinez had previously scheduled the procedure, expecting today to be an off-day for the Nationals as originally planned. Wednesday’s rainout, though, pushed the game

Game 132 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

As bad as the rain was Wednesday, and as awful as the weather has been for weeks now, boy is today a nice pay-off. Fall has arrived in full force, and it’s going to be a glorious afternoon for baseball as the Nationals and Phillies wrap up their delayed series finale. The postponement was probably good for the Nats bullpen, which was beginning to run

Boone to leave Nationals due to vaccine mandate

The Nationals’ recent decision to require all full-time, non-playing employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 will result in the departures of some staff members, including one of general manager Mike Rizzo’s top lieutenants: Bob Boone. Boone, who has worked in the front office since the club arrived in Washington in 2005, has informed the organization he will step down instead of getting the vaccine, sources

Nats add Avila, lefty Baldonado as September call-ups

With an opportunity to expand their rosters by two players now that the calendar has shifted to September, the Nationals chose to add a veteran catcher who had been injured for two months and a journeyman left-hander who will be making his major league debut. The Nats activated Alex Avila off the injured list and selected the contract of reliever Alberto Baldonado from Triple-A Rochester,

Finale vs. Phillies postponed to Thursday at 1:05 p.m.

With heavy rain and wind expected all day and evening as the remnants of Hurricane Ida sweep through the mid-Atlantic, the Nationals wasted no time and announced the postponement of tonight’s series finale against the Phillies more than eight hours before scheduled first pitch. The game will now be made up Thursday at 1:05 p.m., the full nine innings scheduled. Tickets and parking passes for

What’s Robles’ future with the Nationals now?

Davey Martinez was adamant. This was not the end of the road for Victor Robles with the Nationals. “I’ve said this before, and I mean this with all my heart: We want Victor to be successful up here,” an emotional manager said Tuesday night on Zoom when asked about Robles’ demotion to Triple-A. “He’s still young, he’s (24) years old, he’s got a bright future

« August 2021 | Main Index | Archives | October 2021 »