August 28, 2015

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

Washington Nationals Game 123 Review: Nats take 2 of 3 from Brewers

SUNDAY: Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon homered, Danny Espinosa drove in three with a double and the Washington Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 9-5 to take two of three in the weekend series.

The Nats (62-61) remain five games behind the New York Mets, 5-1 winners over Colorado.

Jordan Zimmerman got the win, improving to 10-8, but he wasn’t particularly sharp. The veteran righty allowed four earned runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out seven. Drew Storen allowed a solo home run to Kris Davis leading off the eighth inning, but struck out the next three batters, and Jonathan Papelbon made a rare appearance in a 1-2-3 ninth to lock down the win.

Bryce Harper doubled twice in five trips and Rendon drove in three.

SATURDAY: Rookie Joe Ross was sublime, giving up just one run on six hits and no walks, striking out four, to lead the Nats over the Brewers 6-1.

Blake Treinen and Matt Thornton both pitched a scoreless frame in relief.

Michael Taylor extended a recent power surge, homering for the 13th time this season, and Anthony Rendon finally hit his second of the year, going 2 for 2 with two walks. Wilson Ramos and Taylor had two hits apiece as well.

FRIDAY: The Brewers rocked Gio Gonzalez and knocked him out of the game after just five innings as the Nats dropped the series opener 10-3.

Gonzalez had one of his worst starts of the season, allowing four earned runs (five total) on eight hits and two walks, striking out five. His defense let him down with a pair of errors and several other miscues.

Doug Fister took over and was no better, surrendering four runs (three earned) on four hits and a walk in just 1 1/3 innings. Tanner Roark gave up a run on two hits in an inning and two-thirds.

Bryce Harper hit his 31st homer in the sixth inning off Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson (W, 10-9, 3.60) and Michael Taylor connected for his 12th of the year in the seventh off Kyle Lohse.

Washington Nationals call up No. 2 prospect Trea Turner

The Washington Nationals promoted SS Trea Turner from Triple-A Syracuse and placed 1B/OF Tyler Moore on the disabled list, reportedly because he stepped on a ball during batting practice Thursday evening and sprained his ankle.

To make room on the 40-man roster, Aaron Barrett was transferred to the 60-day DL.

Turner, 22, was hitting .314/.353/.431 at Syracuse with three home runs and 15 RBIs and 14 of 16 steals in 205 plate appearances. He’s had three stops in the minors this season and is a combined .322/.370/.458 in 500 plate appearances.

Turner came to the Nats in the Steven Souza trade, along with Joe Ross, from the San Diego Padres. Up until the last two days, Turner had exclusively played shortstop as a professional. He’s played the last two days at second base in Syracuse, presumably to ensure he could be used as a utility player at the big league level for now.

It’s hard to envision where Turner will get playing time in the bigs at this point, other than pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. Ian Desmond was once a strong candidate to be benched, but he has hit .262/.331/.500 with eight homers and 21 RBIs since the All-Star break. Yunel Escobar continues to hit, and between Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa, second base is already pretty crowded.

Turner is athletic, fast and has good baseball instincts. His batting average is propped up by a pretty high BABiP, one that’s unsustainable at the MLB level, but his speed allows him to reach base on a high number of infield hits. He has the range and arm strength to stick at shortstop and while he might not be the second coming of Ozzie Smith, he should play MLB-average defense at the position.

With the Nats still carrying an extra pitcher, this move leaves the Nats with a bench of Jose Lobaton, Clint Robinson, Espinosa and Turner.

Washington Nationals Game 117 Review: Bumgarner sublime, Nats drop sixth straight

TEAM MANAGES JUST THREE HITS, ONLY TWO RUNNERS REACH SCORING POSITION

Rock bottom?

The Washington Nationals fell below .500 after losing their sixth game in a row, shut out by Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants 5-0 on Sunday, completing the first four-game sweep against the Nats since Jim Riggleman’s first four games as a Nats manager.

The Nats, 10-20 since the All-Star break, remaining 4 1/2 games behind the New York Mets, 8-1 losers to Pittsburgh. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 116 Review: Gio roughed up, Nats lose fifth straight

BRYCE HARPER LEAVES GAME IN SEVENTH AFTER FOULING BALL OFF BACK LEG

When it rains, it pours.

Gio Gonzalez had his shortest outing of the year, the bullpen allowed more runs after that and the Washington Nationals lost their fifth straight game, 12-6 to the San Francisco Giants, on Saturday night.

The Nats pitchers walked four in the game, and all four came around to score. Each of the four pitchers used by the Nats allowed runs.

The Nats fell to .500 (58-58) for the season and remain 4 1/2 games behind the New York Mets, 5-3 losers to Pittsburgh in extra innings. [Read more…]

While the division slips away, day dreaming about opening day

The Washington Nationals are hard to watch right now. They aren’t hitting nearly enough. The bullpen gives up runs on a nightly basis, failing to protect leads or allowing insurance runs to make comebacks impossible. Even the stalwart starting pitchers are struggling post- All-Star break. Defensive miscues abound, mental mistakes are staring to creep in and, all the while, the manager is starting to make panic moves like having a .300 hitter bunt a runner over to third with no outs in the first inning. It’s getting ugly.

So… let’s pause from this for a moment and distract ourselves, shall we? Regardless of how this season eventually shakes out, there will be big changes on the field. There may be big changes off the field as well, but that depends on the next six weeks of baseball and that’s what we’re trying to forget for a moment. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 115 Review: Scherzer hit hard in Nats 4th straight loss

HARPER, ESPINOSA HOMER IN FIFTH TO DRAW WITHIN ONE, BUT PEN GIVES UP TWO MORE

The Washington Nationals fell to 1-4 on their current 10-game west coast road trip as Max Scherzer was roughed up early and the bullpen gave up two late runs after the Nats managed a four-run fifth inning to get back into it. It added up to an 8-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants and a four-game losing streak for the Nats.

The Nats fell to 58-57 on the season, and remain 4 1/2 games behind the division leading New York Mets, who lost to Pittsburgh 3-2 in 10 innings. [Read more…]

Nats Nightly: Offense absent again in loss to Giants

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 3-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

Check Out Baseball Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with District Sports Page Nats Nightly on BlogTalkRadio

Washington Nationals Game 114 Review: Bats quiet once again in San Fran

HARPER HAS TWO OF NATS’ FIVE HITS ON THE NIGHT

In the midst of a make-or-break 10-game west coast road trip, the Washington Nationals fell to 1-3 in the first four games as the offense struggled yet again, falling to the San Francisco Giants 3-1 at AT&T Park.

The Nats fell yet another game, 4 1/2 now, behind the division leading New York Mets, 12-3 winners over Colorado. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 113 Review: Nats blanked by Kershaw

TWO-RUN THROWING ERROR BY RENDON IN EIGHTH SEALS NATS’ FATE

Facing Clayton Kershaw in the rubber match of a three-game series is a daunting task. On Wednesday, the Washington Nationals — with Bryce Harper less than 100 percent with a bum knee — were not up to the task, falling to the overpowering lefty and the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0, starting the Nats almost do-or-die 10-game west coast road swing at 1-2 in the City of Angels.

With the loss, the Nationals fall 3 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the N.L. East, 3-0 winners over Colorado.

Kershaw (W, 10-6, 2.39) allowed three hits — and no walks — over eight innings, striking out eight. Kanley Jansen mopped up in a hitless ninth for his 22nd save.

The hard-luck loser was Jordan Zimmermann, who was pretty good in his own right, though no perfect, which he would have had to have been to outduel Kershaw. Zimmermann (L, 8-8, 3.34) allowed one run on two hits and a walk, striking out nine, in his seven innings.

Drew Storen struggled once again, allowing two runs in two-third of an inning. Though his defense let him down in a big way as well.

The Dodgers scratched a run out against Zimmermann in the third. Rookie Joc Pederson drew a walk, went to second on fellow rookie Jose Peraza’s ground out and scored on Carl Crawford’s line drive single to left.

It was goose eggs the rest of the way until the eighth.

Storen struck out Alberto Callaspo, but hit Pederson on a 1-2 count. Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier then laced a line drive to right for a double, with Pederson stopping at third. Harper played the relay into Anthony Rendon, and he inexplicably threw the ball up the third base line and over everyone’s head and into a camera well, allowing both runners to score on the out-of-play ball.

Storen has allowed eight runs in his past three outings.

If you were looking for offense out of the Nats, well, there was none, save for Michael Taylor’s 2 for 3 night. Other than that, Kershaw was dominant against a Nats lineup that lately has been making the mediocre look like Cy Young.

NEXT GAME: The Nats move up the coast to play the defending World Champion San Francisco Dodgers in a three-game set. Stephen Strasburg (6-5, 4.76) takes the hill against Ryan Vogelsong (7-8, 4.26) at 10:10 pm ET.

Washington Nationals Game 113 Review: Greinke, Puig too much for Nats

HARPER SITS IT OUT WITH INJURED LEFT KNEE

Mama said there would be days like these.

Zack Greinke was his normally dominant self, Yasiel Puig had a monster night and the Los Angeles Dodgers spanked the Washington Nationals 5-0 at Chavez Ravine in the second of a three-game set.

The Nats fell to 58-54, and dropped to 2 1/2 games behind the New York Mets, 4-0 winners over Colorado. [Read more…]

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