October 7, 2015

Washington Nationals Game 154 Review: Nats Beat Phillies in Extras, Eliminated from Playoffs

Saturday evening was a bittersweet affair for the Washington Nationals. They beat the Phillies 2-1 in extra innings on a walk-off double hit by outfielder Bryce Harper, but — after the Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds to clinch the National League East division title during the game — the Nats were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg threw a noteworthy game with thirteen total strike outs in eight innings pitched. It was the fifth time this season Strasburg has tallied 10-plus strikeouts, the fourth consecutive time he’s done so in 2015, and the twenty-first time of his career. Strasburg gave up three hits and one run while walking a batter, and throwing one wild pitch. He threw 101 pitches and 73 strikes. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 147 Review: Nats Beat Marlins on a Sacrifice Fly in Extra Innings

The Washington Nationals made things interesting on Friday night and ended their night with a 5-4 win  over the Miami Marlins on a sacrifice fly hit by Catcher Jose Lobaton. The fly ball hit by Lobaton sent outfielder Jayson Werth home to score and secure the victory.

Starting pitcher Max Scherzer stayed strong through seven innings pitched despite a minor hiccup of a two-run homer hit by Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich in the first inning. Scherzer threw 104 pitches and 70 strikes while giving up five hits and two runs. He walked two, struck out two, and threw one wild pitch.

The Nats offense caught up with Miami the next inning by scoring a run on a solo homer hit by Clint Robinson off Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez making it 2-1 through two innings played. Fernandez lasted five and two-thirds innings while giving up five hits and two runs to the Nats.

Washington tied it up at 2-2 in the sixth inning when outfielder Bryce Harper scored on a wild pitch thrown by Fernandez but the Marlins pulled ahead 3-2 in the eighth while facing reliever Felipe Rivero.

A throwing error made by second baseman Anthony Rendon with reliever Blake Treinen on the mound in the eighth tied it up 3-3  before the Nats pulled ahead by a  run after in the bottom half of that same inning. Wild pitches thrown by Marlins reliever Jose Urena resulted in movement along the base path for the top of the Nats order. Pinch runner Trea Turner scored on a on a sacrifice fly hit by shortstop Ian Desmond to center field to tie it up and Harper scored on a clutch single hit by outfielder Michael A. Taylor giving the Nats a 4-3 lead.

Miami caught up with the Nats to tie it back in the top of the ninth against closer Jonathan Papelbon, whose been ill the past few days with a fever and wasn’t 100% according to Manager Matt Williams. Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas tied it up by scoring off a sacrifice fly hit by Miami’s lead off man Dee Gordon but the Nats would take the game in the tenth inning on Lobaton’s sacrifice fly off reliever Brian Ellington as redemption.

HERO: Lobaton for the sac fly in the tenth.

GOAT: Papelbon for blowing the save.


  • The Nats are 8-2 in extra innings this season now.

UP NEXT: LHP Justin Nicolino (3-3, 3.81) and the Miami Marlins face RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.51) and the Washington Nationals in Washington, D.C. at 4:05 p.m.

Washington Nationals Game 146 Review: Nats Fall Short Against Marlins

The Miami Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 6-4 on Thursday night in Washington, D.C. Starting pitcher Tanner Roark lasted five innings against the Marlins while giving up six runs on eight hits — including two home runs — and striking out four batters. Roark threw 80 pitches and 54 strikes.

Miami dug into Roark right away starting with lead off man and second baseman Dee Gordon. Gordon opened the game up with a single before third baseman Martin Prado went long with one out putting the Marlins up 2-0.

Washington tied it up at 2-2 in the second inning  when outfielder Jayson Werth scored on a two-run homer crushed by shortstop Ian Desmond off Marlins starting pitcher Jarred Cosart. The Nats didn’t manage to get another run again until the sixth inning and it was already too late by that point.

The Marlins took a four-run lead in the fifth inning against Roark and the Nats on four hits. Shortstop Miguel Rojas led off the inning with a double before scoring on a sacrifice fly hit by Gordon making it a 3-2 ballgame. A pair of back-to-back singles hit by outfielder Christian Yelich and Prado followed by a three-run homer hit by first baseman Justin Bour was the game’s “decider” moment according to Washington’s Manager Matt Williams with the Marlins up 6-2.

The Nats had an opportunity in the eighth inning to tie up the game but only managed a pair of runs. Washington left the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate while falling to Miami 6-4. Third baseman Anthony Rendon led off the inning with a single off reliever Brian Ellington and moved to scoring position on a single hit by outfielder Bryce Harper off reliever Mike Dunn. A two-out , two-RBI single hit by Desmond off reliever Bryan Morris putting the Nats within reach of the Marlins but it wasn’t enough.

HERO: Desmond for presenting the Nats with a clutch offensive performance. He went 2-for-4 with a home run and a single. Washington only had six hits on Thursday. He had two of them.

GOAT: Roark didn’t get the job done. It’s that simple.


  • Closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable today due to falling ill. He had a fever.
  • The Nats bullpen held the Marlins for four innings tonight. Nobody scored against Doug Fister, Matt Grace, Rafael Martin, and Matt Thornton.

UP NEXT: Jose Fernandez (5-0, 2.06) and the Miami Marlins face Max Scherzer (12-11, 2.91) and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. at 7:05 p.m.

Washington Nationals Game 126 Review: Nats Squeak by Padres, Injuries Arise

The Washington Nationals beat the San Diego Padres 4-2 on Thursday night in D.C. but suffered quite a blow in regards to injuries.

Outfielder Michael A. Taylor and third baseman Yunel Escobar were down for the count by the end of the night but Washington still managed to sneak by the Padres.

Taylor ran into the outfield wall tracking down a fly ball and came up lame and needed help get off the field with a knee contusion. Escobar was hit by a pitch in his wrist — which drove in a run — and left the game.

Starting pitcher Joe Ross threw six innings of one-hit, one-run ball while walking two batters and striking out seven for the Nats. He threw 77 pitches and 48 strikes. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 113 Review: Nats blanked by Kershaw


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 110 Review: Storen Struggles in the Eighth, Rockies Beat Nats 6-4

The Colorado Rockies beat the Washington Nationals 6-4 on Sunday afternoon after a rough eighth inning relief appearance by Nats pitcher Drew Storen.

Starting pitcher Max Scherzer pitched six innings for Washington. He gave up four runs (and three home runs) on eight hits while hitting a batter, intentionally walking a batter, and throwing one wild pitch. Scherzer tallied ten strikeouts and threw 84 pitches (63 strikes). For Scherzer, this particular 10-strikeout performance marked his seventh such outing this season and the 32nd of his career. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 103 Review: Third-inning surge give Mets sweep of Nats

The Washington Nationals last woke up without sole possession of first place in the NL East on June 20, and will do so again on Monday morning, unlikely as that may have seemed even a week ago.

Their post-All Star break swoon hit a new low on Sunday night, as starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann gave up three home runs in the third inning and the New York Mets won 5-2 in a nationally televised game at Citi Field. The win moves the Mets into a tie for first place in the division and a desperately needed three-game sweep against Washington.

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 98 Review: Marlins top Nationals 4-1


The Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins dueled on Tuesday night in Miami, with the Nats falling 4-1. Jose Fernandez, recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2014, went six full, allowing one run on four hits, walking four, and striking out five. Jordan Zimmermann matched Fernandez for five innings, allowing one run on five hits, striking out two and walking none, but came apart in the sixth, surrendering three hits, two more runs, two walks (both intentional) and left the game after six.

The Nationals’ only run came on a sacrifice fly in the second. Wilson Ramos drove in Bryce Harper on a deep fly ball to right field, having advanced to third on Ryan Zimmerman’s double to the wall in left. That was all the Nationals could do off Fernandez, who was working the edges like a professional.

The Marlins answered in the fifth with a pair of singles from J.T. Realmuto and Ichiro Suzuki with one out. Adeiny Hechavarria popped the ball out to Bryce Harper, and that looked like all they would get on the night. The sixth inning told a very different story, unfortunately for the Nationals.

Dee Gordon (2-for-3 on the night) started things off with a long fly ball to the wall, a stand-up triple. On the next pitch, Martin Prado singled to left to score Gordon, making it 2-1. Christian Yelich singled to right, letting Prado advance to third without issue. With no one out, the Nationals opted to walk Derek Dietrich to set up the force at home. J.T. Realmuto would drive in Prado on a ground ball to Escobar that was just far enough in and slow enough to put Escobar’s only play at first, making it 3-1. Zimmermann would issue another intentional pass, this time to Ichiro Suzuki to load the bases with two out. Thankfully for the Nationals, Hechavarria would ground out to Ryan Zimmerman to end the inning with limited damages.

Sammy Solis was called on to pitch the seventh inning, and it did not go well for the young left hander. Cole Gillespie, entering the game as part of a double switch, immediately pounced on the rookie, raking it up the middle. Dee Gordon laid down a beautiful bunt to move him up, just barely out on a quick relay from Solis. The Nats would issue their third intentional walk of the night to noted Nat-killer Martin Prado,

Against Miami closer A.J. Ramos, the Nationals would put up some fight. Michael A. Taylor drew a one-out walk, followed by a pinch-hit double for Clint Robinson off the bench. A borderline walk to Anthony Rendon gave them the go-ahead run at the plate, but an unfortunate grounder from Yunel Escobar ended the game on a 6-4-3 double play without a run scoring.

HERO: Ryan Zimmerman got aboard three times in his return from the DL, going 2-for-3 with a walk.

GOAT: Sammy Solis for his lamentable 7th inning performance.


  • Tonight marks the first game since May 15th that seven of the Nationals “expected” starters appeared in the starting lineup. They have yet to have all eight expected position starters this season.
  • Jayson Werth was 1-for-4 with a single in his return from a broken wrist.

NEXT UP: Doug Fister vs. Tom Kohler at 7:10pm tomorrow night.

MLB Trade Deadline: Where do Nats fit in?

The MLB non-waiver trade deadline is this Friday. It’s a frenzied time of year, with baseball fans glued to social media to see who their favorite team has picked up — or traded away.

Fans of the Washington Nationals are no different, with rumors the team has been attached to acquiring big-name relievers such as Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel, Jonathan Papelbon and former Nats-Tyler Clippard, who was traded to the division-rival New York Mets on Monday.

It’s easy to assume, then, that the Nats are looking for bullpen help. The anchor of the bullpen, Drew Storen, has All-Star qualifications this season, but the rest of the equation is still a work in progress. Matt Thornton, quietly, has been excellent, but Tanner Roark has been wildly inconsistent, Blake Treinen was demoted and David Carpenter, a basement-bargain pick-up, was disabled.

So it only seems that a deal for consistent reliever would be in the offing.

But looking at the roster, it’s hard to determine, other than that, what the Nats really need.

We still haven’t seen the real Nats on the field this season with all the injuries. It’s easy to see Anthony Rendon back in uniform, and imagine Denard Span, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman joining the team as well to finally field the team Mike Rizzo thought he put together at the start of the season.

Many have been trying to make the point that the Nats are in first place without all these starters on offense, so their re-joining the team will be better than any trade deadline acquisition — without giving up any prospects to do so.

But what are the Nats getting with these guys coming back to the lineup? Rendon is still young and should reasonably perform up to standards once he gets him MLB timing back. Span was performing admirably before his balky back required a now-lengthy stay on the DL. But Werth and Zimmerman have been accumulating injuries the past several seasons and there’s really no way to tell what they are going to provide to the offense until they are back in the lineup.

We can’t just assume they will both return to their pre-injury performance level. Werth’s age, and the nature of Zimmerman’s injury, really leave the door open to what level of play they’ll bring once they return to the field.

It’s one thing for a fan to look at the sheer number of players returning from the DL and assume things will be better once all these players are back in the lineup. And there’s no doubt Rendon and Span should provide a boost to the top of the order.

But counting on Werth and Zimmerman to provide pre-DL production is a risky move for anyone looking at the roster with an analytic approach.


Washington Nationals Game 96 Review: Nats Bats Crack in Pittsburgh


The Washington Nationals broke a short skid against the Pirates on Saturday night, picking up a 9-3 victory against the Wild Card leaders. Gio Gonzalez cruised through 5 innings, scattering 5 hits and not issuing a single walk. A.J. Burnett proved too wild for the Pirates’ own good, hitting two in a crucial fourth inning failure, and throwing a wild pitch in the second that would score Ian Desmond.

The Nationals were due a night where things went their way, after a pair of hard luck losses in the Pittsburgh series. They got it Saturday night, as bounces went their way, and as the defense behind Gio Gonzalez was solid enough to keep the crafty lefty in business. Gio would go 5+ innings before departing after a wild bottom of the sixth.

Working with a 5-0 lead, the particulars of which we will get to in a moment, Gio’s day ended poorly. A single by Pedro Alvarez, followed up by a fielding error by Clint Robinson on a ball put in play by Gregory Polanco put Gio at a disadvantage. The Pirates would capitalize on singles from Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen, driving Gio from the game.

With no out, and two men on, Aaron Barrett was summoned from the pen to douse the nascent fire. Barrett got an easy double play off Aramis Ramirez, before walking Jung Ho Kang and giving up a single – and Gio’s third charged run – off the bat of Paul Cervelli. Manager Matt Williams saw enough, and got Barrett before things got worse. Felipe Rivero finished the job Barrett could not, and with four pitches got Neil Walker to pop up to right.

The Nationals would strike back in the top of the seventh, putting two back up on the board. A double from Yunel Escobar off the left field wall, followed by an Ian Desmond homer off a Deolis Guerra changeup clocked at 81mph.

The Nationals’ offense quieted the Pittsburgh crowd early, with a run on a Burnett wild pitch in the second for a 1-0 lead. In the fourth, Burnett would give up a double to Escobar, then hit Clint Robinson and Jose Lobaton with curve balls at their feet to load the bases. Burnett would get a key strikeout of Matt den Dekker to bring up pitcher Gio Gonzalez to the dish.

This is where things started to really go the Nationals’ way. Gio hit a comebacker to Burnett, who couldn’t react fast enough, and the ball rolled away into no-man’s-land, scoring Escobar. Michael A. Taylor drove the ball through the left side of the email, and Bob Henley sent both Clint Robinson (who scored), and Jose Lobaton (who didn’t), but the damage was done.

Matt den Dekker would add one more to the tally in the fifth on a pair of singles, and a pair of sacrifices, with Anthony Rendon – in his first game off the disabled list – getting the RBI for den Dekker’s run. That would end Burnett’s night at 5.2 IP, 11H, 5ER and 8K.

After the Pirates’ rally in the sixth, the Nationals would add four more runs on monster home runs from Ian Desmond and Michael A. Taylor, both with no-doubter shots into left field at PNC Park. Desmond’s hot streak is music to Nats’ fans ears, who had started to wonder if it would ever come. With the Nationals’ roster decimated by injuries to other starters, the Half Street Regulars might not be the team you were dreaming of in February, but they are the team with three games up on the Mets and now 8 games over .500.

It’s hard to think that this season has been a disappointment, but when the expectations were so high coming into Spring Training, this season has been a challenge for the Nationals. While Jayson Werth, Stephen Strasburg, and Ryan Zimmerman are all returning in the near term, there’s still a lot of baseball to play this season. Getting Desmond back from a season-long slump around the same time might be the catalyst this team has needed to get back on 90-win pace.

HERO: Let’s give this one to Ian Desmond, who is just having a stellar week. He’s 10-for-19 this week, with 4 HR, 7 RBI, and 4 BB. His night was pretty stellar. Good to see Desmond finally getting hit.

GOAT: No goats tonight. Well, except these adorable fainting goats.


  • Ian Desmond is a pretty strong player of the week candidate for the NL right now.
  • Anthony Rendon returned to the lineup tonight, with Abel de los Santos optioned back to AA. His 0-4 was, at least productive, with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
  • Michael A. Taylor had his first four-hit game of the season tonight.

NEXT UP: The series finale is tomorrow at 1:35pm, Joe Ross (2-2, 2.70) vs Gerrit Cole (13-4, 2.31).

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