Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals offseason moves thus far, including the Steven Souza and Ross Detwiler trades and the Bryce Harper grievance non-hearing.
OUTFIELDER SIGNS TWO-YEAR, $7.5 MILLION CONTRACT
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract Sunday evening according to reports, which will allow the sides to avoid a messy, potentially ugly grievance hearing which was scheduled for Tuesday.
The grievance stemmed from a complication in the original rookie contract Harper signed after his draft. The player’s agent, Scott Boras, believed Harper had the right to opt out of that original contract and be eligible for salary arbitration this season, as Harper qualifies for “super two” status.
The “opt-out” clause is common in the industry but not standard, and was not included in Harper’s original contract. There has been speculation why the language was not included, but the team reported said it was an oversight due to the speed of last-minute negotiations as the sides approached the deadline for a deal.
Harper will make $2.5 million in 2015 and $5 million in 2016, comparable to what he might have made in arbitration. He will then have two arbitration years before becoming a free agent after the 2018 season.
The San Francisco Giants scored three runs — without the benefit of a base hit — and beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 to eliminate the Nats 3-1 in the five game National League Divisional Series.
The game was filled with poor umpiring, bad defense by the Nats, and questionable managerial decisions. [Read more…]
Doug Fister pitched seven shutout innings, an uncharacteristic error led to a 3-run inning, and the Washington Nationals beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 to cut their deficit in the best of five series to two games to one on Monday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The win snapped the Giants N.L. record 10-game postseason winning streak.
The pitching matchup came off as advertised. Fister took on 18-game winner Madison Bumgarner and both pitchers were sublime for most of the game.
In the top of the seventh, though, Ian Desmond reached Bumgarner for a single to lead off the frame. Bryce Harper then got himself into a 3-1 count, then spit on an 88-MPH slider for ball four.
Wilson Ramos was asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but couldn’t get it done on the first two attempts. Usually, Ramos wouldn’t be asked to sacrifice, and he hadn’t successfully sacrificed since 2011, but with runs at a premium in this series, the Nats didn’t take the play off with two strikes.
Ramos was able to get a bunt down in fair territory with two strikes, and Bumgarner made the play. But instead of taking the easy out at first, he tried to cut down the lead runner, Desmond, at third. His throw was late — and wide of the bag.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval tried to reach for it and stay on the bag, but it sailed down the line, through the Giants bullpen, and into the right field corner. Desmond scored easily, and Harper followed him without a play, with Ramos ending up at second.
Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a clean single through the hole, and Ramos came chugging home with the Nats’ third run.
Bumgarner gave up three runs — two earned — on six hits and a walk, striking out six.
Fister gave up a single to Brandon Belt to lead off the home half of the seventh, but then retired three straight to get out of the inning and turned things over to the bullpen.
Fister gave up four hits and three walks in seven innings, striking out three.
Tyler Clippard tossed a perfect 12-pitch eighth inning.
Harper added an insurance run in the top of the ninth, homering off reliever Jean Machi.
Manager Matt Williams called upon Drew Storen in the ninth with a 4-0 lead. Storen, once again, had some trouble, as a single, double and sacrifice brought home a run. But he was able to get Travis Ishikawa to ground out to close the game and deliver a victory in Game 3.
The Nationals face the Giants again Tuesday at 9:05 pm Eastern, with Gio Gonzalez facing Ryan Vogelsong.
Washington Nationals Game 161 Review: Strasburg runs scoreless innings streak to 20 in win over Marlins
Stephen Strasburg threw six scoreless innings and the Washington Nationals topped the Miami Marlins 5-1 in the next-to-last game of the 22014 regular season.
The Nats jumped on Marlins starter Nate Eovaldi for multiple base runners in the early innings and pushed a run across in the second. Bryce Harper led off with a single just past lumbering first baseman Justin Bour. He went to second on Wilson Ramos’ infield single. Asdrubal Cabrara forced Ramos as second, but beat the relay to set up first and third with one out.
Strasburg sacrificed to move Cabrera up, and Harper waited until Eovaldi made the throw to first to break for home. He beat the relay and tag by catcher Jeff Mathis, sneaking his mitt-covered left hand just ahead of the tag to put the Nats up 1-0.
It stayed that way until the fifth. With one out, Denard Span singled up the middle and went to second as Anthony Rendon drew a base on balls. Jayson Werth’s line drive single to center brought home Span.
Span set the Nationals’ record for most multi-hit games in a season with 58 and tied Christian Guzman’s team record for hits in a season with 183. Obviously, Span has one more game to stand alone.
But the rally ended there. Adam LaRoche grounded out to short, and after an Ian Desmond walk, Bryce Harper struck out swinging to end the frame.
Strasburg was done after six terrific innings on just 83 pitches, 55 for strikes. He gave up a nere two base hits and walked one with seven strikeouts. He generated eight ground ball outs opposed to two fly outs. With six scoreless innings Saturday, Strasburg finished the regular season with 20 consecutive scoreless innings pitched.
After Jerry Blevins pitched a perfect seventh inning and Tyler Clippard a 20-pitch scoreless eighth, the Nationals blew the game open in bottom of the eighth.
Ryan Zimmerman — who entered in the sixth at first base — and Ian Desmond singled, then Bryce Harper drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Wilson Ramos forced Zimmerman at home with a grounder to short, but Asdrubal Cabrera drilled a double to right center that cleared the bases to put the Nats up 5-0.
In the ninth, Drew Storen loaded the bases with a pair of one-out singles and an error by Zimmerman, and another error by Rendon allowed a run to come home. But Ian Desmond snared Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s line drive up the middle to end it without further angst.
HARPER HOMERS AS NATS BLOWOUT METS
As a steady rain fell over Citi Field on Saturday night, the Washington Nationals poured runs on the New York Mets the whole night through, winning the third of a four-game series, 10-3.
The Nats reduced their “magic number” to clinch the division to six games over the Braves, and can eliminate them as early as Tuesday.
In the top of the second inning, Bryce Harper (3-for-4, 2 RBI) put the Nationals on the board with a towering home run that came back to earth half way up the upper deck in right field. Ian Desmond (3-for-4, 3 RBI) who walked to reach base, scored on the play as well to give the Nationals an early 2-0 lead. [Read more…]
It’s another table-filled post this week at Statistically Speaking, but in a welcome twist, this week’s data dump and analysis will be looking at hitting, and in particular, the resurgent swinging of Bryce Harper. It’s been a lost season of sorts for Harper, with the lion’s share of the year spent recovering (disabled list and otherwise) from a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Not only has it been a long row to hoe from the anatomical aspects of the injury and surgical procedure involved, but also one from a mechanical and timing perspective of his prodigious but oftentimes complicated swing. Even with a clean bill of health, missing significant time and having an injury to the hand have briefly made Harper’s swing a bit of a reclamation project, with stretches seen where his mechanics were inconsistent, erratic, and ever-changing in an effort to once again find comfort and confidence in his hitting abilities.
Sometimes you just have to tip your cap.
Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher on the planet right now, dominated the Washington Nationals for eight innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-1 win Tuesday night.
The Atlanta Braves were shut out by the Phillies again, so the Nats lead in the N.L. East remains at seven games. [Read more…]
After taking 2-of-3 from the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, the Washington Nationals now head south for a three-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers. [Read more…]
HARPER GOES YARD TWICE, NATS STILL FALL TO MARINERS
On Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field, the Washington Nationals’ attempt to sweep the Seattle Mariners fell just short, as the Nats fell 5-3 despite a big day from young outfielder Bryce Harper.
Washington put the game’s first points on the board, scoring in three consecutive innings. [Read more…]