October 16, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 42 Review: Scherzer Dominates The Phillies, Harper Goes Long

The Washington Nationals treated a crowd of 35,893 to nine innings of one-run baseball on Friday night beating the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 after a strong eight-inning performance from right-handed starting pitcher Max Scherzer.

Scherzer gave up four hits, one run, and one walk while striking out six batters. He threw 110 pitches and 79 strikes.  And — thanks to some timely offense — he also helped the Nationals take their 2-1 lead in the sixth inning. [Read more…]

Nats Nightly: Nationals 2-1 over Phillies – Max Scherzer does it all in D.C.

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

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

Washington Nationals Game 38 Review: Scherzer Ks 11 in win over punchless Padres

Max Scherzer struck out 11 in seven innings and the Washington Nationals cruised to a 4-1 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park Saturday night.

Scherzer had everything working while dominating the offensively-challenged Padres. The big righty (4-3, 1.75) allowed just four hits and two walks and threw 104 pitches in his outing. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 33 Review: Offense lights up Arizona

Everything came up Nats in the first game of a seven-game west coast swing as the Washington Nationals plated 10 runs before the end of the second inning and Max Scherzer pitch seven solid innings to register an 11-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks before a paltry crowd at Chase Field.

The Nats (18-15) have won five straight and climb to within 2 1/2 games of the first place New York Mets. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 29 Review: Bryce Harper vs. The World

HARPER HAS THREE HOMERS IN 7-5 VICTORY OVER MIAMI.

The Miami Marlins learned Wednesday afternoon what happens when you pitch to Bryce Harper. The 22-year-old phenom hit over 1,000 feet of home runs, going 3 for 4 with three home runs, five RBIs and three runs scored in a 7-5 victory in front of 31,417. Max Scherzer put together a solid start, going seven-plus innings with 10 strikeouts and no walks.

Scherzer’s strong start and Harper’s offensive explosion were nearly not enough for the victory. Despite going seven strong innings on 100-plus pitches, Scherzer came out to pitch the eighth inning and nearly lost it all. He gave up a pair of hits in front of Giancarlo Stanton, and that should have been the end of his day, but he talked Matt Williams into one more chance. Stanton made them both regret that, with a 3-2 moon shot deep into the left-field stands. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals recall prospect A.J. Cole for spot start

With Max Scherzer still nursing his sore right, injured last week when batting, the Washington Nationals called up their No. 2 pitching prospect, A.J. Cole, to make Scherzer’s regularly scheduled start Tuesday night against the Braves. According to reports, Scherzer threw in Atlanta early on Tuesday before the game and told reporters he was “good to go.” His next turn in the rotation is Sunday, but the Nats make juggle the rotation a bit if they feel he’s ready to get back in there sooner.

As for Cole, here’s a snippet of his prospect profile we published last spring:

Cole has outstanding pure stuff. His fastball velocity is exactly the kind of fire scouts want to see from a young arm, and he’s consistently out-gunned other top pitchers at his age and level. He sits in the 93-95 mph range throughout his starts, working batters in and out with solid command of the strike zone, and he can reach back for 97 mph. He uses his excellent athleticism and body control to generate velocity cleanly, consistently and smoothly. He pitches very well out of the stretch, and he’s very quiet in his release and follow-through, leading evaluators to believe he’ll carry plus command with him to the mound one day. On the downside, his thin, wiry frame isn’t the type that will hold muscle mass well. Like a young Phil Hughes, he’s somewhat slender and could risk tightening up if he focuses on bulk and power. Still, no pitcher needs more than the combination of plus velocity and plus fastball command.

Cole couples his razor-edged four-seamer with a heavy tailing two-seamer that has developed into a killer pitch. He gets huge sink and tail on it in the low to mid 90’s, so much so that it often resembles a splitter. The evolution of the pitch has seemingly helped him to miss more bats and create more soft contact recently, after having so many of his heaters get launched into the stratosphere in 2012.

Cole’s off-speed stuff and movement are both solid. He relies on his fastball as heavily as any 97-mph-hurler should, alternating between tailing two-seamers to his arm-side and cutting four-seamers that he likes to attack lefties with. But he’s definitely not a one-trick pony.

His mid 80’s changeup looks like his most reliable offspeed pitch right now, as he’s able to throw it for strikes consistently and take 7-10 mph off while throwing with his fastball effort. His release tends to over-pronate, possibly tipping the pitch to smarter batters and creating some unpredictable tumbling movement. Overall though, the pitch has a lot of promise, and his ability to throw it in any count is extremely valuable. It’s already fringe-average and should eventually be solid to plus as he builds up feel for it from continued use.

Cole also throws a potentially solid power curve. The pitch flashes late downward movement when he fires it as his chase, swing-over pitch. It has a ways to go though. He softens up on it more than many scouts would like, and his overall feel for it looks iffy. It tends to roll off to his arm-side with big, loose break.

From the team’s press release:

The Washington Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher A.J. Cole from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday and optioned right-handed pitcher Rafael Martin there. Cole will start Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves. President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Cole, 23, entered the 2015 season ranked as the Nationals’ No. 6 prospect, and the No. 91 prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America. The hard-throwing right-hander, who was added to the team’s 40-man roster this past winter, will join the Nationals for the first Major League assignment of his career.

Coming off a tremendous 2014 season, in which he posted a 13-3 record with a 3.16 ERA in 25 starts between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, Cole is 0-0 with a 2.40 ERA in three starts for Triple-A Syracuse this season.

Cole, who owns a career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.28/1, has struck out 9.0 batters per nine innings over the course of his Minor League career.

A fourth-round selection of the Nationals’ in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Cole was traded to the Oakland Athletics in the six-player deal that brought left-hander Gio Gonzalez to Washington in advance of the 2012 season. The right-hander was then re-acquired by Rizzo in January of 2013, along with right-hander Blake Treinen and left-hander Ian Krol, in the three-team transaction that sent Michael Morse to Seattle.

Martin, 30, made his Major League debut for the Nationals on April 15 at Boston in dominant fashion: striking out five consecutive batters in two scoreless innings. The right-hander appeared in four games for the Nationals, working to a 9.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts.

Washington Nationals Game 15 Review: Cardinals capitalize on Nationals mistakes, win 4-1

With the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals tied at a game apiece in the series, Thursday’s getaway day matchup was intense. Michael Wacha and Max Scherzer went toe-to-toe in a pitchers’ duel at Nationals Park. The cool weather didn’t deter the crowds, nor did the 7pm faceoff of the Capitals game. The cool heads, though, weren’t to be found. The Cardinals capitalized on the Nationals’ defensive miscues again, and won 4-1, despite an excellent start from Scherzer.

The Cardinals scored their first run early on a Matt Carpenter double, a Jason Heyward single, and a rare wild pitch from Scherzer, and that was all the offense the Cardinals assembled until the sixth inning. The Nationals responded in the fifth, getting a double off the bat of Danny Espinosa, who moved to third on an error by first baseman Matt Adams on a grounder off the bat of Scherzer. Denard Span drove in Espinosa — and Scherzer went from first to third! — on a single to the right field gap. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 6 Review: Nats salvage Sunday in extras

Thus far into the 2015 campaign for the Washington Nationals, we’ve seen the offense struggle to score runs. Sunday in Philadelphia in the finale of the three-game set was no different. But the Nats scored twice in the top of the tenth, then survived a shaky bottom of the inning from Drew Storen, to salvage the matinee, 4-3, before 30,094 at Citizens Bank Park.

Yunel Escobar led off the decisive inning with a double to right field. After a failed sacrifice attempt, Bryce Harper grounded to first and Escobar moved up to third. The Phillies brought in Justin De Fratus, and the new reliever preceded to throw one away and Escobar came in to score.

Clint Robinson then doubled to center, and he scored on Wilson Ramos’ line drive single to left.

Storen came on in the bottom of the inning, and walked Freddy Galvis and Cody Asche to lead off the frame. Storen got Grady Sizemore swinging and Chase Utley flied out to right, with Galvis tagging and going to third. But rookie Odubel Herrera’s infield single brought in Galvis to cut the lead to one.

But Storen coaxed a grounder to the right of first baseman Ryan Zimmerman by Cesar Hernandez. Zimmerman snagged the grounder and tossed to Storen covering, recording Storen’s second save of the season.

Max Scherzer made his second start of the season, and once again was staller with no decision. He allowed one run on six hits and two walk in six innings, striking out eight. He left with a 2-1 lead, but reliever Xavier Cedeno gave up a solo home run to pinch-hitter Darin Ruf, the first batter he faced in the seventh inning.

The Nats took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, as Bryce Harper drilled his second homer of the year. against Phillies starter Sean O’Sullivan. They picked up another run in the fourth. Ryan Zimmerman singled to left to lead off. Robinson singled to right and Zimmerman went to third. Ramos lofted a sacrifice fly to right, and Zimmerman made it 2-0.

HERO: Wilson Ramos. The catcher was 1 for 4, but drove in two of the Nats’ four runs.

GOAT: Matt Williams. Asking Harper, who homered earlier in the game, to bunt in the 10th was more than just a curious choice. The Nats pushed across the winning runs in the inning despite their manager’s poor strategic choice. Simply, asking your best power hitter and third place hitter to bunt is wrong.

NATS NOTES:

  • Back in the saddle: Jayson Werth, after a short rehab assignment with High-A Potomac, rejoined the team for its road trip to Boston and is expected to be reactivated for the series against the Red Sox on Monday.
  • First win: Aaron Barrett made his first appearance, notching the win. He pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out two.
  • Unforced errors: The Nats made another error on Sunday, with Wilson Ramos charged with a throwing error.
  • Making the most: Clint Robinson was 3 for 5 and he owns a .400 batting average so far this season.
  • Tough day: Michael Taylor went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

NEXT GAME: At Boston at 3:05 pm. Jordan Zimmerman (1-0, 1.50) faces Rick Porcello (0-1, 4.50).

 

Nats Nightly: Nationals drop season opener, 3-1 to Mets

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 3-1 loss to the New York Mets on Opening Day.

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

Washington Nationals Opening Day Review: Scherzer strong, defense does Nats in

Fans lining up at Center Field Gate waiting for the gates to open at Nationals Park for home opener, 4/6/2015 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fans lining up at Center Field Gate waiting for the gates to open at Nationals Park for home opener, 4/6/2015 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Clear, azure blue skies. Temperatures in the low 70s. A full house at Nats Park, home of the 2018 All-Star Game. A 4:05 pm start, free from rush hour traffic both getting to and returning home from the park. One could not have asked for a better day for baseball in April.

Unfortunately, the home team couldn’t comply. Ian Desmond made two errors, which both contributed to unearned runs against starter Max Scherzer, and the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 before 42,295 at Nats Park.

Scherzer came as advertised, not allowing a hit until Lucas Duda’s RBI single in the sixth inning, and he finished with eight strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. [Read more…]

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