November 20, 2018

NATS: Happy Birthday, Zach Walters

HAPPY 24th BIRTHDAY ZACH WALTERS! Hopefully, Walters can make his MLB debut on his birthday!

Washington Nationals infielder Zach Walters was born on 09/05/1989 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Walters was called up to the Nationals on Tuesday and he announced it on Twitter (after teasing with his followers that he was headed home after ending season with Syracuse).

 

He then posted after the game.


Follow Zach on Twitter (@Zwalters02) and be sure to wish #4 a Happy 24th Birthday.

Washington Nationals Game 59 Review: Oh, mediocrity! Nats fall into third place with loss to Mets

All the good feelings from the Washington Nationals’ first walk-off win of the season didn’t even last 24 hours.

Nats starter Dan Haren was hit early and often, and lasted just four innings, as the New York Mets — ten games under .500 themselves — scored five runs in the first three innings and cruised to a 10-1 win as Washington’s moribund offense never mustered any type of attack whatsoever.

With the loss, the Nats drop below .500 again (29-30) and to add insult to injury, slid into third place in the N.L. East behind their arch-rival Philadelphia Phillies.

Haren actually got through the first inning unscathed, and the Nats gave him an early lead when Ian Desmond’s two-out single in the bottom of the first brought home Denard Span from third base.

That would be the end of the highlights for Nats fans.

Lucas Duda led off the second with a double to right, then Marlon Byrd clobbered an 84-MPH splitter from Haren that just hung in the middle of the plate.

The Mets went right back after Haren in the third. Daniel Murphy’s one-out single preceded David Wright’s eighth homer of the season. After Duda flew out to center, Byrd punished a cutter that didn’t cut, driving his eighth home run to left to make it 5-1.

The competitive portion of the contest was over.

The Nats had runners on base in every inning but one, but managed just the lone run in the first inning. Their best chance to score came in the fourth, down 5-1. With runners at second and third and one out, though, Span struck out swinging on three pitches, then Jayson Werth struck out looking on three pitches.

The Mets picked up two runs in the fifth off Craig Stammen and three off Erik Davis in the seventh inning adding to the embarrassing total.

It was that kind of night, in that kind of a season.

THE GOOD: The lone bright spot for the Nats was the Major League debut of reliever Ian Krol, who gave up a double to his first batter, but then struck out three straight to leave the runner stranded.

THE BAD: Steve Lombardozzi, Tuesday night’s “hero” for his walk-off sac fly, went 0-for-4 to drop his slash line for the season to .228/.241/.290.

THE UGLY: Dan Haren. I’ve been patient with the veteran starter, hoping that the glimpses we’ve seen here and there would become the norm and not the anomaly. But that’s just not the case. Five earned on seven hits, including three home runs. He’s tied for most home runs allowed now and he’s just not getting it done. Unfortunately, with Detwiler still on the D.L. and Strasburg joining him there, there really aren’t any other options unless Haren comes up lame again too.

THE STATS: 8 hits, 1 BB, 6 Ks. 2-for-9 with RISP, 8 LOB. No errors, no DPs.

NEXT GAME: Thursday at 7:05 pm against the Mets. Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.64) hosts Shaun Marcum (0-6, 5.71)

Washington Nationals Game 57 Review: Middle relief culprit again in 6-3 loss to Braves

If the Washington Nationals want to consider their deficit in the N.L. East, they need to look no further than the team across the diamond from them Sunday. The Atlanta Braves took advantage of the Nats bullpen yet again, while Washington could muster nothing against the Braves’, falling in the series finale 6-3. With the loss, the Nats drop below .500 (28-29).

The Braves lead in the East stretched to a whopping 6 1/2 games — the largest in baseball currently. The Nats have a season series record against the Braves of 3-7, accounting for a large portion of that deficit.

As was the case Saturday night, the Nats bullpen could not handle their responsibility, as Zach Duke walked four and gave up two hits in his two-thirds of an inning, effectively digging the Nats hitters a hole they are incapable of rallying from these days.

Duke’s incapacity to throw strikes Sunday made a loser out of Nathan Karns (0-1, 6.00). Karns was not as strong as in his debut, but left two runners on base when he left the game, and Duke allowed both to score. The rookie, who made his second MLB start, gave up four runs — three earned — on seven hits and a walk, striking out six in 4 2/3 innings.

After the Nats went in order in the top of the first against Braves starter Paul Maholm (W, 7-4, 3.68), the Braves jumped right on Karns. Leadoff hitter Andrelton Simmons reached on a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman, his tenth of the season. The next hitter, Ramiro Pena, clobbered a fastball into the stands in right for an early 2-0 lead for Atlanta.

The Nats got both runs back in the second. Adam LaRoche doubled to lead off and went to third on Ian Desmond’s bunt single. Tyler Moore followed with a run-scoring single to left to get the Nats on the board. Later in the inning, Maholm butchered Karns’ popped up bunt. All hands were safe, and Desmond scooted home with the then-tying run.

The tie didn’t last long, as B.J. Upton homered off Karns in the bottom half of the inning to re-take the lead.

Things stayed that way until the fateful fifth inning. Justin Upton started the Braves rally with a one-out single off Karns. After the Nats righty got Freddie Freeman to fly out, he lost Evan Gattis on a 3-2 fastball after having the slugger down 0-2. Manager Davey Johnson called on Duke at that point, and Duke did nothing but pour gasoline on the fire. On Duke’s ninth pitch to Brian McCann, the Braves catcher finally got one he could handle, slapping a single to left field to plate Upton. Duke got out of the inning without more damage, but he wasn’t done yet.

Desmond homered in the top of the sixth to cut the Braves lead to 4-3. In the bottom of the frame, Duke walked the first two batters he faced. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, Duke intentionally walked Justin Upton to face Freeman. The decision backfired, as Freeman doubled off the top of the wall in left field, plating two more runs. The play was reviewed as the Braves thought the hit was a home run, but the call on the field stood.

Not that it mattered.

The Nats went hitless in the last three innings, failing to muster any sort of comeback. Washington has yet to score on the Braves bullpen in their ten games this season. For the entire year, the Nats are hitting .194/.252/.286 in innings seven though nine.

THE GOOD: Right-hander Erik Davis, called up Saturday from Triple-A Syracuse, made a successful Major League debut, throwing 1 2/3 perfect innings of relief, recording two strikeouts.

THE BAD: The bottom third of the Nats order went 1-for-9 with five runners left stranded.

THE UGLY: Zach Duke. Whatever magic the lefty used last season to get his name back in good graces, he must have used all up. His ERA sits at 8.71 now and just continues to have poor performance after another, giving up multiple runs in four of his last five appearances.

THE STATS: 5 hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. 2-for-6 with RISP, 3 LOB. E: Zimmerman (10, throw). No DPs.

NEXT GAME: Tuesday at 7:05 against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Jordan Zimmermann (8-3, 2.37) hosts Jeremy Hefner (1-5, 4.74).

Washington Nationals Game 52 Review: Long ball powers Nats past O’s

Washington Nationals Nathan Karns MLB debut, May 28, 2013 (Photo Courtesy of Jenn Jenson)

Washington Nationals Nathan Karns MLB debut, May 28, 2013 (Photo Courtesy of Jenn Jenson)

At long last, the Washington Nationals (27-25) offense came alive Tuesday night as the team out-hit their Beltway rival Baltimore Orioles (28-24) 9-3 at Nationals Park.

After an 81-minute rain delay, right-hander Nathan Karns (ND, 0-0) took the mound for Washington, called up directly from Double-A Harrisburg as a result of Ross Detwiler’s placement on the 15-day disabled list. Karns tossed a less-than-stellar 4.1 innings, but there were clear indications that the potential is there.

For starters, the 25-year-old pitched a 1-2-3 first inning, forcing Nate McLouth, Manny Machado and Nick Markakis out on infield grounders. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Update for the Week of 4/21/13

Welcome back to District Sports Page’s weekly Minor League Update. Throughout the regular season we will continue to post up-to-date stats and brief scouting reports on the hottest and coldest prospects in the Nationals’ minor league system. We also will track the progress of top-rated players, and give injury and suspension updates.

So far this season, the Nationals’ minor league system has continued to be one of the most productive and exciting in pro baseball. Flashy young stars like Brian Goodwin and Anthony Rendon are off to loud starts, while an arms race of young pitchers has torn-through opposing lineups, resulting in heaps of strikeouts.

Things got even more interesting on Saturday though. The Nationals announced that they had promoted Rendon, who is widely considered one of the premier prospects in minors, to Washington to make his highly anticipated MLB debut. While the former  Dick Howser Award winner was originally slated to spend at least the first few months of the regular season in the minors at double-A Harrisburg, Ryan Zimmerman’s recent injury and Rendon’s hot-hitting apparently forced the front office’s hand. Regardless, this is yet another exciting development in a system full of exciting developments. Rendon follows a long line of homegrown stars on the Nats big-league roster, graduating after the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen, Bryce Harper and others.

Though Rendon’s promotion has grabbed the attention of the Nats faithful, the club has plenty of other thrilling minor-league storylines. Here are a few of them–hot off the presses:

[Read more…]

OPINION: Nats make surprising call to Rendon while Zimmerman heals

Anthony Rendon heads to dugout before game during spring training (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Anthony Rendon heads to dugout before game during spring training (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

In a surprising move in late April, the Washington Nationals asked for the services of their top prospect while the Face of the Franchise recovers from his annual trip to the disabled list. If this sounds familiar, well, it is. Last April the Nats called up Bryce Harper when Ryan Zimmerman originally hurt his throwing shoulder. This year, it’s Anthony Rendon getting the call to directly replace Zimmerman, both on the roster and in the field.

From a talent standpoint, this isn’t that surprising. Rendon had an awesome spring training, looking every bit a big leaguer. In his first 14 games with AA-Harrisburg, the 22-year-old was off to a great start as well, hitting .292/.462/.500 in 65 plate appearances with four doubles, two homers and seven RBIs. He’s walked 14 times opposed to nine strikeouts and his defensive skills have been lauded since he was a collegiate.

What is somewhat surprising is that the Nats have decided to eschew preseason contingency plans and that it’s better to get Rendon’s feet wet in the big leagues for two weeks while Zim’s left hammy heals instead of going with a player that has MLB experience (Will Rhymes), a deeper minor league pedigree (Carlos Rivero) or staying in-house, allowing Chad Tracy or Steve Lombardozzi to take the reps until Zim is back on the field.

Nats GM Mike Rizzo has long-held the philosophy that he doesn’t want to promote a player to the bigs until he’s mastered the previous level, there’s a place for him on the Major League roster and that player will play everyday. He’s not a big fan of bringing a prospect up and sending him back down.

Now, maybe in this instance he’s comfortable with the pre-described limited window of opportunity to bring up Rendon solely until Zimmerman can be reactivated in 12 days, assuming Zim’s D.L. stint was retroactive to the last time he played. After the win over the Mets Saturday, Davey Johnson said specifically Rendon would go back to the minors when Zim is healthy.

Rizzo corroborated. “I would think that when Zim comes back, we’ll probably send him down for more seasoning,” Rizzo told the beat reporters. “But we’ll take that as it comes. We see him as a long-term component of the team.”

No kidding.

When Zimmerman gets healthy, unfortunately there’s no place on this team for Rendon, with Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond all fixtures at their positions. Despite anxious fans calling for Rendon to start in place of any of the Nats stalwarts when they slump, the team is committed to each of their infield players at this point. It would take a trade — or another injury — for Rendon to stay on the roster once Zimmerman returns.

And the team won’t let Rendon stay in the bigs as a bench player, getting just a handful of at bats a week. They’d rather he play everyday in the minors.

It’s interesting that the Nats feel the need to go to Rendon at this point. A safer play would have been to go with Rivero or Rhymes, especially considering the team has two open spots on the 40-man roster right now. But it’ll be exciting to watch Rendon’s MLB debut and first stint with the big league team, regardless how long it lasts. It might just be two weeks, but the next time it might be for good.

Washington Nationals put Ryan Zimmerman on D.L., recall top prospect Anthony Rendon

After the Washington Nationals defeated the New York Mets 7-6 earlier Saturday, the team placed 3B Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day D.L. with a left hamstring strain and will call up top prospect Anthony Rendon from AA Harrisburg.

Nats manager Davey Johnson announced the move in his postgame press conference from Citifield.

Zimmerman’s leg has been bothering him for several days, and is affecting his swing more than his defensive play, as he’s experiencing discomfort rotating on his front leg as he follows through with his swing.

Rendon will make his Major League debut Sunday. The 22-year old third baseman was a late scratch from the Senators’ game against Altoona Saturday and will instead travel to New York to join his Nats teammates. In 14 games, Rendon is hitting .292/.462/.500 in 65 plate appearances with four doubles, two homers and seven RBIs. He’s walked 14 times opposed to nine strikeouts.

Washington Nationals Game 35 Review: Burnett – not Hot Rod – saves Nats win in 9th

Nats catcher Sandy Leon, making MLB debut, injured on play at the plate. May 14, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Henry Rodriguez has had a tough couple of days.

Despite his manager vowing before — and after — the game that Rodriguez and his 100-MPH fastball was still his closer, that he had the utmost of confidence in the erratic, but dynamic, right-hander, it was left-hander Sean Burnett that sealed the Washington Nationals 8-5 win over the San Diego Padres Monday night, before a soggy and nervous crowd of 19,434 — at least, officially anyway.

Burnett was called upon in a one-out, bases loaded situation set up by three consecutive walks by Rodriguez, who could not command any of his three pitches. Rodriguez threw 21 of them, just nine for strikes. But Burnett got Padres No. 3 hitter Jesus Guzman to tap back to the mound, and the emergency closer threw calmly to home to start a 1-2-3 rally — and game — killing double play. [Read more…]

NATS: Bryce Harper Topps Rookie Card, Locker and Marucci Bat

Topps Card Company tweeted a photo of their Bryce Harper rookie card during his MLB debut on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers and announced it would be in Topps Series 2 due out June 6, 2012.

This photo must have been taken at spring training. For Harper’s debut, the Washington Nationals wore their red curly W jerseys with grey road pants. Harper also wore fantastic red stirrups. No signature eye black.

MLB tweeted a photo of Bryce Harper’s locker.

Bryce Harper's locker before MLB debut by @MLB

Bryce Harper uses the Marucci Wood Bat Pro CU26 in the color “smoke” according to Marucci Sports tweets. Marucci also tweeted the photo below of Harper’s black matte bats featuring Bible verse Luke 1:37 – “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

Saturday is a Busy Day for DC Sports

It is a very exciting time for Washington DC sports fans.  To help keep your head from spinning, here is a quick list of the events and games scheduled for Saturday, April 28.

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON REDSKINS:
11:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. – FREE Draft Party. FREE Parking. Sign up to get your FREE Draft Party Pass and welcome RGIII to DC.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS:
3:00 p.m.Game 1 vs. New York Rangers in New York City at Madison Square Gardens

POTOMAC NATIONALS:
6:35 p.m.Chien-Ming Wang is scheduled for a rehab start in Woodbridge.

HERSHEY BEARS:
7:05 p.m.Game 5 of round one (Decisive game) for Calder Cup at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (“Baby Pens”)

DC UNITED:
7:30 p.m. – Home game vs. Houston Dynamo; Armed Forces Appreciation Day.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS:
9:00 p.m.MLB Debut of Bryce Harper at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles with Stephen Strasburg on the mound.

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

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