October 6, 2015

Washington Nationals Game 159 Review: Strasburg finishes strong in win over Braves


It’s little solace after what was supposed to be a championship-caliber season, but the Washington Nationals guaranteed a non-losing  record, knocking off the Atlanta Braves 3-0 at Turner Field on Thursday.

Stephen Strasburg — completing his very strong second half — went six solid innings, Clint Robinson homered, and Felipe Rivero threw two perfect innings to record his first MLB save. [Read more…]

A season ends: Nationals eliminated, Williams ridiculed in media

The New York Mets made official what we’ve known around here for the better part of two months: the Washington Nationals aren’t going to the playoffs.

The Nats were doomed by starting the month of August in a 4-13 slump — a period where they went from three games up in the division to 4 1/2 games back. They’ve never recovered, as a five-game losing streak — three to these very Mets — early in September further reinforced the idea that the Nats just didn’t have “it” this year. [Read more…]

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 144 Review: Harper and Strasburg lead Nationals past Philadelphia

Bryce Harper went 3 for 3 with two home runs and Stephen Strasburg allowed one hit while striking out 14 batters over eight innings as Washington beat the Phillies 4-0 Tuesday night in Philadelphia.

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 139 Review: Another night, another late inning collapse


Since the New York Mets overtook the Washington Nationals  more than a month ago, everyone — media, fans, the front office, Matt Williams, the players — have pointed to the six games the Nats had left with the Mets head-to-head.

They’ve squandered the first three. Despite holding a lead going into the seventh inning for the third night in a row, the result remained the same. The Mets rallied, no one on the Nats could shut the door, and the prohibitive favorite to win not just the N.L. East — but represent the senior circuit in the World Series — lost again.

This time, the Nats fell 5-3 to the Mets, falling seven games behind — and 9 1/2 out of the wild card — with 23 to go. [Read more…]

For the Nats and Strasburg, at what point is enough, enough?


I was going to start this column by listing all the members of the Washington Nationals 40-man roster who spent time on the disabled list this season. But I stopped for fear I wouldn’t have room to actually make my point after that.

We’ve already seen plenty of “What wrong with the Nationals” or “Most disappointing team in the majors” pieces being written about the club, but the simple fact remains: The organization was able to field its projected starting lineup twice this season — all season — and not until late August when they were already 5 1/2 game out in the division. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 129 Review: Strasburg Pulled Early, Nats Beat Marlins

The Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 7-4 on Sunday afternoon despite starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg being pulled after four innings pitched.

Strasburg threw 60 pitches and 43 strikes in four innings while giving up four runs and two home runs on seven hits while striking out three batters. According to the team after the game, Strasburg left with an upper back injury not considered to be serious. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 124 Review: Opening Day Lineup At Long Last


The Washington Nationals were so befouled by the injury bug this season it took four months and 123 games for them to field their ideal “opening day” lineup. When their starting nine took the field Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres, the Nationals put everything together for a 8-3 win.

Stephen Strasburg started Tuesday night, and from the end of the second through to the end of the sixth, retired 15 straight batters. He did surrender a two-run bomb to Jedd Gyorko, a no-doubt homer into the visiting bullpen in the second inning, but other than that, Strasburg was on his game against the Padres. Aside from the mistake to Gyorko, Strasburg struck out 7, and walked one in six full, giving up two earned runs on two hits.

The Nationals tied it up almost immediately, as Wilson Ramos hit his 11th homer of the year off James Shields in the bottom of the second with Yunel Escobar aboard. In the third, the Nationals would go ahead for the night on an Escobar double down the line, scoring Anthony Rendon, and add to the damage in the fifth with a Desmond double scoring Bryce Harper.

The Nationals caught a lucky break in the sixth to break the game wide open. With two outs, Anthony Rendon started the rally with an infield single that deflected off James Shields. Marc Rzepczynski took over for Shields at this point, as the deflection and 121 pitches on the day were too much to risk leaving Shields in to face the heart of the order.

This is where it all went to hell for San Diego. With the count at 2-1, Bryce Harper hit a 92mph sinker down the first base line, right to Padres’ first baseman Yonder Alonso, who stepped on the bag, and it should have ended the inning.

But it didn’t.

Harper tripped out of the swing, and home plate umpire David Rackley read it as a foul ball off Harper’s foot. He called it a foul ball, and Harper stepped back in. Padres skipper Pat Murphy took some umbrage at the situation, but due to the way that the replay rules are written, had no play he could challenge. Play continued. Harper drew a walk.

Escobar would walk right after Harper, and the bases were now loaded for Ryan Zimmerman. With a 2-0 count, Rzepczynski leaned on a 96mph fastball down the groove, which Zimmerman deposited in the right field bleachers, giving the Nationals an 8-2 lead on the umpires’ mistake.

Jedd Gyorko added a second home run off Casey Janssen in the seventh, which triggered a bit of a meltdown from Padres’ skipper Pat Murphy. Former Nationals’ prospect Derek Norris singled his way aboard, and that was all Murphy could take. He should have the winning run at the plate in Melvin Upton, but instead he’s down five. He expressed his deep and abiding frustration and his contention that Harper should have been out.

But he expressed that in a way that managers are not suffered to do so for long. Rackley ejected Murphy for his commentary before Murphy had even come to the top step of the dugout. Of course, Murphy ran out to vehemently express his disapproval of Rackley, Rackley’s mother, Rackley’s mother’s dog, and the neighbor’s goat, though it’s not immediately clear what the goat had to do with it, before being talked back into the visiting clubhouse.

Janssen would complete the seventh without further damage.

The bullpen had a bit of a scare in the eighth, sending Matt Thornton to the hill. The Padres (save for Jedd Gyorko) had more success against Thornton in a third of an inning than they had against anyone else all night. Singles from Yangervis Solarte and pinch hitter Clint Barmes chased Thornton from the game with one out in the seventh.

Blake Treinen mopped things up with a quick round-the-horn double play to end the threat in the eighth, and would retire the side in order in the ninth to end the Padres’ day.

For a moment, Nats fans across the country could take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy a fun night at the ballpark. This was the team that they had waited to see, one that could hit you just as hard in the eight slot (Ramos, 1-for-3, HR, BB) as it could in the six slot (Zimmerman, 1-for-5, HR, 4 RBI), or the three slot (Rendon, 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 H).

For one night this season, the Nationals looked as-advertised. With only 38 games to go, they’ll need to look it every one of those nights.

HERO: Ryan Zimmerman, for his grand slam in the sixth, and Stephen Strasburg for a shutdown performance.

GOAT: No official goat tonight, just old man fate for keeping this team starcrossed for four months.


  • Zimmerman’s Grand Slam in the sixth was the Nationals’ second all year. It was Zimmerman’s first since 2013, and fifth in his career.
  • Per Nationals PR, the Nats are hitting .487 (19-for-39) with 20 RBI when batting with two outs since Saturday night.

NEXT UP: Nationals vs. Padres, 7:05pm Wednesday, Tyson Ross (8-9, 3.32) vs Gio Gonzalez (9-6, 3.98).

Washington Nationals Game 119 Review: Strasburg’s Solid in Colorado, Nats Squeak by Rockies

The Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 4-1 on Wednesday night thanks to a tie-breaking two-run triple hit by Jayson Werth in the eighth inning.

Colorado took an early 1-0 lead over the Nats in the second inning when first baseman Ben Paulsen scored on a wild pitch thrown by Washington starter Stephen Strasburg.

Strasburg ended up with the win on Wednesday, tallying his seventh of the season. He threw 93 pitches and 68 strikes in seven innings while giving up two hits, one run, and striking out five batters. [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
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