Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington of SBNation’s Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, knocking the Nats back to 7 1/2 games out of the wild card.
Washington Nationals Game 17 Review: Twice for Bryce – Harper goes deep to help lift Nats over Mets 7-6
Bryce Harper went 3-for-3 with two home runs and three RBIs as the Washington Nationals (10-7) topped the New York Mets (8-8) 7-6 at Citi Field Saturday afternoon.
The Nats banked on the long ball early on to give Gio Gonzalez (1-1) his first lift of the game on Ian Desmond’s first-pitch homer to left in the second inning. [Read more...]
This week, District Sports Page will take a look at the players that should comprise the 2013 roster of the Washington Nationals. Following a record-setting season last year that saw the Nats finish first in the N.L. East and advance to the playoffs for the first time since the relocation, GM Mike Rizzo has tweaked the roster a bit and expectations have never been higher for the organization, which is expected to be a legitimate World Series contender this season.
Monday, we looked at the starting pitchers. Today, it’s the bullpen.
PROJECTED OPENING DAY BULLPEN: Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Ryan Mattheus, Craig Stammen, Zach Duke, Henry Rodriguez/Christian Garcia [Read more...]
“We’re going to the World Series this year.” – Principal Owner Mark Lerner said during a “State of the Nationals” forum for season ticket holders at NatsFest.
The Washington Nationals held NatsFest on Saturday, January 26 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. By all accounts, it sounded like a big success with more than 7,000 fans (per @NationalsPR).
Fans got a chance to see new Nationals Denard Span and Dan Haren as well as several other Nats players and prospects, including Corey Brown, Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond, Ross Detwiler, Danny Espinosa, Christian Garcia, Gio Gonzalez, Brian Goodwin, Bryce Harper, Nathan Karns, Steve Lombardozzi, Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Moore, Ryan Perry, Anthony Rendon, Will Rhymes, Matt Skole, Drew Storen, Kurt Suzuki, Chad Tracy, Jayson Werth and Jordan Zimmermann.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and Mark Lerner, one of the team’s Principal Owners, as well as team broadcasters Bob Carpenter, F.P. Santangelo, Charlie Slowes and Phil Wood were also in attendance. [Read more...]
In the last two days, the Washington Nationals have relegated two fan favorites to lesser roles on the team and discarded two others. It’s part of the unfortunate part of the business. Fans get attached to certain players for their personality or willingness to engage fans, then see those heroes leave the organization unceremoniously when a better or different or cheaper option comes along.
This winter, it’s all about maximizing the roster for a legitimate World Series run, as it should be. That doesn’t mean it still doesn’t hurt when a fan favorite is pushed out of a job or off the team altogether.
The acquisition of closer Rafael Soriano Tuesday pushes Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard each up one inning in the pecking order, if not placing one or the other squarely on the trading block. On Wednesday, the other shoe from re-signing Adam LaRoche fell: the Nats traded Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners in a three-team deal with the Oakland A’s in a trade that had most of the fan bases for each team complaining they didn’t get enough in the deal. [Read more...]
Washington Nationals fans should check the website for updated information as all player appearances and activities are subject to change.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS ANNOUNCE 2013 NATSFEST DETAILS
Event to take place Saturday, January 26 from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. at
Washington Convention Center
The Washington Nationals today released new details about 2013 NatsFest, taking place for the first time at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, January 26, 2013.
More than 25 Nationals players and prospects are expected to attend the fun-filled baseball festival, including but not limited to*: Corey Brown, Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond, Ross Detwiler, Danny Espinosa, Christian Garcia, Gio Gonzalez, Brian Goodwin, Bryce Harper, Nathan Karns, Steve Lombardozzi, Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Moore,
Michael Morse, Ryan Perry, Anthony Rendon, Will Rhymes, Matt Skole, Drew Storen, Kurt Suzuki, Chad Tracy, Jayson Werth and Jordan Zimmermann.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and Mark Lerner, one of the team’s Principal Owners, as well as team broadcasters Bob Carpenter, F.P. Santangelo, Charlie Slowes and Phil Wood will also be in attendance. In addition, Nationals fans will have the first opportunity to meet two of the team’s latest additions, Dan Haren and Denard Span. Please note that all autograph vouchers are SOLD OUT; autograph voucher holders are encouraged to visit nationals.com/natsfest for important information.
Open to fans of all ages from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., NatsFest will offer a variety of activities including:
o Q & A sessions with players and coaches on topics including ‘Preparing for Games’ and ‘Life on the Road’
o Opportunities to take photos with players and team mascots
o A special Jr. Nats Kids Forum featuring Player Story Times and Kids Press Conferences
o The chance to learn about the team’s innovative virtual ticketing system
o Games, interactive events and surprises
The event will also feature:
o Live broadcast by 106.7 The Fan, the team’s official flagship radio station
o Opportunities to purchase the latest Nationals merchandise as well as game-used and autographed memorabilia
o Batting cages, inflatable games and 2012 trophy display
o D.J. Stylus Chris spinning music throughout the day
o Concessions for purchase
NatsFest will also offer fans the first opportunity to purchase individual and group tickets to see the Nationals take on the New York Yankees in a special preseason exhibition game on Friday, March 29 at 2:05 p.m. Tickets for NatsFest are currently on sale for Season Plan Holders at $15 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 12, and for the general public at $20 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 12 and can be purchased at nationals.com/natsfest.
Fans planning to utilize Metro’s Red Line to attend NatsFest are encouraged to add at least 20 minutes to their planned travel time due to scheduled weekend track maintenance. For directions and parking, visit the Convention Center website at www.dcconvention.com.
*All player appearances are subject to change
ALL-STAR CLOSER RECEIVES TWO-YEAR DEAL WORTH $28 WITH VESTING OPTION IN ’15
According to multiple reports, and first reported by Yahoo! Sports, the Washington Nationals signed right-handed All-Star reliever Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million deal with a vesting option for 2015. The option will vest should Soriano finish 120 games across the term of the contract and would be worth an additional $14 million.
The deal makes Soriano the highest paid reliever in baseball.
The Nationals will have to surrender their first round pick (No. 29 overall) and the slot money assigned to it in compensation for signing Soriano.
Soriano, 33, was with the New York Yankees last season, going 2-1 with 42 saves in 46 chances. He compiled a 2.26 ERA and 1.167 WHIP in 67 2/3 innings with a 7.3 H/9, 9.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. He was an All-Star in 2010 with Tampa Bay when he led the American League with 45 saves and miniscule 1.73 ERA.
According to this article in The Washington Post citing an unnamed source, owner Ted Lerner was “heavily involved” in bringing Soriano to the Nats.
Soriano brings even more depth to an already stacked Nats bullpen. With the money invested — and his vesting option triggered on closing games — Soriano figures to gain most of the save opportunities. But the Nats now have three right-handed relievers that have saved a total of 123 games the past two seasons, with Soriano joining 2011 All-Star Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen.
Immediately upon hearing news of the signing, folks on social media were already speculating which “closer” the Nats were going to trade. But unlike the Michael Morse situation, I don’t see where the Nats “have to” make a deal to open space up for Soriano.
Clippard has been overworked the last two seasons and is due for a salary increase through arbitration this off-season and should command a hefty jump after closing last season and putting up big save numbers, so if the Nats felt like they needed to move someone, Clippard could be that candidate. But his changeup is equally impressive against right- and left-handed batters, so he also could become that de facto missing lefty in the late pen for manager Davey Johnson.
Plenty are suggesting that Drew Storen will be the odd man out and sent packing, but I don’t see that either. It’s true that he faltered in the epic Game Five meltdown against the Cardinals, but Storen possesses filthy stuff when worked regularly and will be completely healthy and recovered from the elbow surgery that limited him to 37 appearances last season.
I believe this is an “all-in” type of move to protect the Nats against the bullpen tiring out over the course of the season. Most of last year, the Nats pen was dominant, but it collectively struggled late in the season and into the playoffs, culminating in the Game Five loss to the Cardinals. Soriano will effectively push every reliever up an inning, shortening games by essentially sending an All-Star caliber closer out for the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, allowing Davey to pick and choose how he wants to use his other relievers, including lefty Zach Duke and righties Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen.
Regardless of how the bullpen shakes out, this moves further cements the Nats as a central figure in the National League and as a big-time player in the free agent market for players they deem to be the right fit.
Coming off Thursday night’s humble celebrations, the playoff-bound Washington Nationals hoped to zero in on the division title, but instead fell victim to the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers in a tough 4-2 loss Friday night.
Edwin Jackson (ND, 9-10, 3.77), in search of his 10th win of the season, outpitched Milwaukee right-hander Shaun Marcum (ND, 5-4, 3.86), but another blown save by Tyler Clippard (L, 2-6, 3.46) cost the Nats their opportunity to trim their Magic Number for the division down to six.
As if they were riding momentum from last night’s win, the Nats wasted no time putting runs on the board against one of five teams in the thick of the NL Wild Card chase. With two outs in the first inning, Ryan Zimmerman singled up the middle and Adam LaRoche belted a two-run homer to left center, giving the Nats an early 2-0 lead.
Unfortunately for Washington, however, Jonathan Lucroy took advantage of a hanging breaking ball by Jackson in the top half of the next inning and rocketed a solo shot so deep into the left-field seats it nearly reached the concourse.
Despite early bombs by both teams, the night was less a slugfest, but a pitcher’s duel. After center fielder Carlos Gomez robbed Ian Desmond of an extra-base hit with a highlight-worthy diving catch in the second, the Nats’ bats went quiet as Marcum settled in. In fact, aside from Edwin Jackson’s single in the third and Michael Morse’s in the fourth, the Nats did not have a runner on base again until the eighth.
Jackson found his own groove, but not before stellar defense in the fourth would save him from a jam. Following a double by Ryan Braun to straight-away center, Aramis Ramirez singled to Bryce Harper and Brewers third base coach Ed Sedar waved Braun on home to try for the tying run. However, Harper quickly chased down the ball in time to launch a perfect throw home to gun down Braun and salvage the Nationals’ 2-1 lead. The Brewers continued to threaten, however, as Jonathan Lucroy grounded safely to Harper to leave runners at the corners with one out. Luckily for Jackson, the Nationals’ infield came to the rescue with a spectacular 4-6-3 double play to end the top of the fourth.
After, the Brewers’ bats would remain quiet… that is, until Tyler Clippard came on for the save.
Norichika Aoki led off the inning by laying down a perfect bunt just left of the batter’s box in fair territory. Zimmerman raced in to make the play but Aoki beat it out before he could attempt the throw. Aoki advanced to second on a passed ball by Jesus Flores and Rickie Weeks’s sacrifice fly to deep center left Aoki at third with one out. Braun, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles on the night, singled to tie the game and quickly stole second in time to score on Ramirez’s double to the left-field corner.
Lucroy lined out to left, but Travis Ishikawa reached first on a tough play by Desmond that allowed Ramirez to score. The play was originally ruled a throwing error, but the officials later credited Ishikawa with the hit, tacking on another earned run against Clippard before night’s end.
Craig Stammen came on to relieve Clippard and quickly struck out Gomez to end the inning, but the damage was already done and the Nats fell 4-2.
THE TAKE-AWAY: Once again, despite a fantastic effort by Edwin Jackson to become the fifth Nationals pitcher with double-digit wins this season, Tyler Clippard failed to secure the save for the win. With Clippard and right-hander Drew Storen potentialy splitting the Nats’ closer role, it will be interesting to see how Clippard’s fifth blown save this season will influence Davey Johnson’s decisions as Washington looks to secure the division.
THE GOOD: Edwin Jackson shined Friday night, allowing just six hits and one run in eight innings of play. Following the home run to Jonathan Lucroy, Jackson retired the next six batters and with help from Bryce Harper and the Nats’ infield, he pitched into—and out of—only one jam all night.
The Nationals defense was superb. Bryce Harper, once again, demonstrated why third base coaches should think twice about sending runners home when the ball lands in his territory.
THE BAD: The Nationals’ bats were relatively quiet all night. They managed only five hits and two runs and tallied six strikeouts before the end of the night.
For Nationals fans who speculated that the “Teddy Conspiracy” would come to an end after the Nationals’ clinched the division, it’s time to come up with a new theory. Yet again, the 26th President lost to George Washington.
THE UGLY: Moreso than in the regular season, closers play a vital role in the playoffs. If the Nationals’ bats stay quiet, Washington could run in trouble if it can’t rely on Tyler Clippard to produce big outs. It might be time to reconsider how—or if—the Nationals should continue to split the closer role between Clippard and Storen.
STATISTICS: 2 R, H, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 LOB
NEXT GAME: Saturday at 1:05pm against the Milwaukee Brewers. Gio Gonzalez (19-8, 2.95) hosts Wily Peralta (2-0, 2.14)
A playoff-clinching victory will have to wait at least one more day.
Things were set for a storybook conclusion. John Lannan, opening day starter for a 100- and 90-loss Washington Nationals team, was on the mound with an opportunity to clinch the Nats first post-season berth since the relocation in 2005. Despite a thrilling six-run eighth inning Nats rally to tie the game, it just wasn’t to be, as Matt Kemp crushed an 0-2 pitch from Tyler Clippard to the seats at the Red Porch, delivering a 7-6 win for the Los Angeles Dodgers before 26,931 in the nightcap of the traditional single-admission double-header.
Coupled with the Atlanta Braves 3-0 win over the Miami Marlins, the Nats division lead is five games and magic number to clinch the division stays at nine.
The Nats fell behind early in this one, as Lannan was roughed up for six earned runs in 3 2/13 innings. It looked like the story of this game was going to be how Lannan got clobbered and the Nats’ bats were silenced by the much-maligned Dodgers starter Josh Beckett. Already exiled from Boston where he pitched poorly and acted worse, Beckett was masterful most of Wednesday night, facing the minimum number of batters through five innings and just one more through seven. [Read more...]