Washington Nationals News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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4/17/14: It has been a pretty tough start to the 2014 season for Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Even though the season is only two weeks old, he has already been dealing with an arthritic shoulder, which may be limiting his effectiveness. Things got worse for Zimmerman last Saturday when he jammed his thumb while diving back to second base on a pick off play. There was blood visible and Zimmerman left the game. That caused a bit of a shake up in the field, as Anthony Rendon moved to third base and Danny Espinosa entered the game to play second.
4/10/14: One week into the regular season, and the Nationals are where they should be. They finished the week 3-1, good for a .750 winning percentage. If that could be extrapolated throughout the next 158 games, then they would likely have the best winning percentage of all time. That is not likely to happen, but the Nats' stat back up their play. They are 9th in the league in runs, 6th in batting average, 89th in on base percentage, and 3rd in slugging percentage. If they can consistently rank in the top 10 in major offensive categories, and the pitching staff can hold up as expected, then this is the Nationals' division to lose.
4/3/14: The Nationals are not going to get caught unprepared this season. They had a dominant 2012 season and made it to the NLDS before losing to St. Louis. Last year, they did not play with much urgency until late in the season and never could catch the Atlanta Braves, and therefore, missed the playoffs. They are ready this year and the bats are already at work. The Nats beat the New York Mets on Opening Day, 9-7. Bryce Harper took a leg to the head and was shaken up, but never left the game. That is good, because the Nats need him to produce this season and be a leader on the team.
3/27/14: It is unfortunate how this played out, but the Washington Nationals should be considered the prohibitive favorites in the NL East this season. In 2013, the Atlanta Braves stormed out to an early lead in the division and never looked back. The Nats were lackluster throughout the season, even though they probably had more talent on the roster. Washington made a strong play at the end of the season to get back to the playoffs, but it was too little, too late. However, with the major injuries to the Braves' pitching, the Nats are looking like the team to beat. They will utilize Stephen Strasburg as their opening day starter.
3/20/14: The Nats tried to get the city of Washington D.C. to pay for a roof for their stadium. That was a non-starter as taxpayers do not want to spend $300 million for the team. Principal owner Mark Lerner addressed the situation last week and admitted that he did not think it would happen. He tried to make the case that it would allow more events at Nationals Park (so it would be an investment, not a cost), but no on is really buying that at this point. Maybe one day they will put a retractable roof on the stadium, but just not today. Can't blame a guy for trying, though.
3/13/14: The Nats had their first big scare of the season when starting pitcher Doug Fister was scratched from a spring training game start due to a sore elbow. For his part, Fister is not concerned, so neither should the Nats' fans. Fister believes that it is 'typical inflammation' and they are treating it with ice and anti-inflammatory treatments. Fister is not a top of the rotation guy, but was brought in to be a fourth or fifth starter. The Nats still have a strong rotation with Steven Strassburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmerman leading the way. Even if Fister has real problems, the Nationals are in very good shape for the season.
3/6/14: With spring training well underway and the start of the 2014 MLB season just a few weeks out, it is time again for baseball card sets to be sent out. Normally, these cards are fairly routine and monotonous, though there have been some interesting ones like the famous Billy Ripkin card with an expletive written on his bat. Topps has a different look for Jason Werth and he is not happy with it. It is a photo of him pointing, but other players Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond are clearly visible on the card. That probably will not make it a sought after card, but did get Werth's attention.
2/27/14: The Nationals have quite a roster, one that is capable of winning the World Series. Stars such as ace Steven Strasburg and Bryce Harper get most of the press, but there is a deep list of talent aside from them. Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman is among them. He ranks sixth in ERA for pitchers with at least 400 innings since 2011. He recently signed a two year extension with the Nats to avoid arbitration and focus on playing. For his part, he is not concerned about signing a big long-term contract, and figures that will work itself out in time. Good to see a ball player using common sense to keep developing and let the big numbers take care of themselves.
2/20/14: A fun story out of D.C. this week as the Nationals are using drones for video shots this spring training. In theory, this is an interesting idea who's time has come. Using aerial drones to video practice and/or games provides a unique perspective to both fans and coaches. There certainly could be something to it, in the same way that the ziplined cameras in the NFL provide a unique vantage point. On the other hand, it could just be a PR move by the team to generate some interest both locally and nationally with a gimmicky idea with no real practical use.
2/13/14: The Nationals may be a late entrant in the A.J. Burnett sweepstakes. Burnett originally said he would retire or return to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has since changed his stance and has opened up the bidding process. The Baltimore Orioles are in the mix and the Philadelphia Phillies have an interest, though they are considered a long-shot. Burnett apparently wants to play near his Maryland home, which is only about 75 minutes from D.C. The Nats rotation seems set, but they would probably make room somewhere for the veteran starter. With pitchers and catchers reporting in a very short time, Burnett could help out by making a decision soon.
2/6/14: The Nationals may be getting into the professional hockey business soon. Actually, it would be the city of Washington DC, as the rumors are flowing that that Nationals Park will be the site of the NHL's Winter Classic next year. The Winter Classic is the annual outdoor hockey game staged on January 1. This year (Jan 1, 2014), it was staged at Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan - better known as "The Big House". All indications point to the 2015 game being played at the home of the Nationals (though, it could go to another local venue).
1/30/14: Where does the time go? It seems like yesterday that Livan Hernandez was a rookie pitching lights out in the biggest baseball championship in world. That was well over a decade ago and Hernandez is now 39 years old. And, it is all but finalized that he will be at Nationals spring training. Not as a pitcher, but as an instructor. He last pitched professionally in 2012, both for the Braves and Brewers (out of the bull pen - and not effectively at all). However, he does have a lot of experience and could be an asset for the relatively young Nats rotation.
1/23/14: Several weeks ago, it looked like pitcher Grant Balfour would be joining Baltimore. That deal got scrapped when undiscovered knee and wrist issues surfaced. Now it looks like the Washington Nationals may be interested in the reliever. In this scenario, Rafael Soriano would be the closer and Tyler Clippard would be the set-up man. That would put Balfour in as a seventh inning guy, assuming the Nats trade Drew Storen. Balfour was with the Oakland A's for the past two seasons and had excellent numbers: 2.56 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 144 strikeouts in just over 137 innings. He also saved 62 games in 67 attempts.
1/16/14: The Nats and star pitcher Stephen Strasburg agreed to a one year, $3.975 million deal with performance bonuses. The good news is that they avoided arbitration. It is an interesting move by the Nats. Strasburg was eligible for arbitration for the first time and has some solid numbers behind him. Strasburg is only 25 and will have two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after this season. If he continues to improve, then it will cost the Nats a lot more to keep him. On the other hand, this may just be a way to placate him while they work out a long term deal.
1/9/14: Nats' star outfielder Bryce Harper looks ready for a big third season. He will always be compared to Mike Trout of the Anaheim Angels because they both debuted in the same year and are major players on their teams. But Harper is doing something different this offseason. He has bulked up to a reported 235 pounds this offseason and wants to enter spring training with an addition 10 pounds of heft. If it muscle, that should give him more power to put up more home runs. However, Harper claims he loses about 20 pounds during the season, so this may also be a way to protect himself from the daily wear and tear.
1/2/14: Next season, 2014, is a chance for the Nationals to redeem themselves. The franchise spent a few years developing prospects and getting high draft picks. They broke through in 2012 by winning not only the NL East but earning the most wins in the National League. They were upset in the playoffs by the Cardinals, but looked poised to establish themselves as an elite team for several years. The Nats underachieved and were complacent last season, but it looks like they have a new attitude. An attitude that could propel them back to the top of the division and one that should serve them well in their rivalry with Atlanta.
12/26/13: The Nationals cannot win the World Series in the offseason, but they have used the time off to upgrade team and to try to win back the NL East from the Atlanta Braves. Washington said goodbye to fourth starter Dan Haren and brought in Doug Fister. The Nats also managed to add outfielder Nate McLouth and lefty reliever Jerry Blevins for next to nothing. If these guys can simply live up to expectations (and the Nats do not play themselves out of contention early in the season), then this could be your NL East champion in 2014.
12/19/13: There is no way to deny that 2013 was a disappointing season for the Nationals. They had the most wins in 2012 and easily won the NL East. Last season, they got off to a slow start and had to learn to battle through adversity. That may have been a painful lesson to learn - one they seem to start learning at the end of the season with a late push. But that may serve them well in 2014. They have a growing rivalry with the Braves, and those two teams are considered to be the best in the division. By learning about losing, they may be ready to win.
12/12/13: The Washington Nationals have one of the better rotations in the major leagues as they are stacked with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmerman. The Nats just got stronger by trading with the Detroit Tigers for Doug Fister. Washington tried to fill that fourth rotation spot in the past with Edwin Jackson and Dan Haren - two accomplished pitchers that fizzled in D.C. Fister had a career year in 2013 with 14 wins and a career best 159 strikeouts. Jackson and Haren both won 10 games in the fourth spot, setting the bar for Fister.
12/5/13: The Nationals got one of the biggest sweetheart deals a few years ago when they moved into their ballpark. The $700 million stadium was funded entirely with public money so the Nats have no obligations toward it. The Nats apparently felt that four rainouts were too many last season so they asked the Washington D.C. mayor to build them a $300 million retractable roof. The mayor reportedly laughed at this suggestion. Putting a roof would be cost-prohibitive as the stadium was never designed to add one. The citizens of D.C. should be happy that they are not going to have to pay another $300 million for something that is probably not needed.
11/28/13: Nationals fans are well aware of closer Drew Storen's late season turn-around. After August 16, he had an ERA of 1.40 and did not allow a single home run. Coincidentally, that coincided with the Nationals making a late run at a wild card spot (though they fell short to the Reds). Storen recently recounted meeting former Yankees' closer and future hall of famer Mariano Rivera and asked Mo for some professional advice. According to Storen, Rivera told him that he did not need Mo's famous cutter, but that he had enough in his own toolkit to be successful. Great advice from the best closer to ever play the game.
11/21/13: The Nationals seem to want any left handed bullpen free agent available these days. The latest possible target is Oliver Perez. Perez was a starter who converted to the bullpen last year with the Mariners and was surprisingly effective. He was terrible in 2009 and 2010, and out of baseball in 2011. Funny thing is that he was with the Nats double A affiliate a couple years ago and was released. Now that he has been 'reborn' the Nats want him back to pick up a few middle to late innings, where he has now shown he can be effective.
11/14/13: The Nationals acquired Denard Span from the Twins last offseason as they wanted a new lead off hitter and everyday center fielder. However, it looks like that move may be short-lived as the Nats are apparently willing to trade Span after one year. Span had a strong second half and posted respectable numbers: .279/.327/.380 with four homers, 47 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases in 153 games. The Nationals may be gearing up to make an offer to free agent Jacoby Ellsbury. Span has one year left on his contract for $6.5 million and a club option for 2015 for $9 million. Considering his second half, there may be a market for him.
11/7/13: New manager Matt Williams is doing something new managers rarely do - keep just about all of the existing coaches on the staff instead of bringing in his own guys. The only change is bringing in a new bullpen coach. The coaching staff is familiar with the team and the managerial change was due to retirement rather than a firing for lack of performance. Williams is adding a new position though, he is bringing Mark Weidenmaier to serve as an advance coach focused on defensive alignments. He will work with other advance and video scouts to filter defensive information to the coaching staff.
10/31/13: The Washington Nationals named Matt Williams as their new manager this past week. Matt Williams was a great player in his day, which was not that long ago, so should be able to relate to the team pretty well. The dark side of Williams is his past PED use, which is apparently the ultimate sin in Major League Baseball. Williams was named in the Mitchell Report and has admitted to using HGH to heal an injury. Unfortunately, the media will likely seize upon this and pepper Williams with PED questions for much of his first year - similar to what they did with Mark McGwire when he was named as the Cardinals' batting coach a few years ago.
10/24/13: Word leaked out last week that former Reds, Giants and Cubs manager Dusty Baker contacted the Washington Nationals about their managerial opening. Baker was most recently with the Reds where he had several good seasons (including 2012 where they won the NL Central by 9.5 games), but could never advance in the playoffs. Apparently the Nats are not interested in Baker and the rumor is that they are searching for a 'non-veteran' manager. That may make sense because they have so much youth on their roster, though they probably could benefit from somebody who can instill a sense of urgency in the team.
10/17/13: The search is on in Washington for the next manager of the Nationals. Manager Davey Johnson is retiring, so someone has to step in and fill the void. Johnson did a pretty admirable job in 2012 by guiding the team to the best record in baseball, but they were eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs. The Nats were reportedly interested in Yankees' skipper Joe Girardi, but he opted to stay in New York. Dusty Baker is available, and that would be a fine selection if the team wants to have a great regular season and lose in the playoffs.
10/10/13: Washington may believe that if they had made the playoffs then they would be the team to beat. There may be some truth to that considering their starting rotation with Steven Strasburg, Dan Harren, and Jordan Zimmerman. However, they are on the proverbial golf course right now watching the teams that actually made the playoffs match up. The biggest question in the offseason is who will be the next manager. Yankees' skipper Joe Girardi is likely on the list. Dusty Baker is available after getting fired by the Reds. Otherwise, it is anyone's guess as to who gets a team loaded in talent.
10/3/13: Nationals' starting pitcher Dan Haren had some interesting words over the weekend, claiming if the Nationals had made the playoffs then they would be the team to beat. That is a very odd statement to make for a team that slept-walked through the regular season and finished five games out of the wild card spots. The Nats do have a lot of talent, especially in their starting rotation. However, the team never seemed to play with any urgency throughout the year and as a result were a distant second in the NL East. Perhaps Haren can back that statement up next year, as the Nats should again be loaded with talent.
9/26/13: The Nationals are trying to make a run at a wild-card playoff spot, and had a nice seven game win streak going for them. That momentum has shifted and the Nats now seem to be stuck around five games back with time running out quickly. Washington needs another sustained winning streak as well as for someone ahead of them to tank. The Pirates and Reds have six of their final nine games against each other, but seem to be trading blows. For the Nats to get in, one of those teams would have to pretty much lose out. Not going to happen. The Nats were eliminated on Monday.
9/19/13: A year ago, the Nationals were on cruise control. They had an insurmountable lead in the NL East and were on their way to the playoffs. They had shut down ace Steven Strasburg to save his arm for the future. They figured to have plenty more playoff appearances in the near future. Today they are not even a wildcard team, though the Nats have been on a roll. They are only 4.5 games behind the Reds for the second wildcard position and have a legitimate chance of getting in. Washington would be dangerous in a play-in game, and hot wildcard teams have a history of success in the post-season.
9/12/13: The Nationals are not yet eliminated from the postseason, but time is running out. They are seven games back of the second wildcard spot (which right now is held by the Reds but could change at any minute). The Nationals may have to go virtually undefeated the rest of the way in to earn a playoff spot, but unfortunately for them, the Reds are playing their best ball of the season. The Pirates have slumped lately, and if that slide continues, then perhaps the Nationals can get back to the postseason and avenge last season's disappointing finish.
9/4/13: Since starting the season as the pre-crowned NL East Champs, the Nats have struggled mightily. They are 15 games out of first place in the division, but do not count them out just yet. There is still about a month to play and the Nationals are playing their best baseball of the season. they are six games out of a wild card spot and can feasibly still make the postseason. They will have to jump Arizona and either St. Louis or Cincinnati to get there, but, as the old saying goes, if you are good enough to get there, you are good enough to win it all.
8/29/13: Give the Nationals some credit for not quitting, even when that seems like the easiest and most logical thing to do. The Nats are 12 games back of the NL East leading Atlanta Braves and have a lot of distance between themselves and a wild card spot. But even with that gap, 34 year old Jason Werth still is going out and playing with an infected foot. There are tales of teams coming back late in the season, just two years ago the Cardinals caught the Braves when they were 10 games back. So it is possible, although not necessarily probable.
8/22/13: At least there is one person who is happy that the Phillies fired manager Charlie Manuel, and that would be Jason Werth of the Nationals. Werth played for Manuel when he was in Philly and would love for him to be the next manager of the Nationals. In other news, the Atlanta Braves have been throwing at Nats star Bryce Harper, and Steven Strasberg threw at the Braves. There is a lot of bad blood between the teams, as well as about 15 games. The Braves were classless in their assault on Harper, and after all is said and done, it is probably just simply machismo getting in the way of baseball.
8/15/13: A year ago, the Nats were simply cruising to the NL East title and the best record in baseball. The team made the controversial decision to shelve ace pitcher Steven Strasburg, meaning he was unavailable for the playoffs. The thinking was that there are plenty more years. Not this year. The Braves have a seemingly insurmountable 15.5 game lead on Washington with about six weeks left in the season, and are simply the best team in baseball right now. Washington never got their act together in 2013, but hopefully they will learn about resiliency and missed opportunities in 2014.
8/8/13: Where in the world are the Nationals. The team picked by many to win the NL East and represent the National League in the World Series does not even have the division lead or a wild-card spot in sight anymore. The Nats are 6.5 games behind the Braves in the East and 6.5 games out of the second wild-card spot. This season has been nothing short of a major disappointment for the team and their fans. There are still two months to make up ground, but it will require better play fromall of the team's stars.
8/1/13: Every week it seems to be the same story with the Nationals - what is wrong with this team. They have the best talent on paper and cruised through the 2012 season. Most experts expected the same thing this time around, but they find themselves three games under .500 and 8.5 games behind the division leading Atlanta Braves. Only pitcher Jordan Zimmerman has been as good as expected in the rotation, while the other stars have struggled. They have had significant injuries this year, but their position in the playoff chase is very unexpected at this point.
7/25/13: Shocking is the only word to describe it. Well, maybe disappointing works too. A team like the Nationals has talent to spare on their roster, yet they just cannot get out of their own way this season. They trail the Atlanta Braves by 7 games and, if the season ended today, would not even get into the playoffs as a wild card team. There is no single source for the team's struggles this season, but they have an uphill battle the rest of the way. Atlanta has a relatively easy schedule down the stretch and the Nats have to make up a lot of ground in a limited amount of time.
7/18/13: Usually, you want your bigger hitters to have a chance to hit with people on base. But Denard Span, the regular lead-off hitter has struggled recently so he has been dropped to seventh while Bryce Harper moved from number 3 to number 1. This will probably hurt Harper's RBI numbers - it is not fun hitting behind the pitcher and that is one reason Tony LaRussa had the pitcher hit eighth - but it could help in scoring more runs in the short term while Span gets his game back together. At least Harper has the speed to lead off.
7/11/13: Washington seems to be getting their momentum back. The Nationals, widely picked to win the NL East division and even represent the National League in the World Series, have been disappointing this year. The Nats are 3 games over 500, but trail the Braves by 5. However, ace pitcher Steven Strasburg and star outfielder Bryce Harper are back and both are healthy again. Harper has been moved to the number 3 spot in the batting order, which is a better place for him to drive in RBIs and get more at-bats than further down in the line-up.
7/4/13: Washington is hoping to gain some ground on the NL East leading Braves in the next few weeks. Bryce Harper should return from his injury soon, and that will give the offense a boost that it has been lacking. It is not a stretch to say that the team has not achieved the success that was expected this year. At the same time, they are not out of the playoff race by any means. Should the Nats go on a nice win streak, and perhaps the Braves fall back a bit, then this is a team that will be dangerous in October. That being said, they do have to get back on track and show us all that they are as good as they were last season.
6/27/13: That the Nationals have struggled this season shocked all the baseball experts. After posting the best regular season record in the National League last year, they were predicted to cruise this year. Jason Werth actually thinks that has hurt the team this season, as they have not developed the mental toughness to compete when the going gets rough. The good news is that ace pitcher Steven Strasburg is back on the mound after missing time to injury, and Bryce Harper is mending his hurt leg and should be back soon. They will need both in order to catch the Atlanta Braves in the second half of the season.
6/20/13: There is no question that the Nationals have not lived up to expectations this season. They were the best regular season team in the National League last year, and looked like they were headed to the World Series until the St. Louis Cardinals knocked them out. They have suffered a lot of injuries in this campaign, but there is some good news on the horizon. Ace pitcher Steven Strassburg is scheduled to come off the 15 DL and pitch this week. Bryce Harper is still injured, but may be back soon. They need these guys if they are going to catch the Braves in the NL East. That may be a longshot at this point, but they still have a chance to make the playoffs as a wildcard team.
6/13/13: The Nationals continue to both struggle on the field, ail off the field, and make baseball experts look terrible in their predictions that the Nats would have a cakewalk into the playoffs. As it stands now, the Atlanta Braves are comfortably in first place by seven games over Washington - who is only a game ahead of Philadelphia. While the Nats may have overachieved last season, having both ace pitcher Steven Strasburg and star outfielder Bryce Harper out with injuries is hurting the club. Add to that the high priced Jason Werth failures, and the team is going to struggle to make a repeat visit to the playoffs.
6/6/13: Nationals player Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings! He strained a muscle on his right side and will return to Washington on Saturday to be examined by the team's medical staff. ""He was complaining of discomfort warming up, and it was more severe than the last time out,"" Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. In the seventh inning, Clippard escaped a base loaded jam that he created by allowing Freeman's single that cut the lead (3-2) by hitting the next two batters. The Nationals ended up having a 3-2 victory over the Braves Friday night. ""They're all big wins, but this rivalry between us and them is pretty intense," said Simmons.
5/30/13: The Washington Nationals were expected to possibly win the World Series however they seem to be getting off to a struggling start. While Danny Espinosa takes a few days off due to a broken right wrist The Nationals started looking for a temp player until Espinosa heals. On Sunday Harper made his sore knee worse by aggravating it three times 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. He head-first twice by sliding in the first inning. He then slid into second on an infield hit-and-error, then finally hit the dirt again with a steal to third. Harper also fouled a pitch off the knee in the third inning. He was limping throughout the game and was removed for a pinch runner after drawing a walk in the seventh.
5/23/13: The chitter-chatter of the Washinton Nationals has been Bryce Harper crashing into the score board while trying to catch a fly ball. He had 11 stitches just under his chin. He is certainly keeping his chin up as of tonight when he returns to the lineup tonight against the Giants. In less action packed news the Washington Nationals have not even discussed a new contract with Mike Rizzo. He is one of the lowest-paid GMs in the major leagues. Mike agreed to this in the start due to not having a lot of experience. Beware, though, he is represented by Scott Boras.
5/16/13: Anyone who saw Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper go headfirst into the scoreboard screen in right field at Dodger Stadium on Monday had to flinch. Harper stayed on the ground for a few minutes and left under his own power. His neck was bloodied and he was visibly shaken up. Harper's all out style is refreshing, but does he need to change his type of play? The kid has a lot of years of professional baseball ahead of him, and it is tough to watch such a great young talent hurt himself. He will bounce back from this injury, but hopefully will not have any more.
5/9/13: Congrats to Bryce Harper for continuing and building on his historic rookie season. Harper was obviously the Nat's MVP for April. The team is just above .500 right now, and would be a whole lot worse if not for the young outfielder. He finished April second in slugging (.740) and home runs (nine), and fourth in batting average (.344). He is maturing rapidly as a hitter, as both his walk and strikeout rates have improved over last season. This bodes well for the Nats for many years to come since Harper is not yet even 21.
5/2/13: Through one month of the season, the Nationals have not yet shown that they are near the team that many expected them to be. Washington was expected to coast through the regular season, putting up great stats and a lot of wins as they prepared for the playoffs in October. So far, however, they trail Atlanta Braves who have gotten off to a strong start behind the hottest player in the game, Justin Upton. The Nats have a few problems. Ryan Zimmerman has been on the DL and ace pitcher Steven Strasberg just has not shown the great form he had last season.
4/25/13: Take it easy, Nats fans, it is still early in the season. Washington is hovering just over .500 and 3.5 games behind the NL East leading Atlanta Braves. This team was expected to run away with the division like they did last year, but have only gotten mediocre returns so far. Ace pitcher Steven Strausberg has not been the same pitcher as last year and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is a liability in the field - leading all third basemen in errors so far. But again, it is still early and there is plenty of time to right the ship.
4/4/13: The Nats dream season cam to a crashing halt last October when the St. Louis Cardinals beat them in the playoffs and advanced to the National League Championship Series. The Cardinals were the second wild card team last season and shocked everyone by taking down Washington with relative ease. The Nats are back and Bryce Harper started off with a bang. He homered in his first at bat. Then homered again in his second at bat. Both were solo shots, and provided enough offense as the Nats beat the Marlins on opening day 2-0 at home.
3/21/13: Great news for Washington Nationals fans who have been pining for baseball to return since the St. Louis Cardinals eliminated the team in National League Divisional Series last October. Bryce Harper is in mid season form. He is hitting .400 in spring training (20 for 40) with 12 RBIs. He had four RBIs today against the Miami Marlins, then promptly left the building. Literally. Harper and Jason Werth got in a private car and went back to the Nationals complex in Vero Beach. Yep, they are ready for the regular season and defend their NL East crown.
10/2/12 ? The Washington Nationals lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0, but they were still celebrating in the locker room after the game. At the bottom of the ninth inning, in front of their home crowd, the game between Atlanta and the Pittsburgh Pirates flashed a 2-1 final score on the scoreboard in favor of the Pirates. This meant that the Washington Nationals are NL East Champions for the second time in franchise history. The last time they won the division crown was in 1981 as the Montreal Expos. Washington, in first place since May 22, awaits the winner of the Wild Card playoff game between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals.
9/20/12 ? Ross Detwiler threw six strong innings to send the Washington Nationals to the playoffs for their first postseason berth since moving from Montreal. For the city of Washington it will be their first chance to watch postseason baseball since 1933. With 30,359 fans on their feet, Drew Storen struck out Los Angeles infielder Hanley Ramirez to end the game. Detwiler struck out five and allowed one earned run and Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman had an RBI double and scored on a wild pitch in the 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Nationals will have at least one of the two wild card spots in the National League. Washington?s magic number to win the NL East is now eight.
The Washington Nationals continued their strong season in impressive fashion on Monday night as they defeated the San Francisco Giants by the score of 14-2 at AT&T; Park. Gio Gonzalez got the start for Washington and pitched 6.2 strong innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and two walks. He also added four strikeouts over the course of his 99 pitches en route to his 15th victory of the season. Offensively, Danny Espinosa blasted his 12th home run of the year in the fifth off Brady Penny, while Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Laroche, Michael Morse, Ronny Bernadina and Kurt Suzuki all drove in runs in the winning effort. Overall, the team was a very impressive 10-20 with runners in scoring position throughout the game.
Danny Espinosa got the big hit for the Nationals in extra innings as Washington defeated the Houston Astros by the score of 3-2 on Wednesday night. Ross Detwiler got the start for Washington and lasted seven strong innings, surrendering just two earned runs on three hits and two walks. He also added two strikeouts over the course of his 85 pitch outing. Offensively, Espinosa provided all of the hits, including a two-run home run in the second inning off Astros starter Jordan Lyles. While the team managed only six hits throughout the game, they were 1-3 with runners in scoring position, getting the big hit when it counted in the 12th inning.
Despite a strong season thus far, Gio Gonzalez struggled on Monday as the Washington Nationals dropped a high-scoring11-10 ball game to the Milwaukee Brewers. Gonzalez pitched six innings, allowing five earned runs on five hits and five walks. He also added four strikeouts over the course of his 98 pitch outing. Offensively, Stephen Lobmardozzi, Michael Morse and Roger Bernadina all went deep in the loss, with each of those hitters accounting for all of the runs batted in for their squad on the day. Overall, the Nationals hit 4-15 with runners in scoring position against the Brewers pitching staff. Stephen Strasburg will get the ball on Tuesday for Washington.
Jordan Zimmerman was outstanding on Monday and helped propel the Washington Nationals to an 8-2 victory against the New York Mets. Zimmerman pitched six strong innings, allowing four hits and zero walks over the course of his 89 pitch outing. He also struck out six batters, but unfortunately did not last long enough to earn the victory. The game went into extra innings, with Tom Gorzelanny pitching the final 1.2 frames to earn his third win of the year. Offensively, Bryce Harper and Michael Morse each went deep in the victory. Overall, the team was an impressive 4-7 with runners in scoring position.
The surging Washington Nationals now own the best record in the majors, after Thursday night's 8-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Edwin Jackson threw 7 scoreless innings for the Nationals as they improved to 59-39, tied with the New York Yankees for the best mark in the league. Their record marks the first time in 79 years that a Washington-based team is at least 20 games over .500. The last time came in 1933 when the Washington Senators finished the regular season with a record of 99-53 and lost to the New York Giants in the World Series.
The Washington Nationals continued the NL East's dominance over the Tampa Bay Rays by taking two out of three from them this week. The Nationals' dominating one-two combo of Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez picked up the wins for Washington on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Strasburg's win pushed his record to 9-1, while Thursday's 5-2 victory pushed Gonzalez's record to 9-3, with a 2.55 ERA to go along with it. Although the Nationals said before the season that they would be shutting down Strasburg early to avoid reinjury to his arm, his 9-1 record may cause them to think twice about taking him out the rotation.
Two of the hottest teams in baseball will collide this weekend, as the Washington Nationals host the New York Yankees in a three-game Interleague set that can have major implications for both the NL East and AL East. With the Yankees winners of six games in a row and the Nationals also on their very own six-game winning streak, it will be an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object when the two division leaders meet this weekend. The 38-23 Nationals are beginning to put some distance in between themselves and the rest of the NL East, as they currently hold a 4.5 game lead over the second-place New York Mets.
The Washington Nationals had the chance to complete a three-game sweep of the New York Mets on Thursday afternoon, but were shut down by R.A. Dickey and fell 3-1, dropping their record to 32-23. The first-place Nationals lead the Atlanta Braves by one game in the NL East and will face the Boston Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park to begin a three-game interleague series against the Red Sox. The Nats will send 6-1 Stephen Strasburg to the mound in the series opener against Boston's Felix Doubront (6-2) who has been the Red Sox best pitcher over the last month.
Adam LaRoche has been a surprise contributor so far this season for the surprising NL East-leading Washington Nationals. LaRoche has already appeared in more games for the Nationals this year (50) than he did all of last season (43). LaRoche's 39 RBIs are enough for fifth in the National League and his 29 walks are sixth best. Along with RBIs, LaRoche also leads the team in home runs (9) and OPS (.861). LaRoche is currently fifth in voting for National League first basmen for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game according to the first numbers that have been revealed by MLB.
Despite being towards the bottom of the league in runs and batting average, the Washington Nationals still find themselves at 29-21 and in first place in the NL East going into June. Beginning on Friday night, the Nationals will open up a weekend series with the division-rival Atlanta Braves and will put 5-1 Stephen Strasburg on the mound. Even with Strasburg's strong start though, the real surprise in the Nationals' rotation thus far has been Gio Gonzalez who has posted a 7-1 record and a stingy 2.04 ERA and has helped Washington to this strong start.
Despite being towards the bottom of the league in runs and batting average, the Washington Nationals still find themselves at 29-21 and in first place in the NL East going into June. Beginning on Friday night, the Nationals will open up a weekend series with the division-rival Atlanta Braves and will put 5-1 Stephen Strasburg on the mound. Even with Strasburg's strong start though, the real surprise in the Nationals' rotation thus far has been Gio Gonzalez who has posted a 7-1 record and a stingy 2.04 ERA and has helped Washington to this strong start. Adam LaRoche has been a surprise contributor so far this season for the surprising NL East-leading Washington Nationals. LaRoche has already appeared in more games for the Nationals this year (50) than he did all of last season (43). LaRoche's 39 RBIs are enough for fifth in the National League and his 29 walks are sixth best. Along with RBIs, LaRoche also leads the team in home runs (9) and OPS (.861). LaRoche is currently fifth in voting for National League first basmen for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game according to the first numbers that have been revealed by MLB. The Washington Nationals had the chance to complete a three-game sweep of the New York Mets on Thursday afternoon, but were shut down by R.A. Dickey and fell 3-1, dropping their record to 32-23. The first-place Nationals lead the Atlanta Braves by one game in the NL East and will face the Boston Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park to begin a three-game interleague series against the Red Sox. The Nats will send 6-1 Stephen Strasburg to the mound in the series opener against Boston's Felix Doubront (6-2) who has been the Red Sox best pitcher over the last month. Two of the hottest teams in baseball will collide this weekend, as the Washington Nationals host the New York Yankees in a three-game Interleague set that can have major implications for both the NL East and AL East. With the Yankees winners of six games in a row and the Nationals also on their very own six-game winning streak, it will be an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object when the two division leaders meet this weekend. The 38-23 Nationals are beginning to put some distance in between themselves and the rest of the NL East, as they currently hold a 4.5 game lead over the second-place New York Mets. The Washington Nationals continued the NL East's dominance over the Tampa Bay Rays by taking two out of three from them this week. The Nationals' dominating one-two combo of Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez picked up the wins for Washington on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Strasburg's win pushed his record to 9-1, while Thursday's 5-2 victory pushed Gonzalez's record to 9-3, with a 2.55 ERA to go along with it. Although the Nationals said before the season that they would be shutting down Strasburg early to avoid reinjury to his arm, his 9-1 record may cause them to think twice about taking him out the rotation.
5/31/12 - Tyler Clippard has appeared to take over as the Washington Nationals closer. Clippard was phenomenal as a set up man, recording 10 holds, and has found success in the closer role. Clippard has not allowed a run in his past five appearances, striking out eight in those 4 2/3 innings of work. Along with Henry Rodriguez and Sean Burnett, Clippard has led an outstanding back end of the bullpen. Adding the deep bullpen to a dominant starting rotation has kept opponents' scoring to a minimum and is a big reason the Nationals are sitting in first place of the NL East.
5/25/12 The Washington Nationals, at 26-18, are currently in first place in the NL East, one game ahead of the Atlanta Braves. Coming off of a series win over the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies this week, the Nationals will head into a grueling stretch of divisional games that will undoubtedly test their fortitude early on in this season. Coming up for the Nationals are series against the Miami Marlins and New York Mets, bookended by two series against the second-place Atlanta Braves. These next few weeks will be key in determining if the Nationals are here to stay atop the NL East and if they will be true contenders in the NL once September rolls around.
5/2/12 - After coming back from Tommy John Surgery late last year, the former number one overall pick was looking for a dominating year. He's off to a good start. Strasburg was voted the National League Pitcher of the Month for April. Strasburg went 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 32 innings over 5 starts. This is the first of many monthly awards of Strasburg's career. Led by Strasburg, the Nationals' pitching staff is the best in the Majors with an ERA of 2.40. Strasburg's April has led the Nationals to a 15-9 record and has them in first place in the National League East.
4/28/12 - As a 16 year old he was dubbed "Baseball's Chosen One" by Sports Illustrated. In 2010 he was the Number 1 pick in the MLB Draft. Two years later, the Washington Nationals top prospect, Bryce Harper, made his major league debut. At the age of 19, Harper was called up from Triple-A Syracuse because of an injury to Ryan Zimmerman. Never has there been a player with as much hype surrounding him as Harper. On Saturday April 28, 2012, he made his debut batting 7th and starting in left field. Harper got his first major league hit in the seventh, lining a double to centerfield. He also gave the Nationals the lead with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning for his first career RBI. The Nationals ended up losing the game 4-3, but even with the loss, Nationals fans and other baseball fans were excited about the potential career Harper could have.
While the team has only played .500 baseball through its last 10 games, the Washington Nationals remain atop the National League East, tied with the Atlanta Braves with a 14-8 record before their final April game on Monday. Stephen Strasburg has bounded back strongly from surgery last season and has put together a 1.13 ERA through his first five starts, as well as 34 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched. Called up this past weekend for his first stint in the big leagues, rookie phenom Bryce Harper went 2-6 with a double, walk and a sacrifice fly. The Nationals hope that Harper can provide them with an added boost to keep themselves at the top of the division.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the young 2012 Major League season is that of the Washington Nationals. The team is currently 12-4 and in first place of the highly competitive National League East. Outfielder Jayson Werth has led the offensive fight with a .322 batting average, while the pitching staff has been paced with strong starts from Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman. Strasburg is 2-0 with a 1.08 earned run average and 25 strikeouts, while Zimmerman boasts a 1.29 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP through three starts. The team will have a big series against the NL West-leading Dodgers this weekend.
The Washington Nationals have high hopes for the 2012 season after a speedy recovery from young phenom Stephen Strasburg has invigorated the young team to a 3-2 start on the season. After completing his rehab from Tommy John surgery, Strasburg went 7 innings on Opening Day, allowing only one run and striking out five through 82 pitches. Offensively, the team has been paced by first basemen Adam LaRoche, who has hit 2 home runs and driven in 6 runs through the team's first five games. The Nationals begin series against the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds this week, looking to improve upon their good start.
Washington Nationals Tickets - Team History
Washington Nationals Tickets allow fans the unique opportunity to experience history in the making. After the team was relocated to the District from Montreal, the team found a temporary home in nearby RFK Stadium. The club has since made the move to Nationals Park, a ballpark that carries the distinction of being the first LEED-certified green major professional sports stadium in the United States. Although the Nationals only celebrated their first season in Washington a short five seasons ago, the club has already made strides towards becoming a perennial divisional contender. Watch as the Washington Nationals build their legacy in the Nation's Capital.
Washington Nationals Tickets - Season Info
It's been tough sledding during the Washington Nationals early years, but the team looks to take big steps forward in the NL East in 2011. Back-to-back No. 1 overall picks and future stars Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper compliment All Stars Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. Werth and the Nationals agreed to a seven year deal worth $126 million in December, bolstering a line up that saw slugger Adam Dunn leave in free agency. Solid contributions from these much improved pitching and hitting lineups could be just what the Nats need to move into contention.
Washington Nationals Tickets - Ticket Information
Washington Nationals tickets ensure that fans see the Nationals playing top contenders throughout the entire MLB season. The Nationals have their work cut out for them in a tough National League East. With matchups with great teams like the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies and non-divisional meetings with the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals early in the 2011 season, the Nationals will need a strong start. Be a part of Nats Town and don't miss the action!
Washington Nationals Schedule & Key Dates
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NATIONALS SCORES9 wins, 7 losses (56.3%)
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