Washington Nationals News
8-31-15: Doug Fister, who won his fifth game of the season on Sunday, picked up the pieces after Stephen Strasburg’s frustrating start against the visiting Miami Marlins. Strasburg allowed four runs in four innings, but Fister relieved him and pitched two scoreless frames. Jason Werth and Clint Robinson each homered in the 7-4 rubber game win.
8-28-15: The Washington Nationals began this week by taking a peek into their future when the team purchased the contract of shortstop Trea Turner. This move likely sends a huge message to free agent to be Ian Desmond since the team did not need to give Turner a 40 man roster spot to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft this winter. The team is set to lose a ton of key players in key positions over the next couple of winters and by this move it looks like the first player to go elsewhere will be Desmond. Turner was a Top 20 prospect in Major League Baseball at the time of the call up after slashing .314/.353/.431 with 14 stolen bases in 205 Triple-A at bats. Turner was called up to help a reeling Nationals team that has seen a huge chunk of their core players struggle this season including Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Ian Desmond among others. One player that has not struggled this season for the Nationals is Drew Storen but the fact that the team acquired closer Jonathan Papelbon and inserted him into the 9th inning the team will likely trade Storen this winter. Storen has all but asked for a trade since being moved into the 8th inning role and the Nationals are likely to give into his wishes and demands before the 2016 season.
8-24-15: The Nationals moved back to above .500 on Sunday with their 9-5 victory over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers. Washington’s offense was led by Anthony Rendon’s three-run home run and Danny Espinosa’s three-run double. They made up for Jordan Zimmermann, who threw 5.2 innings, had a throwing error and allowed four runs.
8-21-15: The Washington Nationals may already be preparing for life after Ian Desmond as the team started the week off praising their top second base prospect Trea Turner. Desmond is slated to be a free agent after the season and while the team has at least remained open to a new contract or contract extension the team is also prepared to hand the second base reigns to the 65th best prospect in all of Major League Baseball. Turner has done well this season and earned all the attention he is receiving after posting a .306/.349/.422 for Triple-A Syracuse this season. One man that can be credited with how well Turner has done as a professional baseball player is Nationals director of player development Doug Harris and his successes with the team may make him one of the front runners for the general manager position of the Milwaukee Brewers. Harris may be the first domino to fall if the team continues to lose, play under the .500 mark and continue to fall in the National League East Division despite a huge payroll. The window is closing on this team and for current GM Mike Rizzo as the team expects to see a ton of turnover this winter and in the winters to come with key positional players hitting free agency and testing the open market.
8-19-15: Washington’s bats came alive on Tuesday in Colorado to end the Nationals’ six-game losing streak. They scored 15 runs and evened their record at 59-59 on the season. Yunel Escobar went 3-for-4 with his ninth home run of 2015. Ryan Zimmerman broke out of a 0-for-17 slump to collect two hits, two walks and two runs batted in as a part of the nine-run win.
8-14-15: The Washington Nationals have dealt with more injuries than almost every single team in Major League Baseball in 2015 and it has contributed to the team falling out of first place in the National League East division. With the team now trailing the New York Mets in the division and dealing with various injuries including one to their everyday center fielder Denard Span the team went out and acquired some depth there. The team announced the signing of Tony Campana to a minor league deal this week that will run through the 2016 season. The clause that gives Campana a roster spot in 2016 is especially important for the speedy center fielder as Span is set to hit free agency as soon as the 2015 season is over and the World Series champion is crowned. Campana has spent each of the last four seasons in the Major Leagues with the Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim slashing .249/.296/.288 in 477 plate appearances combined. Campana is not here for his offense though, he is likely to fill the speedy pinch runner role that can steal a base or score from first base on a double that becomes extremely important in September and October games around the league.
8-7-15: The Washington Nationals began this week showing off their newest players on the roster Jonathan Papelbon who was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies to be the team’s closer not only in 2015 but 2016 as well. Papelbon will replace Drew Storen as the team’s closer despite a very impressive set of numbers for the incumbent right-hander. Storen’s struggles have not been in the regular season though, they have come when the calendar changes to October, which may be the reason for acquiring Papelbon’s services. The way the team has dealt with Papelbon and Storen has led to manager Matt Williams potentially being on the hot seat in Washington. Williams is not a team manager and is said to not be a popular manager on a club that is struggling to keep pace with the surging New York Mets in the National League East division. The way Williams has managed his bullpen, specifically with Papelbon and Storen, has been questionable as both pitchers have entered games with five-run deficits in recent weeks. Speaking of the Nats bullpen the team has decided to move right-handed starting pitcher Doug Fister to the bullpen in hopes of him figuring out his season-long struggles this season.
8-7-15: Ian Desmond and Clint Robinson each homered on Thursday against the visiting Diamondbacks, and the Nationals won, 8-3, to split the series with Arizona. Joe Ross threw six innings of one-run ball in the victory. Washington hosts the Colorado Rockies over the weekend before traveling to California to take on the Dodgers and Giants.
8-3-15: The Nationals bolstered their bullpen before the non-waiver trade deadline, as they sent minor league pitcher Nick Pivetta to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Jonathan Papelbon and cash. Washington’s new closer got the save in Thursday’s 1-0 win over the Miami Marlins, but the Nationals’ offense struggled over the weekend, as the New York Mets swept them.
7-31-15: The Washington Nationals came into this final week before the July 31st trading deadline as big time buyers in the market. The Nationals watched as the New York Mets, the second place team in the National League East Division race, shored up their bullpen with Tyler Clippard and their bench and infield with Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe but Washington instead looked to reel in a big fish. Washington began the week talking with the San Diego Padres about their closer Craig Kimbrel, although the Toronto Blue Jays and the Houston Astros will likely be stiff competition for Kimbrel’s services if he is moved. The Nationals were not done there though as the team also struck a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies to bring in closer Jonathan Papelbon despite the fact that the team had Drew Storen closing games for them. Papelbon went to Washington and immediately demanded to be the closer there while Double-A right-hander Nick Pivetta went back to Philadelphia in the trade. Papelbon will also see his deal for the 2016 season picked up by Washington for $2 million less than what he was originally slated to make. $3 million of the $11 million that Papelbon is set to make in 2016 will be deferred to the 2017 season when Papelbon is expected to hit free agency. It will be interesting to see who picks up Papelbon in 2017 as he continues his quest to pass Mariano Rivera on the all-time saves list in Major League Baseball.
7-27-15: As the Nationals attempted to gain a split of their four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Michael Taylor hit a solo home run to score the first run of Sunday’s game at PNC Park. However, after Taylor touched home plate in the third inning, the Nationals failed to score for the rest of the game, as they fell, 3-1. Washington gets a day off on Monday before facing the Marlins in Miami the next day.
7-24-15: The Washington Nationals may be the best team in the National League East Division race in 2015, and it’s not even close, but that does not mean the team is going to stand pat at the July 31st trading deadline. The Nationals are instead looking to add to the team to compete with the other juggernauts in the National League including the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Washington is looking to improve their infield and have looked at Ben Zobrist of the Oakland Athletic specifically for second base. The Nationals will have some stiff competition for Zobrist though as the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates are all said to be interested in the utility man’s services. The Nationals GM Mike Rizzo believes that no trade he makes could be better than what the team will receive when all their players get healthy and get off the disabled list including infielder Anthony Rendon, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
7-22-15: The Nationals will look to finish their six-game homestand with a victory with the Mets today so that they can end it with a 3-3 record. Each of the first two contests of Washington’s series with the New York Mets finished with the score, 7-2. Tuesday’s loss by the Nationals was their third in their last four games. Wilson Ramos broke out of a 0-for-12 slump to homer in the loss.
7-17-15: The Washington Nationals started their week off by signing their third round pick from the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft Rhett Wiseman. Wiseman was drafted and signed to a $554.1K bonus deal by Washington with the hopes of immediately starting his professional career in the Nationals farm system. The Nationals also learned before the All-Star Game this week that center fielder Denard Span was headed back to the disabled list after Span had been dealing with some back tightness. Span joins Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth, Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list for the Nationals leaving you to wonder just how the team continues to play so well and stay in first place. The team will presumably be forced into the trading deadline market this July due to all the injuries and has already had teams of scouts following around a veteran from the Seattle Mariners, Hasishi Iwakuma. Iwakuma has been oft-injured in 2015 but has been solid overall in his major league career making him attractive to any team that may need to add a reliable back of the rotation type starter this July. Whether the Mariners will admit defeat and begin to sell of pieces may be the only thing that keeps Iwakuma in a Seattle Mariners uniform.
7-13-15: All-Star Max Scherzer started for the Nationals on Sunday, so he will not be able to pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. He threw 8.2 innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts for his 10th win of the season. With their 3-2 victory on Sunday, the Nationals finished their last series before the break with two wins against the Baltimore Orioles.
7-8-15; All-star Bryce Harper, who has elected to skip the home run derby because his father will not be able to pitch to him this time around, was hitting well until the Cincinnati Reds came to town. He went 1-for-6 with a single in those two Nationals losses to the Reds. In Washington’s 46 wins in 2015, he has an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.454, but he has an OPS of .855 in the team’s losses. Meanwhile, Stephen Strasburg is back on the disabled list after suffering a left oblique strain.
6-30-15: The first-place Astros made it two consecutive victories with their 6-1 win on Monday. Lance McCullers threw seven innings of one-run ball. In the third inning, Jose Altuve hit his seventh home run of the season. Chris Carter then slugged his 14th home run to give Houston its sixth run of the game.
6-17-15: On Tuesday, the Nationals moved to three games above .500 with their third victory in their last four games. Tanner Roark threw seven innings of one-run ball, and Washington’s offense exploded. Every Nationals started tallied at least one hit and one run in their 16-4 victory in St. Petersburg, Florida.
6-5-15: The Washington Nationals lost their ace this week when the team placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15 day disabled list with a stiff neck. Strasburg has battled neck and back injuries and discomfort for much of this season including a similar bout with the same issue on the opposite side of his body less than three weeks ago. Possibly in a move that could help bridge the gap until the return of Strasburg the team acquired P.J. Walters from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations. This will mark the fourth team, and third team in the major leagues, that Walters has pitched for in the 2015 season. The Washington Nationals have already inquired about acquiring the super utility player from Oakland with the hopes of plugging Zobrist in at left field until Jayson Werth returns from the disabled list with his wrist fractures. When Werth returns the team would be able to plug Zobrist in all over the diamond keeping their regulars healthy while adding much needed versatility to a National League team. What the Athletics would be asking in return in a potential Zobrist trade remains to be seen but Billy Beane should have plenty of interest this July for him allowing him to skyrocket the price.
6-1-15: The Nationals had a very frustrating weekend, as the Cincinnati Reds swept them, and
Washington placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list with neck tightness. In addition, the Nationals found that Jayson Werth has two fractures in his wrist and is likely out until August. However, they will look to stop their three-game losing streak, as they begin a seven-game homestand.
5-30-15: The Washington Nationals have enjoyed a historic start to the 2015 season from 22 year old outfielder Bryce Harper and have ridden the start all the way back into first place in the National League East division. Harper has picked up the slack left behind from the absence of Jayson Werth after the veteran outfielder was placed on the disabled list earlier in the season. Werth was diagnosed with multiple wrist fractures and will be out of action until at least August of this season with the injury. Werth was hit by a pitch on his left wrist in a game on May 15th where the pair of fractures presumably happened. The team and Werth were not aware of the fracture until later in the week when the team had their outfielder head over for an MRI on the ailing wrist. Without Werth the team will continue to rely on prospect Michael A. Taylor and Denard Span along with Harper while the team could also call up any of Tyler Moore, Clint Robinson and Nate McLouth.
5-25-15: The Nationals started yet another series on a good note with their 2-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Monday. Behind home runs by Denard Span and Wilson Ramos, Washington won its eighth game in nine tries. Everything seems to be going right for the Nationals, as they have scored only 12 runs in their last five games, but four of which have been wins.
5-18-15: On Sunday, the Nationals scored double-digit runs for the second time in their four-game series with the San Diego Padres. They won the contest, 10-5, behind yet another Bryce Harper home run, as they won the series and moved to 22-17 on the season. Stephen Strasburg, who said he is in the midst of fixing mechanical issues, threw five innings of three-run ball with seven strikeouts on Sunday.
5-12-15: The Nationals scored four runs in the first inning and six runs in the second, as they cruised to an 11-1 victory to win their fifth straight contest. Yunel Escobar went 5-for-5 and National League Player of the Week Bryce Harper drove in yet another run. Max Scherzer threw seven innings of one-run ball.
5-5-15: The Nationals matched their season-best three-game winning streak for the second time within a week, as they defeated the Miami Marlins, 6-4, on Monday. This win came after Washington won three of four games against the New York Mets. With a fourth win in a row, the Nationals would get their record back to .500.
4-29-15: On Tuesday, the Nationals recalled right-handed starting pitcher A.J. Cole from Triple-A Syracuse to start in the place of Max Scherzer, who has been dealing with a thumb issue. Although Cole gave up nine runs, four of which were earned, in two innings in his Major League Baseball debut, Washington made a tremendous comeback behind home runs by Jose Lobaton, Denard Span and Dan Uggla. The Nationals ended their six-game losing streak by defeating the Atlanta Braves, 13-12.
4-20-15: Denard Span returned from the 15-day disabled list and scored a run in the Nationals’ 4-1 victory, as Washington won its first series of the season. Stephen Strasburg threw 7.1 innings of one-run ball. Last week, Matt Williams said that Craig Stammen was diagnosed with a flexor tear. The 31-year-old righty could miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery.
4-7-15: On Sunday, the Nationals placed both Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 27. Although Bryce Harper hit his third career Opening Day home run on Monday, Ian Desmond committed two errors, which both led to runs. Max Scherzer pitched well, but Washington lost the contest, 3-1.
4-2-15: On Monday, the Cubs reassigned third baseman Kris Bryant and shortstop Addison
Russell to minor league camp and optioned shortstop Javier Baez to Triple-A Iowa. Theo Epstein elected to delay Bryant’s service time, so the star prospect will be back in a Major League Baseball uniform in mid-April. Meanwhile, Chicago purchased the contract of left-handed relief pitcher Phil Coke from Iowa.
3-25-15: On Friday, Stephen Strasburg twisted his left ankle in conditioning drills, and this forced
him to miss Sunday’s start. He is very close to rejoining the Washington rotation and
should be ready for the regular season. In other pitching news, the Nationals released
right-handed relief pitcher Health Bell, who was a non-roster invitee to spring training.
3-4-15: The Nationals signed a couple players to minor league contracts recently. On Monday, they struck a deal, including an invitation to spring training, with former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. In addition, last Friday, they signed journeyman left-handed pitcher Rich Hill, who was with two American League franchises last year, and invited him to spring training.
3-1-15: Bryce Harper looks to be ready for 2015 after struggling last season. He arrived at spring training with just seven percent body fat and at his lowest weight since college after being at 225 pounds last season. Meanwhile, the Nationals exercised Matt Williams’ club option for 2016. The National League Manager of the Year Award winner led Washington to 96 wins, the team’s second-most in a season in franchise history.
2-17-15: Last week, the Nationals announced their 2015 non-roster invitees. Right-handed pitcher
Heath Bell and second baseman Dan Uggla headlined the list. Washington also lost an arbitration hearing last Wednesday. Left-handed relief pitcher Jerry Blevins was awarded $2.4 million for 2015. In addition, early last week, outfielder Jayson Werth completed his five-day jail sentence in Fairfax County, Virginia.
2-11-15: On Saturday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said that the struggling Danny
Espinosa, who has been a switch-hitter for most of his life, is going to hit only from the
right side of the plate in 2015. Last week, the Nationals also signed former Blue Jays
pitcher Casey Janssen to a one-year, $3.5 million deal plus a $7 million mutual option for 2016.
10-14-14: The Washington Nationals had the best record in the National League in 2014 and drew the winner of the NL Playoff Game in the San Francisco Giants. Washington finally got a chance to see their ace Stephen Strasburg in a postseason game but the results were not as they had hoped for. Washington lost the game as Strasburg was shaky and went on to lose the second game of the NLDS to end the week on the brink of elimination. Washington is now preparing to head out on the road and into San Francisco for the remainder of the NLDS hoping to return home for a deciding Game Five in the series.
In Game Three of the NLDS San Francisco headed home looking for the sweep of the Washington Nationals. The Giants sent their ace Madison Bumgarner to the mound to face off against the Nationals Doug Fister in what turned out to be an old fashioned pitcher’s duel. The game was scoreless heading into the seventh inning when Asdrubal Cabrera knocked in two and Bryce Harper added a third run to put Washington up 3-0. Bumgarner’s night was done after the 7th inning as he finished with 7.0 innings pitched and three runs allowed, two earned, while Fister finished with 7.0 shutout innings of his own. Bryce Harper added a 9th inning home run off Jean Machi while Brandon Crawford added a ninth inning RBI that was too little too late as the game ended with Washington winning 4-1. Washington forced a Game Four while San Francisco still led the series 2-1 in the best of five set.
In Game Four San Francisco tried to finish the series at home and wanted to avoid heading back to Washington for a decisive fifth game by sending Ryan Vogelson to the mound. Washington looked to send the series home and keep their World Series hopes alive by sending Gio Gonzalez to the mound in a must win game for the Nats. This was another pitcher’s duel as Gonzalez went 4.0 innings allowing two runs, none earned, before handing the ball to the Washington bullpen. Harper doubled in a run in the 5th inning to pull within 2-1 and Bryce added a solo home run in the 7th inning off Giants reliever Hunter Strickland to tie the game for the Nationals. Washington handed the ball to Matt Thornton for the bottom of the 7th and he immediately gave up the lead on a Gregor Blanco RBI single to give San Francisco a 3-2 lead heading into the 8th inning. Sergio Romo pitched a perfect 8th inning for the Giants setting up San Francisco’s closer Santiago Casilla to pitch the 9th inning looking for the series clinching victory. Casilla made things interested with a 9th inning walk but struck out another batter in a 3-2 Giants victory. San Francisco won the NLDS 3-1 and headed to the NLCS to take on the St. Louis Cardinals.
Washington will head home as manager Matt Williams and company have a lot to go over and evaluate after another disappointing trip to the postseason. The Nationals now face many important decisions including what to do with the likes of Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, and Adam LaRoche.
10-7-14: The Washington Nationals won the National League East division title this season and drew the Wild Card Playoff winning San Francisco Giants in the National League Division Series. San Francisco was fresh off their victory and blowout of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card round and looked to extend their eight game playoff winning streak in Washington. There was not a single Nationals ticket not sold for this game as the fans filed into Nationals Park for what was scheduled to be a pitcher’s duel five game set. The Game One matchup put the Nats ace Stephen Strasburg up against the revived Jake Peavy for the Giants. The media surrounded Strasburg as he made his first postseason start of his young career and in his first contest lasted 5.0 innings allowing two runs, one earned, while striking out just two. Peavy countered with 5.2 IP of shutout baseball of his own while striking out and walking three batters each. Peavy handed the ball to his recently reliable bullpen and the combination of Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, and Santiago Casilla combined for 2.1 IP of shut out baseball. The only hiccup for the Giants pen was the pair of solo home runs that reliever Hunter Strickland served up to Bryce Harper and Asdrubal Cabrera. San Francisco took an early lead in the series by winning the game 3-2 and taking a 1-0 series lead over Washington. The Giants also extended their playoff winning streak to nine straight games.
In Game Two the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants played one of the longest games in postseason history as the fans were entertained by nine innings of free baseball during this 18 inning campaign. The game started with Jordan Zimmerman starting for the Nationals and Tim Hudson starting for the Giants and ended with a Tanner Roark loss and a Hunter Strickland save in a San Francisco 2-1 victory to take a 2-0 series lead. Washington held a 1-0 lead in the contest until the ninth inning when Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval tied the game with a two out RBI single scoring second baseman Joe Panik off Zimmerman who was searching for the complete game shutout. Hudson was off the hook for a loss he did not deserve after pitching 7.1 innings of one run ball striking out eight Nationals players. As the game headed into the Top of the 18th inning the Giants sent first baseman Brandon Belt to the plate and he connected with a solo home run off Roark making Yusmeiro Petit the winning pitcher for the Giants. Washington could not get anything going in the bottom of the 18th and fell to the Giants digging a bigger hole in the series. Washington will now have to win three games in a row if they want to reach the National League Championship Series.
10-1-14: The Nats are getting no love heading into the postseason. Washington cruised to the top seed in the NL and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. What makes Washington dangerous entering October is the fact that they have three staff's aces. The Nats have Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, and Doug Fister to round out the top three of their rotation. Strasburg has a 20-inning scoreless streak heading into the postseason. They will play the winner of the Pirates/Giants wildcard game in the NLDS.
9-30-14: The Washington Nationals current first baseman Adam LaRoche feels like it may be time to move on from the team after the 2014 season. It is well known that the Nationals will likely want to make room for Ryan Zimmerman at first base with the emergence of Anthony Rendon at third base. LaRoche has a $15 million club option for next season and if that is declined he would instantly become one of the better free agents available on the market this winter. The Nationals went into the 2014 postseason the way every team wants to, on a hot streak. On the final game of the season Nats starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman threw a no hitter, the first in the franchise’s history since moving to Washington from Montreal in a 1-0 victory over the Miami Marlins. Coincidentally it was the Marlins and today’s starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez that threw a no hitter on the final day of the 2013 season. There is always that one amazing play that saves the no hitter and that play came on the last out of the game from left fielder Steven Souza. Souza entered the game as a defensive replacement for Ryan Zimmerman and ultimately saved the no hitter with an amazing catch on a ball that looked to be over his head and out of his reach. Washington finished the 2014 season with a 96-66 record and won the National League East division title.
9-25-14: The Nationals have taken full advantage of how awful the NL East is this season, posting a 41-29 in-division record on the year. They added to that with series wins against the Braves and Marlins last week. They remain the most complete team in the NL heading into the postseason. Their rotation is as good as any in baseball. The Nats have a 2.5-game lead over the Dodgers for the best record in the NL, and they'll look to lock down home field with two more games at home against the Mets. They finish up the season with a four-game series against the Marlins at home.
9-23-14: The Washington Nationals clinched a playoff spot this week as the team will head to the postseason in manager Matt William’s first season as the club’s skipper. Washington has also agreed to a minor league deal with son of former Phillies legend Lenny Dykstra when the team agreed to a one year deal with Cutter Dykstra this week. One member of the Nationals minor league system that will not be joining Dykstra is Eury Perez as he was designated for assignment by the team this week to make room for recently claimed Pedro Florimon. Florimon was an infielder in the Minnesota Twins organization and is likely to be more of an option for the 2015 season rather than this season for Washington. Florimon would not be eligible for the postseason this year since he was acquired after the August 31st trading deadline. Perez had missed a big chunk of the 2014 season with a fractured toe but had recently been activated off the 60 day DL. Perez was ranked as the Nationals 20th best prospects before the season and finished the year with a .310/.371/.409 triple slash with 26 stolen bases. It will be unlikely that Perez, who currently plays at Triple-A, will clear waivers and return to the Nationals this week. Perez used his last option this year and is currently blocked in Washington by Denard Span, Michael Taylor, and Brian Goodwin among others in the outfield.
9-18-14: With the Orioles celebrating a division crown an hour north of Washington in Baltimore, the Nats were busy collecting their second division title in three seasons. Tanner Roark pitched seven strong innings of shutout ball, while Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen preserved the win. Ian Desmond homered deep into the Turner Field seats Tuesday night as Washington is heading back to the postseason.
9-16-14: The Washington Nationals have moved Rafael Soriano out of their closer role and have no intentions of moving him back any time soon. Soriano has been tinkering with his mechanics as of late but has yet to instill much faith from manager Matt Williams. Whether Soriano’s $15 million vesting option for the 2015 season has anything to do with the Nationals actions or whether Drew Storen is just that good remains to be seen. Washington is likely to decline their club option for Soriano anyway if the option does not vest so he is very likely to reach free agency after the 2014 season. Even with the struggles of Soriano the Nationals have been able to open up a 10.5 game lead over the second place Atlanta Braves in the AL East division and currently have an 85-63 record on the season. Washington will look to clinch a playoff spot and NL East division championship next week with a couple victories and a few Atlanta Braves losses.
9-12-14: The Nationals remain the NL’s best team despite dropping a series to the Phillies this past weekend. The team has cooled off a bit since its 10-game winning streak in August, going 9-8 in its last 17 games, but it still looks to have as complete a roster as any team in baseball. Adam LaRoche getting hot which will help the offense and the starting rotation is one of the best in the majors. Their bullpen is a bit of a concern, but they should be ready to make a deep postseason run.
9-9-14: The Washington Nationals have been consistent all season long offensively and on the mound which explains why the team has a commanding lead in the NL East division. The entire starting lineup, including the oft injured Ryan Zimmerman, has hit above league average this season as the team has quietly had one of the better offensives in all of baseball in 2014. Speaking of Zimmerman his hamstring tear is improving and a mid to late September return is looking likely for Washington. The return of Zimmerman will cause major problems in Washington as Adam LaRoche, Anthony Rendon, Asdrubal Cabrera, and the rest of the Nationals infield has played extremely well. The Nationals depth may force Zimmerman to bounce around the field when he returns playing left field, third base, and first base giving manager Matt Williams regulars some much needed rest before the postseason.
9-4-14: A sweep at the hands of the Phillies last week snapped a 12-1 streak for the Nationals. So far,
they’ve split two games with the Dodgers this week and wrap up the week with a three game
series against the Phillies. Washington is the best all-around team in the NL heading into the
month of September.
9-2-14: The Washington Nationals are running away with the NL East division race leading the Atlanta Braves by six games at the end of the week. Washington has been coasting a bit in the division and has gone 5-5 in their last 10 games to keep pace at the top. Washington has gotten the most out of their trade with the Cleveland Indians that sent Zach Walters and Jose Ramirez to Cleveland for Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera has played a stellar second base for the Nationals, although his bat has left something to be desired, and Washington has not missed the production of Walters or the defense of Ramirez just yet. Washington has a 99.4% chance of making the postseason according to MLB.com and the team has one of the highest run differentials in all of baseball with a +106 making this team a team to be reckoned with when the postseason starts up next month.
8-27-14: At 15-5 in their last 20 games, the Nationals are the hottest team in baseball right now. That span included a 10-game winning streak and a stretch with five walk-off wins in six games. That’s incredible to think about. They have dropped two straight games to the lowly Phillies, but they are simply finding ways to win games as of late. That will only help them come October. Their 7.5 game lead over the Braves is the largest division lead in baseball right now, and they currently have the best record in the NL.
8-26-14: The Washington Nationals have announced that outfielder Nate McLouth will miss the remainder of the 2014 season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. McLouth signed a two year deal with Washington this offseason worth $10.75 million with a third year club option worth $6.5 million. In response the Nationals signed former Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz to a minor league deal and stashed him in Triple-A for the time being. One player that is no longer with the team is Carlos Pena who was released this week from his minor league contract after struggling with the Rangers in the big leagues and in Triple-A in 2014. The Nationals currently sit at 75-54 and have a commanding eight game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the National League East division.
8-20-14: The Nationals are in cruise control in the NL East thanks to the Atlanta Braves' rough patch over the last two weeks or so. They beat the Diamondbacks on Tuesday and have a six-game lead in the standings. They played great down the stretch last season going 18-9 in September, and they look poised for another late-season surge. This time, though, they need to make the most of the postseason.
8-19-14: The Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles are in the middle of a small legal battle this week over the MASN television network. Both teams are laying claims to the majority of the television network and the Orioles are fighting the roughly $55 million annually that was awarded to the Nationals in a previous court hearing over the network. A litigator ruled that, at least for now, the Nationals could not ask for more rights and fees associated with MASN but this may become a drawn out legal battle before it’s all said and done. All and all the on the field product in Washington remains strong as the team has a commanding six game lead in the division over the Atlanta Braves with a 69-53 record. The Nats are hot sporting a 8-2 record in their last 10 games while Atlanta has only gone 6-4 in that same span.
8-13-14: The Nationals were beaten by Atlanta head-to-head over the weekend, but thanks to the Braves' recent slide after that series, the Nats hold a five game lead in the NL East standings. Even with Bryce Harper struggling mightily, Ryan Zimmerman injured and both Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg pitching below expectations, Washington still looks like one of the best teams in the National League. The Nats have split with the Mets this week and wrap up the week with a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
8-12-14: The Washington Nationals have acquired left handed relief specialist Matt Thornton from the New York Yankees in an August revocable waiver trade. The Nats claimed the southpaw off waivers and were allowed to take Thornton for his contract which equates to roughly $4.5 million for this season and next. This will likely take the Nationals out of the Neal Cotts sweepstakes as they showed interest in the Texas Rangers reliever earlier in the month. The Nationals also tried to acquire Andrew Miller at the deadline from the Boston Red Sox and may have finally got that final piece to their bullpen for the playoff push. The Nationals have been patient with center fielder Bryce Harper through all the speculations that the 21 year old should be sent down to Triple-A to figure out his swing. Manager Matt Williams quickly shot down any speculation that this was the direction the team was heading in and was angered by the remarks.
8-6-14: Nationals’ lefty Gio Gonzalez gave up four runs and six hits over six plus innings of work as the Nats were soundly defeated by the Mets 6-1 Tuesday night. There should be concern in Washington right now. The Nats do have a three game lead in NL East over the struggling Braves, but the Marlins are charging hard and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who is on the DL since injuring his right hamstring July 22, has a grade-three strain and could miss six weeks.
8-5-14: The Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles are in the middle of a dispute over the jointly owned Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. The jointly owned television channel has been heavily disputed by both teams and the battle will head to litigation. Even with the distractions off the field the team continues to produce on the field as Washington leads the NL East division by 3.5 games over the Atlanta Braves. The Nats got some reinforcements at the July 31st trading deadline when they added Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians for infielder Zach Walters. The trade made some people around the league scratch their head as Walters has a big bat and is an infielder that could have helped place the injured Ryan Zimmerman but many in the Nationals organization think he was blocked on his way to the major leagues. Cabrera is a free agent at the end of the season and will try and solidify the Nationals infield for the rest of the season.
7-30-14: The Washington Nationals are starting to put some space between them and the second place Atlanta Braves in the NL East division even after losing third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to another DL stint. Zimmerman was placed on the 15 day DL with a hamstring injury that will force Anthony Rendon back to third base and Danny Espinosa back to second base. Washington approached the Texas Rangers about the availability of their third baseman Adrian Beltre and were quickly turned down before talks got off the ground. The Nationals need a left handed pitcher in their bullpen and have been linked to the Boston Red Sox lefty Andrew Miller. Boston announced they are shopping Miller this week so the Nationals may be the most aggressive suitor for Miller this season.
7-28-14: The Nationals are looking very good as they moved back atop the National League East. Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond led the offense to a successful week. Unfortunately, the team placed Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain, and Stephen Strasburg has struggled on the road this season, as he suffered yet another loss away from home on Wednesday.
7-24-14: Adam LaRoche broke out of his awful July slump with a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning, Anthony Rendon had three hits and the Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 7-4 on Tuesday night. Nats third baseman Ryan Zimmerman left the game in the sixth inning with a strained right hamstring. Zimmerman missed 44 games with a fractured right thumb earlier this season. This was Washington’s fourth straight win and they increased their NL East Division lead to two games over Atlanta, which lost to the Marlins on Tuesday.
7-21-14: The Washington Nationals are enjoying the success of closer Rafael Soriano in 2014 and automatically get his services in 2015 if Soriano’s vesting option vests with 32 more games finished this season. If the option does not vest Soriano has publicly stated that he would be willing to sign an extension or another free agent deal with the Nationals to keep him in Washington. The Nationals also signed their first round pick from the 2014 draft in Erick Feede to a deal worth $2,511,100. This was the maximum amount the Nationals could give the Tommy John surgery victim without forfeiting future draft picks in the draft. In turn the Nationals will not be able to sign second rounder Andrew Suarez or ninth round pick Austin Byler to get the Feede deal done.
7-19-14: The Nationals are in a battle with the Atlanta Braves for the top of the National League East. If Washington cannot win the majority of the games that Stephen Strasburg starts, a divisional title will be difficult to get. Kyle Lohse outpitched Strasburg on Friday as the Nationals dropped the game to the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-2.
7-17-14: A series win against the Phillies last weekend pulled the Nationals into a tie atop the NL East standings heading into the break. They have dealt with a rash of injuries in the first half and could be poised for a nice second-half run if they stay healthy. Keeping Bryce Harper healthy will obviously be important. The Nats will need to add another lefty in the bullpen, but for the most part, Washington is as strong as it gets in the NL.
7-15-14: The Washington Nationals have had a pair of extensions rejected by second baseman Ian Desmond and are now said to be in the market for a young shortstop. The Nats have offered Desmond two separate seven year deals, the first being worth $85.5 million and the second worth $98 million, and were told no on both. The Nats will likely be willing to shop Desmond after this season. Not during the season in the middle of a pennant race, and could either ask the Chicago Cubs or Arizona Diamondbacks about their shortstop depth. The Nats could retain Desmond for the 2015 season at a reasonable salary and give a potential shortstop one more season of development before plugging him in a full time position. The Nats go into the break in a tie with the Atlanta Braves in the NL East with a 51-42 record. The Nats own the tiebreaker with the Braves so the division lead is theirs at the halfway point.
7-14-14: Although the Nationals have struggled recently, they have played better than the Atlanta Braves and are back atop the National League East. Washington played well against the Chicago Cubs, but lost two of three games against the Baltimore Orioles. In the final game of the Nationals’ series with the Orioles, Ian Desmond took a pitch off his right hand and was forced to sit out Friday night. Unfortunately, the injuries did not stop there as Jordan Zimmermann left Friday’s game with a right bicep cramp and will skip the All-Star Game.
7-10-14: Bryce Harper will have to wait at least one more day to break out of his slump after Tuesday night's game between the Nationals and Orioles was postponed by rain. The game was called following a delay of around 2 hours, 30 minutes. The matchup will be made up on Aug. 4. The teams will continue the home-and-home series in Baltimore on Wednesday night. Harper came into the game stuck in a 4-for-24 slump since his return from the disabled list on June 30. The Nats are tied for first-place in the NL East with Atlanta.
7-7-14: The Nationals have been looking very good recently, but they seem to not be able to figure out the Chicago Cubs. After Washington swept the Colorado Rockies, the team had an off day before hosting the Cubs for a morning start on July 4. Jason Hammel, who was recently traded to the Oakland Athletics, outpitched Tanner Roark to get Chicago the victory, but Jayson Werth did hit a home run for the second straight game.
7-3-14: Stephen Strasburg bounced back from his worst outing of the season with 7 2/3 strong innings of work Tuesday night as the Nationals' were victorious, 7-1, over the Colorado Rockies. Jayson Werth had two doubles and three RBIs for the Nats. Strasburg tied his career high by allowing seven earned runs in only 4 2/3 innings in his last start and was 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA over his last three starts. Not good numbers at all. Tuesday Strasburg struck out eight and walked one while giving up one. Washington is a ½ game back of Atlanta for the NL East lead.
7-2-14: The Washington Nationals have released former New York Yankee farm hand Christian Garcia after yet another less than stellar season. Garcia battled all the way back from a Tommy John surgery and even reached the majors in 2012 before battling another injury in 2013. Garcia missed the 2013 season with a torn flexor tendon and was pitching quite well in Triple-A before being released. The Nationals were leading the National League East division last week but have since handed the top spot back to the Atlanta Braves, at least for now, as these two teams go back and forth. The Nats are 43.38 and only a half-game behind the Braves for first place.
6-30-14: The Nationals, who are fighting with the Atlanta Braves for the top spot in the National League East, have hit a speed bump this past week. Their four-game winning streak ended on Wednesday in Milwaukee. Stephen Strasburg could not get much by the Brewers, so Milwaukee blew out Washington that afternoon. Then, the Nationals dropped the first two games of their series with the Chicago Cubs. However, Wilson Ramos is back from the disabled list, and he has continued to hit well.
6-26-14: Ryan Zimmerman’s two-run home run in the 16th inning lifted the Nationals to a 4-2 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night. Nationals’ fans and players must be happy Zimmerman ended the game because Washington manager Matt Williams told first baseman Adam LaRoche to get ready to pitch the bottom of the 16th had the game remained tied. Bryce Harper went 2 for 3 with a home run and four RBIs in his second rehab start for Potomac against Salem. That is a good sign for Nats’ fans. Washington has a slim two game lead on Atlanta in the NL East.
6-24-14; The Washington Nationals may end up trading Danny Espinosa after Bryce Harper comes back from his injury. The Nationals will have too many good players and not enough spots to play them all. Harper will return to centerfield and the Nats would move Ryan Zimmerman to third base, Anthony Rendon to second base, and keep Adam LaRoche at first base making Espinosa expendable. The Nationals are now leading the American League East after taking the top spot from the struggling Atlanta Braves and look to be getting hot and healthy just as the right time for the club.
6-18-14: Anthony Rendon doubled twice and drove in three runs, and the Nationals held on to open a six-game home stand with a 6-5 victory over the Houston Astros. The win also keeps Washington in first-place in the NL East. Ryan Zimmerman, who came into the game 9 for 50 since coming off the disabled list, added two doubles and two RBI. Some good news for Nationals fans is that Bryce Harper took two-handed swings Tuesday for the first time since injuring his left thumb back on April 25.
6-17-14: The Washington Nationals are posturing on the availability of center fielder Denard Span and first basemen Adam LaRoche quickly shooting down the idea that either will be available this trading deadline. The Nationals seemingly have to do something when Bryce Harper comes back to make room for Ryan Zimmerman, Harper, Span, Anthony Rendon, and LaRoche on the same team. The Nationals may be ready to add some pieces to this logjam as well as the trading deadline as they find themselves only a half-game behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East division and are fighting with the Miami Marlins for one of the Wild Card spots. The Nationals are playing worse than their run differential would suggest as the Nats currently have the second best run differential in the entire National League and are still barely above .500.
6-10-14: The Washington Nationals have basically come out and said that Ryan Zimmerman will be their starting first basemen for the club in 2015. Anthony Rendon has taken over at the hot corner due to the lingering shoulder issues with Zimmerman. The move makes sense getting both big bats in the lineup at once and takes some of the pressure and the wear and tear off Zimmerman’s right shoulder. The biggest loss may be that of another big bat in Adam LaRoche. The Nats have also thrown around the idea of keeping LaRoche and maximizing their offense while giving up a little bit on the defensive side of the ball and playing Zimmerman in left field. With the young and speedy Bryce Harper in center field he can make up for some of the lack of range Zimmerman is presumed to have. Placing Zimmerman in left field, Harper in center field, and Jayson Werth in right field would presumably make Denard Span and his $9 million in salary available via trade as soon as this offseason. The Nationals selected Erick Feede with their first pick in the 2014 MLB First Year Players Draft on Thursday. The Nats also drafted the first basemen and son of Cal Ripken Jr., Ryan Ripken, in the draft.
6-3-14: The Washington Nationals have been linked to UNLV starting pitcher Erick Fredde with their 18th overall pick in this year’s MLB First Year Player Draft. Fredde was a shoe in for a Top 10 selection before falling to Tommy John surgery. The Nationals seem willing to wait and rehab Fredde in hopes that he comes back better and stronger from the surgery. The Nationals have gotten much more than expected out of Anthony Rendon both with the bat and his glove at third base and have decided that injured Ryan Zimmerman will not only play third base when he comes back from his shoulder issues but will also play some innings at first base and in left field.
5-28-14: The Washington Nationals first basemen Tyler Moore may be on his way out of Washington as the Texas Rangers have shown interest in his since the news of Prince Fielder being gone for the remainder of the season. Nothing seems imminent at this point but the Rangers seem to be looking at every available first baseman to replace the All Star first basemen. Moore may be expendable in Washington now that Adam LaRoche has been activated off the 15 day disabled list. The Nats are searching for upgrades as consistency as they have dropped to third place in the National League East division behind the Atlanta Braves and the surprising Miami Marlins. The Nats will look to trade some of their bullpen depth, most notably Tyler Clippard or Ross Detwiler to upgrade at key offensive positions.
5-21-14: The Washington Nationals ace Gio Gonzalez has been roughed up in consecutive starts and has been placed on the 15 day DL with shoulder inflammation. The Nationals sparked some speculation this week when they had injured third basemen Ryan Zimmerman working out in left field, although any change of position was quickly shot down by the team and by Zimmerman himself. Nats manager Matt Williams indicated that Zimmerman was not ready to take grounders in the infield during batting practice just yet and he was moved to left field to work out to keep Zimmerman from getting stir crazy. Williams did work the media a little though by saying that in an emergency situation he would be more than comfortable and willing to use Zimmerman in the outfield.
5-15-14: The Washington Nationals have seen the Atlanta Braves struggle for the last two weeks of May baseball and have not been able to capitalize on the string of losses. The Nationals are in second place in the National League East division but are just 4-6 in their last 10 bass games. The Nationals have had their fair share of injuries though with Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos, Ryan Zimmerman, and Doug Fister most notably going down for disabled list stints this season. The Nationals have a very deep and an extremely consistent bullpen that has kept their heads above water. The bullpen has been so consistent that the Nationals are rumored to be willing to make Clippard available in trades this July for some offensive help.
5-7-14: The Washington Nationals are in an absolute dog fight for the crown of the National League East division right now with the first place Atlanta Braves. The Nats are looking to keep that longevity at the top by trying to lock up their starting pitching and have had little success lately. News broke that Washington tried to lock up Doug Fister to a long term extension after acquiring him this offseason and was turned down for a long term commitment. The Nats also tried to lock up Jordan Zimmerman long term this offseason but eventually settled on a two year deal that did not buy out any of his free agency years. Now the Nats are trying to survive the losses of Ryan Zimmerman to a shoulder injury and Bryce Harper with a thumb injury and still compete until their All Stars get back into action.
4-28-14: The Washington Nationals have had an up and down start to the 2014 season but look to be right in the thick of things in the National League East division. The Nats are over .500 after the first month of the season even though they lost their All Star third basemen Ryan Zimmerman for a considerable amount of time due to a shoulder injury. Luckily for Washington the Nationals have been enjoying a bounce back season from Danny Espinosa and have gotten good production from their new third basemen Anthony Rendon. The Nationals are enjoying typically good seasons from Stephen Strasburg, Tyler Clippard, Jordan Zimmerman, and Raphael Soriano and should be right in the discussion for the playoffs all season long.
4-21-14: The Washington nationals are off to a good start with a record of 11–8 and are +5 and run differential so far on the young season. The second-place nationals, will host the Los Angeles Angels this week for interleague play in his last outing Stephen Strasburg struck out nine Cardinals giving up only two runs. Unfortunately his efforts went unrewarded as he was given a no decision. Strassburg after being hammered by the Mets on opening day has struggled with an ERA over five. If you can somehow become consistent this season that would be a great weapon for the nationals later on in the season if they want to make the postseason push.
4-14-14: The Washington Nationals have been mediocre over the past week, while three straight losses have dropped them from a very nice 7-2 start to 7-5, where they are nestled into second place in the NL East. The week started positively, as the Nats took care of business in a three game series sweep over the Miami Marlins. Their next three losses came in a 0-3 series loss to the Atlanta Braves, however, as Washington’s pitching gave up a combined 23 runs. Star ace Stephen Strasburg leads the team with a blistering 28 strikeouts, but still has just one win in three tries.
4-7-14: The Nats had their bats swinging right from the get go in week one, as they took down the New York Mets in emphatic fashion, winning 9-7, 5-1 and 8-2 in a sweep of their first series of the year. Things got a little tougher when the bats died down at home against the Atlanta Braves, but the Nats were at least able to prevent a sweep by taking game three, 2-1. While Stephen Strasburg has yet to earn a win in 2014, he’s been on fire through two starts, racking up 16 strikeouts, but also giving up 10 earned runs. Despite the inconsistency from their ace, the Washington Nationals are still off to a solid 4-2 start after one week.
4-1-14: The Washington Nationals couldn’t get a win in nine innings in their first game of the 2014 MLB season, so they took care of business in the 10th, instead. Shortstop Ian Desmond hit a sacrifice fly in the final inning to cap a wild comeback bid to give the Nats a thrilling 9-7 opening day win over the New York Mets. Facing three deficits at different points of the game, the Nationals stormed back thanks to a two-out double by Denard Span in the ninth inning.
3-27-14: The Washington Nationals jumped on the opportunity to sign Kevin Frandsen after the Philadelphia Phillies outrighted him off the team and made the infielder a free agent. Ross Ohlendorf was placed on the 60 day disabled list to make room on the Nats 40 man roster for Frandsen after he signed a Major League contract worth $900K plus incentives. This signing came on the heels of the Nats releasing infielder Jamey Carroll and pitcher Chris Young. The team had lots of interest in trades for Young before they released the former New York Met. The time is now for the Nationals as Bryce Harper has added muscle and looks to be a legitimate MVP candidate for Washington in 2014. The Nationals will look to rebound with a healthy Stephen Strasburg and make a run at a National League East division and World Series title starting on Opening Day in 2014.
3-20-14: The Washington Nationals. The Nationals are a .500 team in the Grapefruit League this season but have a 3-7 record in the last 10 games which is never encouraging if you lose closer to Opening Day. Speaking of Opening Day, in no surprise to anyone, the Nationals have named Stephen Strasburgh as their starter for game one on March 31 against the New York Mets. Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman will follow with a couple "TBD" to follow. The Nats are still in the midst of a fifth starter competition and have aslready assigned Jordan Detwiler to the bullpen this season. The Nats also got in a little bit of trouble with the Federal Aviation Administration after using small drone planes to take pictures of their spring training facility without permission, whoops. Bryce Harper is bulked up and ready to smash home runs this season all the way to the World Series.
3-13-14: The Washington Nationals were one of the most disappointing teams from 2013 and are looking to be vastly improved in 2014. That improvement starts in the spring and the Nats have shown their Natitude with a strong record in the Grapefruit League thus far. The Nats have a very young and exciting team with Bryce Harper bulking up like a mad man after being booted from center field and the emergence of Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon to go with the addition of Doug Fister in the starting rotation. The Nationals have a real shot to contend and win the National League East title and earn a berth to the World Series if the pitching of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, and company can hold down the fort.