The Nationals

Nats Fall 6-2 in Series Finale vs Braves

Wednesday evening was a tough loss to swallow for Washington as the Nationals fell 6-2 against the Atlanta Braves during the series finale of their recent three-game set. Washington took two of three in the series and are eight games ahead of their division rival with a magic number of ten.

The Nats remained in good spirits despite the loss but are aware of the challenges that still lie ahead as the stakes get higher. “It’s nice to be able to win a series, be able to come out strong [and] really play good baseball these past couple days,” outfielder Bryce Harper said after the game. “You’ve got to go in to win ball games. If you don’t win the ballgames then something could happen. If you win ballgames then what you want to happen happens.”

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Haren Struggles Early, Nats Fall 4-2 to Miami in Game One of the Doubleheader

Nats Park
Nats Park
courtesy of Rukasu1

The Miami Marlins took an early lead against the Washington Nationals during game one of a split day-night doubleheader in DC on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, it was a lead the Nats couldn’t overcome. Washington fell 4-2 against Miami after a weak performance from right-handed starter Dan Haren in his last home start this season.

Haren threw 99 pitches and 64 strikes in six innings of work and gave up eight hits and three runs (two homeruns) while walking a batter and striking out five. Haren was charged with the loss and is now 9-14 for 2013.

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Ramos is A Hit Machine, Nats Beat Phillies 11-2

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DSC_5681
courtesy of MudflapDC

By the ninth inning of Sunday afternoon’s 11-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Washington Nationals fielded eight players who spend time at Triple-A Syracuse this season. It was a day where most everything went right for Washington, allowing Manager Davey Johnson to give some of the call-up kids a little playing time.

Right-handed starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven strong innings and gave up seven hits and two runs while walking two, striking out seven and hitting a batter on 102 pitches (65 strikes).

For as solid as Zimmermann once he got into a groove, the player of the game was catcher Wilson Ramos who made his 23rd consecutive start behind the dish. Ramos went four-for-four with three singles and a homerun. Continue reading

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Nats Crumble Versus Mets in an 11-3 Loss

A little class never hurt anyone
courtesy of Jano Silva DC

Starting pitcher right-hander Dan Haren had an incredibly rough night on Saturday when the Washington Nationals lost to the New York Mets 11-3. Haren lasted 2 and 2/3 innings and threw 57 pitches (41 strikes). The Mets managed nine hits and seven runs off Haren and struck out three times.

Despite a turnaround from his performance earlier this season, Haren seems to have struggled in his past two starts. But the loss isn’t in Haren’s hands entirely. Continue reading

Sports Fix, The Daily Feed, The Features

Strasburg Struggles, Nats Lose 8-2

Strasburg
courtesy of oddlittlebird.

What started out as a four inning pitching duel between former Nationals pitcher and current Chicago Cub Edwin Jackson and Washington’s Stephen Strasburg quickly turned in favor of Chicago due to a messy fifth inning performance from the young phenom. The Nats went on to lose the contest 8-2 on Saturday afternoon. The Cubs hit four unearned runs off of Strasburg in the fourth inning and four more earned runs off left-handed reliever Zach Duke in the fifth to win it.

Strasburg has struggled for the entirety of the 2013 season minus Opening Day. When he lets his emotions get the best of him – like he did Saturday – it’s easier to remember just how young he actually is. When Strasburg’s got his three pitches working for him, he’s a force to be reckoned with, but he’s still in the growing phase where he’s learning to deal with the adversity within the game itself. Manager Davey Johnson acknowledged that fact that the game.

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Tim Hudson Dominates The Nats Lineup, Braves Win 3-1

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courtesy of MudflapDC

The Nationals lineup was no match for Atlanta’s right-handed starter Tim Hudson who secured his second win of the season with a 3-1 Braves victory in Washington. The afternoon’s loss was Washington’s second in two days versus Atlanta.

An early throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman in the third inning cost Washington two runs when left fielder Justin Upton stole second ahead of catcher Evan Gattis’ two-out two-run homer. It wasn’t Stephen Strasburg’s strongest outing either, which didn’t help the Nats. Continue reading

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Nats Defense Blinded By The Sun, Brewers Win 6-2

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Curlicew “W” in the outfield
courtesy of randomduck

Defensive miscues in the outfield due to a standard case of sun-in-the-eyes came back to to haunt the Nats. That coupled with relieve pitcher Ryan Mattheus’ performance in the seventh inning Sunday afternoon’ is what lost Washington the game 6-2 versus Milwaukee. While it wasn’t a particularly poor outing for Mattheus, the Brewers mounted a three-run rally in the seventh that the Nats couldn’t come back from.

The game’s starter, Chien-Ming Wang, had a better day on the mound than his line (and the game’s results) indicate. Wang pitched four innings, giving up eight hits and two earned runs while striking out two over 69 pitches (47 strikes). Manager Davey Johnson was happy with the starter’s performance going on to say that could even see Wang getting at least one more start this season. Though, that is still to be determined.

During the hours of 2 and 3 p.m. a blinding light called the sun peers over the stadium façade directly into the eyes of center and right field. This is something that rookie outfielder Bryce Harper is still getting used to – he had a couple gaffs in the field due to losing fly balls mid-air. He’s still learning out there, Johnson said, but Harper wasn’t alone in his struggles. Continue reading

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Nats Set A New D.C. Home Run Record, Beat Cubs 11-5

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison
Adam LaRoche
courtesy of Keith Allison

The Washington Nationals took advantage of a young, less-than-mediocre Cubs pitching staff on Tuesday night when the team went on to beat Chicago 11-5. Manager Davey Johnson’s offensive lineup hit a franchise record six home runs off the Cubs, which is the most homeruns in a single home game by any Washington-based ballclub in baseball history.

Starting pitcher, right-hander Edwin Jackson also had quite the night on both sides of the game. He earned his ninth win of the year having pitched five and two-thirds innings. Jackson gave up seven hits, four earned runs, one walk, and struck out eight on 93 pitches (62 for strikes). Jackson also got in on the hitting action going 2-for-4 including a hit off Cubs rookie starter Chris Rusin. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Nats Fall 3-2 To Phillies

Photo courtesy of Matthew Straubmuller
Phillies vs Nationals 8/1/12
courtesy of Matthew Straubmuller

The Phillies beat Washington 3-2 Wednesday night due to a lack of run support. What Philadelphia did was take advantage of right-handed starter Edwin Jackson at the right times.

This was Jackson’s third career start against the Phillies, and while he has beaten them once before earlier this year, Wednesday was a different story. Jackson threw five and two-thirds innings and gave up eight hits, three earned runs, four walks (one intentional), three homeruns, and struck out six over 108 pitches (63 for strikes).

Wednesday wasn’t a complete failure though. Jackson managed to strikeout Ryan Howard in all four of his plate appearances. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the Phillies leadoff man and shortstop Jimmy Rollins from going long twice — once in the third inning to put his team on the board and once in the fifth to tie the game up. It was the eighth career multi-homerun game of his career. Continue reading

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Nats Survive The Heat, Beat Rockies 4-1

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Nats vs. Marlins-0776
courtesy of MudflapDC

An error-filled defense illustrated by the Colorado Rockies during the sixth inning of Saturday afternoon’s ball game is what led left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez to his twelfth win of the season with the Washington Nationals. The 4-1 victory marks the team’s forty ninth win this year.

It was the second-consecutive 100-plus degree day at Nationals Park but Gonzalez lasted six innings against Colorado. He gave up three hits, one run, three walks, and struck out six over 102 pitches, 60 for strikes. It wasn’t his most efficient outing but Colorado’s defensive missteps coupled by a productive Nats offense helped procure the positive outcome. Continue reading

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Multi-Homer Game Wins it for Washington, Nats Beat Phillies 7-1

Photo courtesy of Kevin H.
Jayson Werth Digs for Third
courtesy of Kevin H.

Aggressive offense and a quality start from left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez is what enabled the Washington Nationals to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-1 on Saturday. A crowd of 39,496 was delighted to a round of nine innings that put their home team on display. It was Washington’s seventh consecutive win against their division rival dating back to the 2011 season.

Despite some of the big guns like Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Adam LaRoche, and Mark DeRosa being down for the count due to injury, the current Nats roster continues to hold on to sole possession of first place in the National League East.

Washington hit three home runs over the course of the game, including shots from: Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, and Chad Tracy. The entire squad accounted for 15 hits. Continue reading

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No Run Support for Zimmermann in Harper’s Home Debut, Nats Fall 5-1 to Arizona

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Bryce Harper – Arizona at Washington – 5/1/12
courtesy of dmbosstone

Bryce Harper made his home debut with the Washington Nationals Tuesday night — that’s the good news. The bad news is that the Nationals didn’t hit in support of starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann (1-2, 1.89) pitched a decent game but the Nats dropped Tuesday’s contest 5-1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Continue reading

Sports Fix, The Features

Rockies Hurt Lannan, Stifle Nats 3-2

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‘not too happy’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99′

If Thursday night’s 10-9 loss to the Chicago Cubs was a spectacular defeat for the Washington Nationals, Friday night’s 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies was more in keeping with past defeats this season, complete with offensive incompetence and a pinch of bad luck.

In this case, actually, the bad luck was a hammer blow in the form of a baseball off the bat of Ty Wigginton in the top of the fourth inning with Washington on top 1-0. John Lannan had started his outing crisply, and had made it through the first three innings without allowing a single baserunner. After Carlos Gonzalez struck out swinging at a two-seam fastball to lead off the fourth, however, things fell apart quickly for Lannan. Jonathan Herrera lined a four-seam fastball back up the middle for Colorado’s first hit (and base) of the night. Todd Helton pulled a two-seam fastball over the inner half of the plate into right field to put runners on first and second base. And then Wigginton lined another two-seamer straight at Lannan’s skull.

Replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball deflected off Lannan’s glove. What was more definitive was the ball striking Lannan in roughly the place where nose and left cheek come together. As the ball continued into center field and Herrera raced home to tie the game at 1-1, Lannan staggered to his knees for a few seconds before picking himself up and walking to the clubhouse under his own power, holding his cap to his face to staunch any bleeding. The official diagnosis was a nose contusion, and there remains a possibility that Lannan could make his next scheduled start after the All-Star Game.

Despite being allotted as much time as he needed to warm up, Ryan Mattheus seemed rattled by his early appearance in the game. He induced Mark Ellis to ground back to the mound, but double-clutched on the throw to second and only an apparently generous out call from Brian Knight gave the Nationals the second out of the inning. Mattheus was then called for a balk by home plate umpire Bob Davidson, which forced Helton home with the go-ahead run. That in turn was followed by an RBI single for rookie Cole Garner, which made the score 3-1 and was all the scoring Colorado would do or need.

The rest of the night was, for the most part, an exercise in futility by the Nats offense, beginning in the first inning, when they loaded the bases with nobody out against Jason Hammel on a Roger Bernadina double, a walk to Danny Espinosa and an infield single by Ryan Zimmerman. Hammel kept it together, allowing only a sacrifice fly by Michael Morse (which scored Bernadina to give Washington their early lead) before striking out Jayson Werth and inducing Rick Ankiel to pop out to second base. In the rest of his outing, Hammel faced 20 batters, and allowed just four of them to reach base (a walk to Espinosa in the third inning, a solo home run by Wilson Ramos that made the score 3-2 to Colorado, a two-out single to right by Werth in the sixth, and a single to right by Desmond in the bottom of the seventh that precipitated Hammel’s removal).

Hammel’s removal did not turn the tide in Washington’s favor. With newly-recalled Jesus Flores pinch-hitting in the seventh inning against Matt Reynolds, Desmond was picked off and caught trying to steal second. And the offensive ineptitude reached its climax in the 9th inning after a leadoff single by Morse. After Werth struck out flailing wildly at a pitch in the dirt, pinch-runner Brian Bixler, seeing the ball get away briefly from catcher Chris Iannetta decided to try to scamper over to second base. Iannetta recovered the ball in plenty of time to throw out Bixler, and Ankiel’s swinging strikeout ensured that the Nats would drop back to the .500 mark entering the final weekend of the season’s first half.