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Matt Williams

  1. Harper showing he can excel at ‘the little things’

    May 25, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

    May 24, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) hits a single against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    In the midst of Bryce Harper’s torrid May that has taken the baseball world by storm, it’s been easy to forget that the skill set of the Nationals’ phenom goes well beyond hitting the long ball. Just ask the Philadelphia Phillies, who saw Harper hurt them in more ways than one in the Nats’ 4-1…

  2. Pitch, hit and run (and win)

    May 23, 2015, 12:05 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    At the end of a night in which his starting pitcher tossed eight brilliant innings, recorded a key base hit and scored the eventual game-winning run, Matt Williams summed up Max Scherzer in six words. “He loves to play the game,” the Nationals manager said. Why wouldn’t Scherzer be having the time of his life…

  3. Scherzer on his start, chocolate sauce and comparing Harper to Miggy

    May 21, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT

    May 11, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Through his first eight games as a Washington National, Max Scherzer is off to the best start of his career by several measures. His ERA is a pristine 1.75, good for fourth in the National League. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 8.25, over double his career average of 3.49. He’s tied for third in the majors…

  4. Harper, Williams strongly disagree with ejections

    May 20, 2015, 10:53 PM EDT

    May 20, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (34) looks on after being thrown out of the game in the third inning against the New York Yankees at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

    Hours after they were tossed from Wednesday night’s win over the Yankees by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson, both Nationals manager Matt Williams and right fielder Bryce Harper remained fired up about their third inning ejections. Harper and Williams were still confused as to why they were ejected in the first place. “I’m really not…

  5. Harper, Williams ejected vs. Yankees

    May 20, 2015, 8:06 PM EDT

    May 20, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (right) and manager Matt Williams (center) react after being thrown out of the game by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson (left) in the third inning against the New York Yankees at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

    Bryce Harper and Matt Williams were both ejected in the bottom of the third inning against the New York Yankees on Wednesday night in a bizarre sequence sparked by a called first strike. Home plate umpire Marvin Hudson called a strike on the first offering from pitcher Adam Warren to Harper and the Nationals right fielder…

  6. Rendon works out at Nats Park; Williams on ‘clutch’

    May 20, 2015, 6:14 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    Anthony Rendon continued his slow recovery from a left oblique strain on Wednesday at Nationals Park, as he rejoined the team after training for several days at extended spring training in Viera, Fla. Rendon took groundballs at second base, did some running and took swings in the batting cage. Though it’s a small step, the 2014…

  7. After solid series, Zimmerman hoping to get back on track

    May 11, 2015, 9:16 AM EDT

    May 9, 2015; Washington, DC, USA;  Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) hits a three run home run during the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    When the Nationals were scuffling at the plate for the majority of April, the club remained confident that most of its veterans would soon begin performing up to the level of their track records. And if this past weekend is any indication, the hope is that might be the case with Ryan Zimmerman. During the…

  8. Strasburg cleared to start Tuesday

    May 10, 2015, 5:12 PM EDT

    AP

    Stephen Strasburg has been cleared by the Nationals’ medical staff to rejoin the rotation and start on Tuesday in Arizona after several days of testing his back and ankle in pregame throwing sessions at Nats Park. Max Scherzer was originally scheduled to pitch Tuesday, but he will now start the first game of the three-game…

  9. Lobaton making the most of his limited opportunities

    May 10, 2015, 7:00 AM EDT

    Apr 18, 2015; Washington, DC, USA;  Washington Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton (59) hits an RBI double during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    While Saturday’s walk-off win will be remembered for Bryce Harper’s heroics, it was the performance of a part-time bat that underscored the true depth of the Nationals’ lineup. Backup catcher Jose Lobaton, who Matt Williams inserted into the lineup because of his previous success against Braves starter Julio Teheran, justified his manager’s faith in him…

  10. Strasburg’s status for Monday still undetermined

    May 8, 2015, 5:17 PM EDT

    AP

    Stephen Strasburg reported to Nationals Park on Friday feeling strong, his right shoulder blade having responded to chiropractic treatment, but won’t know if he’ll be able to make his next scheduled start until he first throws off a bullpen mound with no problems. Strasburg, who departed from his last start after only three innings due…

  11. UPDATE: Rendon has oblique strain; updates on Janssen & Johnson

    May 4, 2015, 10:48 PM EDT

    Rendon learns from first MLB stint

    [Updated 10:49 p.m.] Anthony Rendon has been diagnosed with an oblique strain after meeting with Nationals orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih on Monday, an injury that will end his minor league rehab assignment on terms that are anything but ideal. The 24 year old came to Washington on Monday after sitting out of games with the Double-A Harrisburg…

  12. Barrett seizing setup role while trying to manage workload

    May 4, 2015, 6:16 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    After a month spent tinkering and trying out different candidates, the Nationals may have found a reliable setup man at last in Aaron Barrett. Now, they just have to make sure they don’t run the right-hander into the ground from too much use. Barrett has become among the Nationals’ effective relievers, sporting a 1.59 ERA…

  13. Still searching for answers

    Apr 26, 2015, 5:56 PM EDT

    AP

    MIAMI — You’re never as bad as you look during a long losing streak, and you’re never as good as you look during a long winning streak, but at what point does the losing start becoming an actual reflection of what you are as a ballclub? Not after a mere 19 games, the Nationals insist.…

  14. 3 weeks in, Nats staring at 7-game division deficit

    Apr 25, 2015, 8:27 PM EDT

    AP

    MIAMI — It would be one thing if there was an obvious lack of effort, if players’ heads didn’t seem to be in the game. But that’s not the case right now for the Nationals. They’re simply not playing well. Which, in some ways, could cause frustration levels to rise even higher. “The intent is…

  15. It’s not intentional, but Harper is leading MLB in walks

    Apr 24, 2015, 6:49 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    MIAMI — From the day he was drafted, Bryce Harper seemed like a strong candidate to lead the majors in something before long, whether home runs, slugging percentage, outfield assists or something along those lines. It may come as a bit of a surprise, though, that Harper currently leads all MLB hitters in a stat…

  16. What have we learned after 2 1/2 weeks?

    Apr 24, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    The Nationals have now played 16 games, which is one-tenth of their regular season. That’s still a very small fraction, but it’s not so insignificant that we can’t examine a few big-picture issues. So with that in mind, here are some things we’ve learned about the 2015 Nationals so far… The rotation is good as…

  17. Williams a fan of pace of play rules

    Apr 23, 2015, 3:48 PM EDT

    MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals

    Now over two weeks into the 2015 season, the early returns on MLB’s new pace of play rule changes are starting to come in. The league has yet to fully enforce some of the rules as players and coaches get used to them, but so far so good according to Nationals manager Matt Williams. Williams…

  18. Stock Watch: Harper’s patience paying off

    Apr 22, 2015, 12:14 PM EDT

    MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

    Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  Record: 5-1 Team slash: .266/.354/.432 Team ERA:  2.43 Runs per game: 5.16   STOCK UP Bryce Harper, OF: .353 AVG/ 2 HR/ 6 RBI Harper’s early season power display is nothing we haven’t already seen. But this…

  19. Rendon close to rehab games; Stammen has surgery

    Apr 21, 2015, 4:52 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    [Updated 5:29 p.m.] Fresh off a week where both Jayson Werth and Denard Span returned to their lineup, the Nationals are close to getting another significant boost, as star third baseman Anthony Rendon is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment by the end of the week. Rendon has been playing in minor league…

  20. Span’s return felt ‘like old times’

    Apr 20, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

    MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

    It was like a scene straight from the 2014 season. Denard Span, the Nationals’ centerfielder and offensive table setter, laced a fifth inning, two-out single to right field in to kickstart the game’s decisive rally vs. the Phillies Sunday. One batter later, he raced around the base paths at top speed on an Ian Desmond…

  21. Desmond: “I’m gonna get through it”

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:09 PM EDT

    AP

    If Ian Desmond ever was going to go crawl in a hole and disappear from public view, this might have been the time. If Matt Williams ever was going to bench his starting shortstop after another nightmare defensive inning, this might have been the time. And if ever the crowd of 35,330 at Nationals Park…

  22. Taylor showing Nats glimpses of his potential

    Apr 17, 2015, 10:20 AM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    It may have been a little in-game redemption, but Michael Taylor sure didn’t see it that way. Despite delivering the game’s decisive blow — a fifth inning solo shot off Cole Hamels to break a 2-2 tie — the talented 24-year-old rookie centerfielder was still lamenting a fourth inning gaffe that could have cost the…

  23. Bad recipe leaves Nats sick to their stomachs

    Apr 15, 2015, 12:03 AM EDT

    AP

    BOSTON — This was the night. This was the night the Nationals were going to snap out of their early season funk, using a 6-run rally that was as stunning as it was sudden to catapult them back into the team they’re supposed to be and put this awful week of baseball behind them once…

  24. The weight of expectations, and when enough is enough

    Apr 13, 2015, 8:28 PM EDT

    AP

    BOSTON — Matt Williams, perhaps as agitated by his team’s play as he has been since becoming Nationals manager 18 months ago, was asked if Monday’s debacle of a loss to the Red Sox — officially 9-4 but not nearly as competitive as that score would suggest — might serve as a wake-up call to…

  25. Espinosa back to switch-hitting again

    Apr 12, 2015, 12:20 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHILADELPHIA — Danny Espinosa spent the entire spring hitting right-handed against right-handed pitching, acknowledging his long-term struggles from the left side of the plate, recognizing his best (and possibly only) hope of sticking in the big leagues was to give up switch-hitting. But when given his first opportunity of the season to face a right-handed…

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NL EAST STANDINGS

WLGB
WASHINGTON2618
NEW YORK24212.5
ATLANTA22213.5
PHILADELPHIA19278.0
MIAMI18278.5
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Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Sunday at 10:30 p.m. to recap everything happening with the Nats and across baseball.

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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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