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  1. “What the doctor ordered”

    Aug 20, 2014, 12:26 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    There are nights when the Nationals hope Stephen Strasburg takes the mound and does something like this, and then there are nights when the Nationals need Stephen Strasburg to take the mound and do something like this. It might sound harsh to suggest a team already on a 7-game winning streak needed eight innings of…

  2. Instant analysis: Nats 8, Diamondbacks 1

    Aug 19, 2014, 9:58 PM EDT

    AP

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: As much as they enjoyed their wild victories over the last few nights, the Nationals knew their bullpen had been taxed to extreme levels after back-to-back, extra-inning games. So the goal tonight against the Diamondbacks was simple: Try to take a sizable lead and get a bunch of innings out of…

  3. McLouth to have surgery, out for year

    Aug 19, 2014, 5:26 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    The 2014 season for Nate McLouth is now over, as the Nationals outfielder is set for surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Thursday. The 32-year-old has been out since Aug. 1 when he initially complained of discomfort. That was four days after the veteran landed on his shoulder while attempting…

  4. Game 124: Diamondbacks at Nats

    Aug 19, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    There have been only three winning streaks of at least eight games in Nationals history (a 10-gamer in June 2005, an 8-gamer in June 2011 and another 8-gamer in August 2012). So tonight, they’ll go for their fourth such streak over the last 10 seasons, trying to beat the Diamondbacks again (though perhaps not in…

  5. The state of the overworked Nationals bullpen

    Aug 19, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    As much as Matt Williams is thrilled to have seen his team win seven straight games, the last three of them in dramatic walk-off fashion, the last two of them in extra innings, the Nationals manager does realize there’s one caveat to all this recent excitement. “It doesn’t help your bullpen, for sure,” he said…

  6. LaRoche’s long-awaited walk-off moment

    Aug 19, 2014, 12:21 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    It used to cross Adam LaRoche’s mind when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, or later, and realized a home run would win the game for his team. But at some point over the last 11 years, he realized it was doing him no good to worry about it.…

  7. Instant analysis: Nats 5, Diamondbacks 4 (11)

    Aug 18, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Riding a season-high 6-game winning streak that included a weekend sweep of the contending Pirates, the Nationals opened a 4-game series against the non-contending Diamondbacks feeling mighty good about themselves. What they didn’t expect was a real battle against unknown Arizona left-hander Vidal Nuno, who went toe-to-toe with Jordan Zimmermann, and…

  8. UPDATED: Nats sign Schierholtz to minor-league deal

    Aug 18, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Updated at 6:25 p.m. The Nationals signed Nate Schierholtz to a minor-league contract, and though the veteran outfielder will report to Class AAA Syracuse, there’s a good chance he’ll find his way to Washington in short order to bolster the club’s struggling bench for the stretch run. Schierholtz, who was designated for assignment by the…

  9. Game 123: Diamondbacks at Nats

    Aug 18, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    Their season-opening Nos. 1 and 2 starters have struggled. Their young phenom outfielder hasn’t quite put it all together yet. Their face-of-the-franchise third baseman has missed most of the season due to injury. And their closer inspires confidence in few right now. … Yet the Nationals, owners of the best record in the NL, tonight…

  10. State of the Nats: On a roll

    Aug 18, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    Top storylines: Nats on a roll – With two walk-off victories this weekend, the Nationals have now won six straight, their best stretch of the 2014 season. Even with Ryan Zimmerman still out, even with Jayson Werth still technically out, and even with the recent struggles of Gio Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano, the Nats are…

  11. Soriano’s blown save raises questions

    Aug 18, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    The Nationals came through with their sixth consecutive victory in extra innings on Sunday, their second walk-off win in less than 24 hours. This one, though, never should have made it that far. Nationals closer Rafael Soriano had a 4-2 lead in the ninth inning before surrendering three runs for his fifth blown save of…

  12. Werth fights through pain to help Nats win

    Aug 17, 2014, 10:22 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    [Updated 11:10 p.m.] Hampered by AC joint inflammation in his right shoulder, Jayson Werth had been out recovering for seven days before coming off the bench in the Nats’ win over the Pirates on Sunday night. He had a cortisone shot three days prior and hadn’t swung a bat against live pitching in a week.…

  13. Instant Analysis: Nats 6, Pirates 5 (11)

    Aug 17, 2014, 8:52 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Pennant races in Major League Baseball are supposed to be thrilling, they are supposed to keep fans at the edge of their seats. Wins often do not come easy, and losses can be tough to swallow. Few games, however, can produce the extreme ups and downs of the Nationals’ 6-5 win over…

  14. Thornton thriving as new face in NL

    Aug 17, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    Nationals reliever Matt Thornton is moving through his 11th season in the major leagues, he’s 37-years-old and has 656 MLB games to his name. By now there is plenty of tape and plenty of scouting reports on the 6-foot-6 lefty. Only four of those games, however, have come in the National League, as prior to…

  15. Game 122: Pirates at Nats

    Aug 17, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT

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    Today the Nationals look for a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates and a season-high, 6-game winning streak with Doug Fister (12-3, 2.34) on the mound in a rare 5:05 p.m. game. Fister will make his 18th start of the season looking to lower his 2014 ERA for a fifth consecutive outing. The Nats are 13-4 in…

  16. As curveball eludes him, Gonzalez’s pitch counts soar

    Aug 17, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Gio Gonzalez has never been the most efficient pitcher in the league, but his inefficiency has reached new depths this season, especially in the last month. The left-hander’s latest laborious outing: Last night’s 5-inning slog, in which he threw 102 pitches. This, on the heels of a 111-pitch, 4 2/3-inning start in Atlanta. Do the…

  17. A well-rounded rally

    Aug 17, 2014, 12:44 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    It began innocently enough, a leadoff walk drawn by rookie Michael Taylor with the Nationals trailing the Pirates by three runs in the bottom of the eighth. The sellout crowd of 41,880 applauded the effort but hardly sensed what that plate appearance was about to trigger. The vibe picked up more after Denard Span singled,…

  18. Instant analysis: Nats 4, Pirates 3

    Aug 16, 2014, 9:57 PM EDT

    AP

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Seeking only their second 5-game winning streak of the season, the Nationals took the field tonight knowing they’d need a quality start from struggling Gio Gonzalez to have a good chance. They got neither that nor much of anything at the plate against lefty Jeff Locke, putting themselves in a 3-0…

  19. Werth progressing toward Sunday return

    Aug 16, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT

    AP

    The Nationals expect to have Jayson Werth back in the lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates and might even have the veteran outfielder available off the bench tonight. Werth was due to take a full round of batting practice in the cage underneath the stands at Nationals Park this afternoon and otherwise participated…

  20. Game 121: Pirates at Nats

    Aug 16, 2014, 3:22 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    In their slow, mostly steady march to the top of the NL East, the Nationals have won five straight games only once this season, from June 28-July 2. Tonight they have a chance to match that streak, if they can take down the Pirates once again. They’ll need a better performance from Gio Gonzalez than…

  21. Williams feels pennant race heating up

    Aug 16, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    With the 64-58 Pittsburgh Pirates – current owners of the final NL Wild Card spot – in town, this weekend’s series for the Nationals perhaps feels different than their previous three games up in New York against the Mets. It’s mid-August and it’s two winning teams who could possibly meet later this year in October. Both are still…

  22. Nats pounce early, hang on late to beat Pirates

    Aug 16, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    One by one, they stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first, hoping to put together quality at-bats but fully aware the percentages said more of them would make outs than didn’t. But then Denard Span beat out an infield single to get things started. And then Asdrubal Cabrera drew a walk to…

  23. Instant analysis: Nats 5, Pirates 4

    Aug 15, 2014, 10:11 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After a sweep of the Mets that catapulted them to a 6-game lead in the NL East, the Nationals returned home for the first of 10 games in 10 days on South Capitol Street. They faced a Pirates club that holds the NL’s best record since May 2, but they quickly…

  24. Werth close; 2nd opinion for McLouth

    Aug 15, 2014, 5:13 PM EDT

    Photo by The Associated Press

    The Nationals’ banged up outfield got some good news and some bad news in terms of guys recovering from injuries on Friday. First, the good news: Jayson Werth – who is dealing with AC joint inflammation in his right shoulder – looks on track for a Sunday return when the Nats close out their series against…

  25. Game 120: Pirates at Nats

    Aug 15, 2014, 3:42 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    The Nationals showed this week they could have their way with a struggling team like the Mets. Now we’ll find out how they fare against a Pirates club that despite injuries to Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole currently holds one of the NL’s two wild card positions. Jayson Werth is not in the Nats’ lineup…

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 67 13.0
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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