Oct 6, 2014, 11:10 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Williams gave some thought to benching Wilson Ramos for Game 3 of the NLDS in favor of Jose Lobaton, the backup catcher who worked so well all season with right-hander Doug Fister. In the end, though, the Nationals manager felt like Ramos’ potential at the plate outweighed whatever Lobaton might bring…
Oct 6, 2014, 7:57 PM EST
Updated at 10:30 p.m. SAN FRANCISCO — Inning after inning, they tried in vain to plate a run. Just one lousy run. For 21 torturous innings that stretched from early evening Saturday on South Capitol Street to late Monday afternoon alongside McCovey Cove, the Nationals simply could not do it. And then, with one perfectly…
Oct 6, 2014, 4:26 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — Though they considered possible changes for a win-or-else Game 3 of the NLDS, the Nationals decided to stick with the same lineup that produced a total of three runs in 27 innings in Games 1 and 2 against the Giants. Which meant Ryan Zimmerman remained on the bench, available only as a…
Oct 6, 2014, 2:02 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — And so it has come to this. After 96 wins in 162 regular-season games, the Nationals’ 2014 campaign comes down to a win-or-else Game 3 this afternoon at AT&T Park. To answer the question on everyone’s minds: No, Ryan Zimmerman is not in the lineup today. Matt Williams is going with the…
Oct 6, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — They left Washington early Sunday morning, the sting of a 6-hour loss surpassed only by the realization a 6-hour flight now awaited them. “It was a quiet bus trip after the game,” center fielder Denard Span said. “Just frustration, exhausted. Nothing needs to be said. We all know what we have to…
Oct 5, 2014, 9:11 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — A Nationals club that has scored a total of three runs in 27 innings so far in the NLDS has no choice but to consider lineup changes for its win-or-else Game 3 on Monday against the Giants. And the most obvious change would be the insertion of Ryan Zimmerman after two quality…
Oct 5, 2014, 8:25 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Williams had plenty of time during an overnight, cross-country flight to replay the decision he made in the top of the ninth Saturday at Nationals Park. Most outside observers were criticizing the rookie manager for pulling Jordan Zimmermann one out away from a shutout win in Game 2 of the NLCS…
Oct 5, 2014, 3:49 PM EST
One by one, Tanner Roark saw every one of his teammates warm up in the bullpen and trot out to the mound. First Drew Storen in the ninth. Then Tyler Clippard in the 10th. Then Matt Thornton in the 11th. Then Aaron Barrett and Jerry Blevins in the 12th. Craig Stammen took the 13th and…
Oct 5, 2014, 12:04 PM EST
Though the Nationals came out on the wrong end of Game 2 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, the night will go down in MLB history as the longest playoff game ever played. The players involved surely won’t appreciate the significance of that until the season is over, but we can. Here is…
Oct 5, 2014, 10:02 AM EST
Drew Storen had been there before: on the mound at Nationals Park, searching for the final out of a playoff game. Though a lot had happened in the two years between Storen’s fateful collapse in the 2012 NLDS and his first postseason appearance in the time since on Saturday night, the result was about the…
Oct 5, 2014, 3:08 AM EST
Frustrated with what they viewed as an inconsistent strike zone from home plate umpire Vic Carapazza, both Nationals manager Matt Williams and Asdrubal Cabrera allowed it to all boil over and result in ejections from Game 2 of the NLDS on Saturday night. Both got the hook in the bottom of the 10th inning, though…
Oct 5, 2014, 12:02 AM EST
Updated at 2:40 a.m. The stage was set. Everything was lined up for a perfect October evening at the ballpark. Jordan Zimmermann was about to toss a shutout and give the Nationals a 1-0 victory in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. And then this story took the first of several stunning turns…
Oct 4, 2014, 2:33 PM EST
Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond and his wife, Chelsey, are expecting their third child this month, and it could cause the two-time Silver Slugger to miss a playoff game. Manager Matt Williams gave an update on the situation Saturday, saying Chelsey is “very close” and is expected to give birth any day now. Whether it could…
Oct 4, 2014, 1:33 PM EST
Some food for thought as we count down to Game 2 later this afternoon: 1) The Nationals haven’t lost two straight games in nearly a month (Sept. 5-6 against the Phillies), 2) They’ve won 3-of-4 (what would be required now to win this series) 21 times this season, and 3) The guy taking the mound…
Oct 4, 2014, 12:08 PM EST
After a frustrating Game 1 loss that shifted the Giants’ way on minor defensive mistakes and missed opportunities at the plate, the Nationals turn the page on Saturday with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound. Zimmermann (14-5, 2.66) is coming off the best start of his career, and now he arguably enters his most important thus…
Oct 4, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
The Nationals lost Game 1 of the NLDS, more than anything, because of their inability to produce one hit with a runner in scoring position. But had they not made three defensive miscues of varying degrees, they might not have ever needed that elusive clutch hit. Of the three runs the Giants scored Friday afternoon,…
Oct 3, 2014, 11:19 PM EST
In his short time in the majors, Bryce Harper has developed a knack for hitting targets in big league ballparks on home runs. The Blackberry sign in Toronto? Check. The restaurant in right field out in Seattle? Yup. Heck, even before he reached the bigs, Harper was pelting homers off the back wall at Tropicana…
Oct 3, 2014, 9:44 PM EST
Stephen Strasburg was probably looking forward to pitching in the postseason for much longer than just the last two years. But given he was shut down towards the end of 2012 as part of his recovery from Tommy John surgery – taken out of the equation just weeks before his teammates entered the playoffs – Friday’s…
Oct 3, 2014, 7:04 PM EST
Updated at 9:50 p.m. October baseball is unlike any baseball that precedes it. The Nationals learned this two years ago. They knew it when they took the field Friday afternoon for the first game of what they hope is a lengthy postseason run. Every moment is magnified. Every scoring opportunity looms large. It’s the team…
Oct 3, 2014, 1:46 PM EST
The Nationals announced their 25-man playoff roster for the NLDS right at the deadline on Friday at 10 a.m. The biggest surprises are Ross Detwiler being left off and Rafael Soriano being included as their eighth reliever. Veteran bench player Scott Hairston is also not on the list. Manager Matt Williams explained his reasoning to…
Oct 3, 2014, 10:49 AM EST
And so it begins. The last six months provided great theater and 96 wins, but the slate has been wiped clean and it’s time to start over. The postseason begins today in Washington, D.C. Stephen Strasburg gets the ball for Game 1, his first career postseason start. He’s been great down the stretch. He’s been…
Oct 3, 2014, 9:56 AM EST
The Nationals enter their NLDS matchup with the San Francisco Giants on Friday in much better shape than they were two years ago. In 2012 much of their roster had never played in the playoffs before, now they have five October games to draw from. But their opponents, the San Francisco Giants, have even more experience…
Oct 3, 2014, 9:06 AM EST
Nationals manager Matt Williams has done plenty to prove his abilities as a rookie skipper this season. Yes, his team is among the most talented in baseball, but guiding a club to the best record in your league is no easy task. Take into account all the injuries they endured early this season and Williams did…
Oct 3, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
Stephen Strasburg typically isn’t one for introspection, and the next time he tries to put one outing into the context of the larger picture will be the first time. So the Nationals’ ace wasn’t about to take the bait Thursday afternoon when asked to revisit the situation that resulted in his watching the 2012 NLDS…
Oct 2, 2014, 7:00 PM EST
While their counterparts were preparing for a do-or-die Wild Card Game in Pittsburgh, the Nationals tried to find their own way to play something resembling a competitive ballgame Wednesday. It didn’t count, and came in a highly controlled environment, but the Nationals’ simulated game was the best activity they could think of to try to…
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