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  1. Game 161: Nats at Diamondbacks

    Sep 28, 2013, 4:43 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    PHOENIX — By no stretch of the imagination was Dan Haren’s first season with the Nationals a success. Which is why there’s virtually no chance Haren will have a second season with the Nationals. Give the veteran right-hander credit, though. He never made any excuses for his poor performance. And he battled his way back…

  2. Harper: ‘I wanna win for the rest of my career’

    Sep 28, 2013, 1:56 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    Mark caught up with Bryce Harper on Friday at Chase Field in Arizona, and took stock of the 2013 season. Harper is of course disappointed with how this year has played out, particularly with the Nats not making the playoffs. Harper says this season was enough frustration for him, that he wants to make sure…

  3. Strasburg ends up-and-down year with a win

    Sep 28, 2013, 2:44 AM EDT

    Associated Press

    PHOENIX — Stephen Strasburg stepped off the mound upon recording the final out of the seventh inning Friday night and made the long walk back to the dugout, where handshakes and high-fives awaited. He could, in that moment, take a deep breath and know that his season was over. Even if it ended a bit…

  4. Instant analysis: Nats 8, Diamondbacks 4

    Sep 28, 2013, 12:37 AM EDT

    Associated Press

    Game in a nutshell: The Nationals opened their final series of the season, one with zero playoff implications, but put forth a solid all-around effort to earn the victory. Stephen Strasburg allowed two runs over seven strong innings to cap his year. Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos each clubbed 3-run homers to pace a well-balanced…

  5. Game 160: Nats at Diamondbacks

    Sep 27, 2013, 6:12 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    PHOENIX — Hello from the not-so-hot Valley of the Sun, where tonight it’s only going to be 82 degrees for first pitch of the Nationals’ final series of the year against the Diamondbacks. They’re planning to keep the roof open here at Chase Field, a rare event around here this time of the year. Stephen…

  6. Final weekend odds and ends

    Sep 27, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHOENIX — And so we’ve reached the final weekend of the season, with the Nationals wrapping things up out west in a three-game series against a Diamondbacks club that also stayed alive in the playoff race deep into September but now is playing out the string. Here are a few news items, notes and other…

  7. LaRoche not worried about future with Nationals

    Sep 26, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    ST. LOUIS — There has always been a certain, predictable rhythm to Adam LaRoche’s seasons in the big leagues. LaRoche inevitably goes through a prolonged, early season slump that leaves his batting average at depths not commonly acceptable for a power-hitting first baseman. But sure enough, by season’s end that number will rise to its…

  8. Never in the Cards

    Sep 25, 2013, 6:45 PM EDT

    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS — The greatest moment in the brief history of the Washington Nationals came at the expense of the St. Louis Cardinals. Jayson Werth’s walk-off homer in Game 4 of last fall’s NLDS kept his team’s season alive and undoubtedly turned thousands of D.C. area residents into baseball fans for good. Every opportunity the…

  9. Instant analysis: Cardinals 4, Nats 1

    Sep 25, 2013, 4:14 PM EDT

    Associated Press

    Game in a nutshell: The Nationals have been wanting to get a crack at the Cardinals since the moment they blew Game 5 of the NLDS, but they’ll have to wait another season to seek their revenge. After getting swept by St. Louis at Nationals Park in April, they got swept at Busch Stadium in…

  10. Game 159: Nats at Cardinals

    Sep 25, 2013, 12:24 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    ST. LOUIS — Let’s see … the Nationals arrived in St. Louis on Monday having not beaten the Cardinals since Jayson Werth’s walk-off homer in Game 4 of last fall’s NLDS. Then they lost their series opener to officially be eliminated from the pennant race. Then they came within a couple of inches of being…

  11. Inches from ignominy

    Sep 25, 2013, 1:06 AM EDT

    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS — Ryan Zimmerman stepped to the plate, the throng of 38,940 at Busch Stadium standing, applauding and holding up cell phone cameras in hopes of capturing the moment Michael Wacha threw a no-hitter in the ninth start of his career. Zimmerman had seen his Nationals teammates flail away all night at the 22-year-old…

  12. Instant analysis: Cardinals 2, Nats 0

    Sep 24, 2013, 10:38 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Game in a nutshell: With nothing left to play for but pride after getting eliminated Monday night, the Nationals still hoped to deal a blow to the Cardinals’ hopes of winning a division title, so Davey Johnson fielded his regular lineup tonight against Michael Wacha. It didn’t matter. Wacha was brilliant from the start, retiring…

  13. Davey: Nats regulars will continue to play

    Sep 24, 2013, 7:26 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    ST. LOUIS — Though his team isn’t playing for anything but pride at this point, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he plans to continue using his regulars through the season’s final week, certainly over the next two days against a Cardinals club still trying to clinch the NL Central title. “These games are important for…

  14. Game 158: Nats at Cardinals

    Sep 24, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    ST. LOUIS — It’s been awhile since the Nationals played a truly meaningless baseball game, almost exactly two years, to be precise. So the next five days represent unusual territory for a club that used to be in this situation every September but is surprised to be here now. Davey Johnson insisted last night the…

  15. How much did injuries affect the Nats this year?

    Sep 24, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    ST. LOUIS — There will be plenty of opportunities, now that the Nationals officially have been eliminated from playoff contention, to dissect this disappointing season and try to figure out why it produced the result it did. Were the Nats done in by an unproductive lineup? Shoddy defense? An unbalanced bullpen? The weight of expectations?…

  16. Reality sinks in

    Sep 24, 2013, 1:36 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    ST. LOUIS — For two months now, the Nationals knew they faced a near-impossible task, trying to make up what at their nadir was a 15 1/2-game deficit in the NL East and a 9-game deficit in the NL Wild Card race. Yet there they stood Sunday morning, with an opportunity to move to within…

  17. Instant analysis: Cardinals 4, Nats 3

    Sep 23, 2013, 11:01 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Game in a nutshell: The Nationals arrived in St. Louis knowing they could face elimination if results played out a certain way here, in Cincinnati and in Chicago. All three games went down to the wire, but when the Pirates and Reds each won in dramatic fashion, the Nats knew they had to win to…

  18. Gonzalez, not Roark, will start season finale

    Sep 23, 2013, 7:28 PM EDT

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    USA Today Sports Images

    ST. LOUIS — Davey Johnson has set his rotation for the rest of the regular season, opting to give the final start of the year to Gio Gonzalez instead of rookie Tanner Roark. Roark’s turn would come up for Sunday’s finale in Arizona, but Johnson said he’ll use Thursday’s off-day to bring Gonzalez back on…

  19. Game 157: Nats at Cardinals

    Sep 23, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    ST. LOUIS — Check out the accompanying photo. No, this isn’t the Oakland Coliseum the day after a Raiders game. It’s Busch Stadium, which 48 hours ago hosted its first-ever football game, a titanic FCS clash between Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri. That game, inexplicably scheduled for late-September, two days before the Cardinals opened their…

  20. Long day ends with Nats still breathing, barely

    Sep 23, 2013, 12:22 AM EDT

    Associated Press

    Davey Johnson didn’t know what exactly to expect when he arrived at Nationals Park Sunday morning. He had tried for weeks not to think about the fact his managerial career was nearing the finish line, focusing instead on the task of keeping his club alive in the NL playoff race as long as possible, despite…

  21. Instant analysis: Nats 5, Marlins 4

    Sep 22, 2013, 10:30 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Game in a nutshell: A long and emotional day at the ballpark began with a tribute to Davey Johnson (managing for the last time at Nationals Park), continued with a frustrating, 4-2 loss by the home team in the doubleheader opener. The Reds’ win in Pittsburgh left the Nats’ season on life support heading into…

  22. Nats’ loss clinches NL East for Braves

    Sep 22, 2013, 6:16 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    The Nationals unveiled their 2012 NL East Champions banner on Opening Day and then proceeded to jump out to a quick lead in the division, winning four of their first five games. And then they dropped a game in Cincinnati on April 7 and fell behind the Braves in the standings. Little did they know…

  23. Johnson honored before Nats home finales

    Sep 22, 2013, 2:14 PM EDT

    Associated Press

    Updated at 7:00 p.m. Davey Johnson still has at least eight more ballgames to manage — one of them later tonight — but this is his final day as Nationals skipper at home, so the club took time before the opener of today’s doubleheader to honor the 70-year-old’s career. A touching video tribute featuring highlights…

  24. Dominant from pitch No. 1 through No. 107

    Sep 21, 2013, 12:37 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    It’s often dangerous trying to read too much into a pitcher’s first inning on the mound. Some guys might retire the side in short order, then get rocked later. Others may struggle to find their rhythm early but then sort things out and cruise. But when Jordan Zimmermann walked back to the Nationals dugout after…

  25. Instant analysis: Nats 8, Marlins 0

    Sep 20, 2013, 9:28 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Game in a nutshell: Some pitchers’ duel tonight, huh? Well, for five innings, it was. Then the Nationals’ lineup went nuts against Jacob Turner, mashing out seven runs in the bottom of the sixth. That was way more run support than Jordan Zimmermann needed. The right-hander dominated the Marlins’ lineup from the get-go, allowing only…

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 70 82 17.5
Through Wednesday's games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 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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