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  1. Span again the spark in Nats’ win

    Aug 21, 2014, 9:11 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    It has become an almost nightly occurrence for the Nationals to find themselves tied late in a game, whether it be the bottom of the ninth or in extra innings. Night after night after night, the Nationals have been put in position to have one pitch decide the outcome of an entire day. On Thursday…

  2. Instant Analysis: Nats 1, Diamondbacks 0

    Aug 21, 2014, 7:02 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Throughout the Nationals’ recent winning streak, they have found a variety of ways to win. Some have been pretty,  some have been ugly. On a soggy Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park, the Nats perhaps got their ugliest win yet in what is now a 10-game winning streak, tying a team record. Now, make…

  3. Zim throws for 1st time in recovery

    Aug 21, 2014, 2:42 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    Ryan Zimmerman is still without a timetable to return, but he did take a step forward on Thursday in throwing for the first time in his recovery from a strained right hamstring. Zimmerman threw lightly on the field at Nationals Park before the team’s game against Arizona. It represented the first baseball activity for the…

  4. Nine lives

    Aug 21, 2014, 12:57 AM EDT

    AP

    This shouldn’t be happening, not like this. It’s not that the Nationals have won nine straight games. And it’s not that they’ve won in walk-off fashion four of the last five nights. It’s that they’ve won three of the last four nights after blowing a lead in the eighth or ninth inning. Really, who does…

  5. Instant analysis: Nats 3, Diamondbacks 2

    Aug 20, 2014, 10:23 PM EDT

    AP

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: In search of only the second 9-game winning streak in club history, the Nationals did plenty of things right. They got another highly effective start from Tanner Roark (seven scoreless innings), got a couple of big hits from Asdrubal Cabrera and Jayson Werth and a nice takeout slide from Bryce Harper…

  6. Williams expects Zimmerman back in September

    Aug 20, 2014, 6:56 PM EDT

    AP

    It’s been one month since Ryan Zimmerman last played for the Nationals. Whether the veteran third baseman will be playing again one month from now still remains a question mark, though manager Matt Williams remains confident Zimmerman will return from his hamstring injury before season’s end. “Sometime in September,” Williams said Wednesday afternoon. “When? I…

  7. Game 125: Diamondbacks at Nats

    Aug 20, 2014, 3:27 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    Only once in their nearly 10 seasons of existence have the Nationals rattled off at least nine straight wins (they did it in June 2005, then added one more for the even 10, establishing the club record). Tonight, they’ll try to make it nine in a row, riding the high of last night’s 8-1 thumping…

  8. Nationals Stock Watch: Heroes aplenty

    Aug 20, 2014, 2:07 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    We take a look at the Nationals’ past week, at a glance: Record: 7-0 Team slash: .271/.343/.421 Team ERA: 2.01 Runs per game:  5 STOCK UP Adam LaRoche, 1B:  3 HR/ 7 RBI/.419 OBP When the Nationals are rolling like this, you could probably make a case for any number of guys being in this spot.…

  9. Cabrera fitting in with Nats

    Aug 20, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    Since Asdrubal Cabrera arrived in Washington on Aug. 1 – a day after he was acquired at the 2014 non-waiver trade deadline – the Nationals have gone 13-5 overall and 11-4 with him in the lineup. He has reached base at a .348 clip since joining the Nationals and has eight RBI and seven runs in…

  10. Desmond leads way in Nats’ win

    Aug 20, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    With all the errors Ian Desmond piled up early this season, and for all the trouble he’s found keeping his batting average around or above .250, there have been many moments in 2014 where it looked like the two-time Silver Slugger was having a down year. But perhaps quietly, Desmond has put together a recent stretch that…

  11. “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…

  12. 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…

  13. 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…

  14. 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…

  15. 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…

  16. 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.…

  17. 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…

  18. 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…

  19. 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…

  20. 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…

  21. 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…

  22. 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.…

  23. 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…

  24. 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…

  25. Game 122: Pirates at Nats

    Aug 17, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT

    7757a-nationalspark726mz

    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…

Archives

NLDS: NATIONALS VS. GIANTS

FRI: Game 1 at Washington, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2 at Washington, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3 at San Francisco, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4 at San Francisco, TBA (FS1)*
THU: Game 5 at Washington, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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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