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  1. Concern after 3-game sweep in Philly?

    Aug 28, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHILADELPHIA — The Nationals arrived here late Sunday night, feeling like they could do no wrong after a 9-1 homestand catapulted them to the top of the NL standings and turned them into the talk of baseball. They left here late Wednesday night, feeling as down in the dumps as they’d been in quite some…

  2. Fister’s surprisingly ineffective week

    Aug 28, 2014, 12:43 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHILADELPHIA — When it happened over the weekend against the Giants, it felt like one blip on an otherwise stellar summer of pitching dominance. When it happened again Wednesday night against the Phillies, you started to wonder whether this has quickly become more than a mere blip. Doug Fister has been the Nationals’ workhorse this…

  3. Instant analysis: Phillies 8, Nats 4

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:47 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After losing the first two games of his series in large part due to lights-out pitching performances by A.J. Burnett and Cole Hamels, the Nationals knew they needed a win tonight to avoid a sweep at the hands of the last-place Phillies. They had to feel good about their chances, with…

  4. LaRoche confident back issue won’t be long-term

    Aug 27, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHILADELPHIA — Adam LaRoche returned to the Nationals lineup Wednesday, confident the minor back injury that sidelined him Tuesday won’t be a major long-term problem. “I’ve had it before, and it’s not something where if I go play it can get much worse,” he said. “I know that from experience. I don’t have any fear…

  5. Game 132: Nats at Phillies

    Aug 27, 2014, 3:23 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    PHILADELPHIA — The last thing the Nationals want, on the heels of a 9-1 homestand, is to open this 9-game road trip by getting swept by the Phillies. But they’ll need a win in tonight’s series finale to prevent that from happening. The good news: Doug Fister is on the mound for the Nats, and…

  6. Gonzalez sees progress in latest start

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:40 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHILADELPHIA — There was a time when a 6-inning, 3-run start would have disappointed Gio Gonzalez. But these days, the Nationals’ erratic left-hander is finding the positives in each of his outings, so his latest one Tuesday night against the Phillies left him more encouraged than discouraged. “It’s progress,” Gonzalez said. “Obviously, everyone wants to…

  7. Missed it by that much

    Aug 26, 2014, 11:52 PM EDT

    AP

    PHILADELPHIA — Off the bat, it looked like a groundout to the shortstop. Not the most routine of groundouts, but a play Ian Desmond figured to make. Leading off the bottom of the eighth of a tie game, Ben Revere rapped a sharp grounder slightly to Desmond’s right. The Nationals shortstop scooped it up and…

  8. Instant analysis: Phillies 4, Nats 3

    Aug 26, 2014, 9:32 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After a fruitless night at the plate against A.J. Burnett on Monday, the Nationals knew they faced another stiff challenge Tuesday against longtime nemesis Cole Hamels. And for six innings, the Phillies lefty proved virtually unhittable, carrying a shutout on a scant 59 pitches. Gio Gonzalez wasn’t as effective — he…

  9. Game 131: Nats at Phillies

    Aug 26, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    PHILADELPHIA — Despite the Phillies’ overall struggles this season, Cole Hamels remains as formidable as just about any other left-hander in the league. So Matt Williams is playing the percentages tonight, stacking his lineup with right-handed hitters. Out is Bryce Harper. Out is Adam LaRoche. In are Scott Hairston and Kevin Frandsen. Hairston has feasted…

  10. Around the NL East: Giancarlo building MVP case

    Aug 26, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES  With the way the Nationals have played the last two weeks, it’s pretty established they’re the cream of the NL East crop. Trailing Washington by 7.5 games, hopes of a division title seem slim if you’re the Braves. However, Atlanta is still in pretty good position for a wild card berth, sitting just…

  11. No dramatic rally this night for Nationals

    Aug 25, 2014, 11:50 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHILADELPHIA — The way things have been going lately, the Nationals weren’t surprised in the least to mount a last-ditch rally against Jonathan Papelbon with two outs in the ninth Monday night. The only surprise was that they couldn’t quite finish it off and wound up losing for only the second time in 14 days.…

  12. Instant analysis: Phillies 3, Nats 2

    Aug 25, 2014, 9:55 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals arrived in Philadelphia sky-high after a 9-1 homestand that left them the hottest team in the majors. Now they faced the opener of a tough, 3-city, 9-game road trip, hoping to carry over some of the positive momentum from D.C. That proved more difficult than anticipated tonight, thanks to…

  13. Cabrera out of lineup, but not seriously injured

    Aug 25, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHILADELPHIA — Though he was out of the Nationals’ lineup Monday night against the Phillies, Asdrubal Cabrera insists the injury he sustained to his right side Sunday isn’t serious and he could play if absolutely needed. Cabrera hurt himself hitting a grounder to short during the sixth inning of Sunday’s win over the Giants, feeling…

  14. Game 130: Nats at Phillies

    Aug 25, 2014, 3:39 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    PHILADELPHIA — Hello from Citizens Bank Park, where a red-hot Nationals club coming off a 9-1 homestand now hopes to keep things rolling on one of the longer and tougher road trips of the season. A cross-country trek to Seattle and then Los Angeles looms, but first up are three games against the foundering Phillies,…

  15. Around the NL East: Surprise contenders?

    Aug 19, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES  The good news for the Braves is that, after suffering through a brutal stretch, they’ve managed to rebound nicely by winning four straight games that included a sweep of the MLB-best Oakland Athletics. The bad news? The Nationals, the team they’re chasing in the division, have been scorching-hot and have won seven in…

  16. Around the NL East: Braves’ woes continue

    Aug 12, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES  After coming off a disastrous road trip in which they lost all eight games they played, the Braves briefly staved off more disappointment with a series win against the Nationals over the weekend. But one series win doesn’t mean they’re all of a sudden out of the woods — not even close. Atlanta…

  17. Around the NL East: Atlanta stumbling

    Aug 5, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES  What has happened to the Braves? After a stretch where it looked like the race for the division title would be neck-and-neck with Washington, Atlanta has suddenly fallen on hard times. The Braves are in the midst of a six-game losing streak and currently sit three games back of first place. Getting swept…

  18. Strasburg dominates in Nats’ win

    Aug 3, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT

    Photo by The Associated Press

    Before the Phillies bullpen allowed the Nationals to secure a comfortable lead in the eighth inning on Sunday, much of the afternoon was the Stephen Strasburg vs. Cole Hamels show. Both starters were locked in, neither giving an inch to their opponent. Hamels was the one to blink with a run allowed in the third,…

  19. Instant Analysis: Nats 4, Phillies 0

    Aug 3, 2014, 4:25 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: With Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels on the mound, this game was billed as a pitchers duel. It did not disappoint. Both starters were sharp all afternoon, briskly mowing down their opposing lineup. The Nationals beat the Phillies 4-0, but neither starting pitcher yielded an earned run. Strasburg began the game by retiring seven…

  20. Game 109: Phillies at Nats

    Aug 3, 2014, 10:17 AM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    The Nationals enter Sunday looking to split their four-game series with Philadelphia, thanks to an 11-0 beatdown of the Phillies on Saturday night. Runs, however, could be a little harder to come by on this particular day. It’s a marquee pitching matchup at Nationals Park with Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 3.55) going up against Cole Hamels…

  21. Early rally sets the tone for an 11-0 rout

    Aug 2, 2014, 11:58 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    By the fourth inning, the Nationals led by 11 runs, turning the Phillies pitching staff into mincemeat and allowing everyone to breathe a sigh of relief and just play out the string under no pressure. But when Saturday night’s game was only two batters into the bottom of the first, when the outcome was still…

  22. Instant analysis: Nats 11, Phillies 0

    Aug 2, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: How about we just do “Game in a word” tonight? The answer is: Rout. OK, a few more details than that. The Nationals annihilated the Phillies pitching staff, starting with A.J. Burnett, who let six of the 11 batters he faced reach safely, capped by Anthony Rendon’s 3-run homer in the…

  23. Game 108: Phillies at Nats

    Aug 2, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    The bad news: The Nationals have lost six of their last nine. The good news: The Braves also have lost six of their last nine. So the Nats’ lead in the NL East remains 1 1/2 games, despite their recent struggles. They’ll try to get back on track tonight after dropping the first two games…

  24. Hard hits equal hard luck for Nationals

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:24 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    There are nights when a manager will explain a loss away by claiming his guys hit the ball hard, but everyone knows it’s mere lip service for an otherwise lackluster performance at the plate. And then there are nights when a manager will say it, and there isn’t a soul in the building who could…

  25. Instant analysis: Phillies 2, Nats 1

    Aug 1, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals, to the surprise of nobody, got another strong start from Doug Fister. They got some quality defense from a host of players, including Jayson Werth and the just-acquired Asdrubal Cabrera. And they consistently hit the ball hard against Philadelphia right-hander Roberto Hernandez. Sounds like the formula for a win,…

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 56 --
ATLANTA 72 65 6.0
MIAMI 68 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 73 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 74 15.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 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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