Oct 5, 2014, 9:11 PM EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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, 12:02 AM EDT
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, 1:33 PM EDT
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, 9:00 AM EDT
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, 7:04 PM EDT
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, 10:49 AM EDT
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, 6:00 AM EDT
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 EDT
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…
Oct 2, 2014, 12:02 PM EDT
Stephen Strasburg’s first career postseason start will come right out of the chute. Strasburg was formally named the Nationals’ Game 1 starter for their National League Division Series against the Giants by manager Matt Williams, designated as the postseason ace of the majors’ best rotation. The decision to give the ball to Strasburg for Game…
Oct 1, 2014, 11:21 PM EDT
Two years later, the Nationals will finally get their chance to face the Giants in the postseason. San Francisco won Wednesday night’s NL Wild Card game, riding Madison Bumgarner’s dominant pitching performance and Brandon Crawford’s grand slam to beat the Pirates and a stunned sellout crowd at PNC Park 8-0, setting up an NLDS showdown…
Oct 1, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
When the Nationals prepared to face the Cardinals in the 2012 NLDS, they tried to downplay the significance of their lack of October experience vs. their highly decorated counterparts from St. Louis. By the time that series ended in heartbreaking fashion, more than a few players acknowledged what so many suspected: Experience does count in…
Sep 30, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Suffering from Nats withdrawal right now? Not sure you can make it til Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday afternoon? Well, here’s something to help get you through this little break before the playoffs. ESPN 980 AM was nice enough to invite me to join Tim Murray for a 2-hour special show last night…
Sep 30, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
There’s been plenty of talk over the last few weeks of the Nationals being the most-complete team in baseball, the postseason contender with the fewest areas of concern. That may well be true, but that doesn’t mean they have zero areas of concern. No ballclub is perfect, including the Nats, and every one enters October…
Sep 29, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT
The Nationals’ first two games in what they hope will be a lengthy postseason run will be played in the afternoon. Though they won’t know precisely what time it all begins until they know the identity of their first-round opponent. Major League Baseball announced starting times this evening for the first weekend of the postseason,…
Sep 29, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
Hey, remember when the biggest questions facing the Nationals were things like: “How many innings will Stephen Strasburg pitch this season?” and “How many errors will Ryan Zimmerman commit at third base?” and “Will the No. 5 starter be Ross Detwiler, Taylor Jordan or Tanner Roark?” Ah, those were the days. But that’s what we…
Sep 29, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
No-hitters usually catch you by surprise. They come out of nowhere. A random Tuesday in May in front of a sparse crowd. A Thursday getaway in July, with an unheralded pitcher putting everything together to author the one shining moment of his career. Shoot, until yesterday afternoon the only guy in Nationals history to take…
Sep 27, 2014, 9:21 PM EDT
The only way the rest of the baseball world likely will ever vindicate Mike Rizzo and his decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg prior to the 2012 postseason is if Strasburg helps lead the Nationals to a World Series title some day. And even then, some of those who pilloried Rizzo for his controversial decision…
Sep 27, 2014, 7:05 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The truck keeps rolling along, no matter what’s at stake right now. The Nationals could’ve taken Saturday off but instead went out and put forth another impressive effort to beat the Marlins and improve to 32-13 down the stretch, with one game to go on the regular-season slate. It certainly helps…
Sep 26, 2014, 10:41 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: For the first time in 160 games this season, the Nationals took the field with absolutely nothing at stake, at least from a team standpoint, after clinching home-field advantage through the NLCS earlier in the afternoon. So manager Matt Williams used almost exclusively backups in the nightcap of his team’s second…
Sep 26, 2014, 6:38 PM EDT
They’ve locked up home-field advantage through the NLCS. So, there really isn’t much of anything left for the Nationals to play for in the final three games of the regular season. Manager Matt Williams does still plan to play his regulars Saturday and Sunday (perhaps pulling them early after five or six innings) but for…
Sep 26, 2014, 5:37 PM EDT
For the second time in three years, no team in the National League will finish with a better record than the Nationals. Thanks to Doug Fister’s 4-0 shutout victory over the Marlins in the first half of Friday’s day-night doubleheader, the Nationals locked up home-field advantage through the NLCS, duplicating their feat from 2012. “If…
Sep 26, 2014, 3:38 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Upon clinching the NL East title 10 days ago, the Nationals all insisted they would continue to play hard the rest of the way, attempting to win as many more games as they could and clinch the NL’s best record. Well, they did it with three games to spare. Behind an…
Sep 26, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT
Denard Span returned to the Nationals’ lineup Friday afternoon, his right knee still scraped up but feeling well enough to return to the field three days after it was injured on a diving catch. Span said he tested the knee prior to Thursday night’s game, running on a treadmill and jumping rope, and emerged with…
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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