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, 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, 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…
Oct 2, 2014, 12:02 PM EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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…
Sep 26, 2014, 10:02 AM EST
Apparently they enjoyed playing two games yesterday so much, the Nationals decided they might as well do it again today! Yes, it’s the second half of a rare, back-to-back doubleheader, with the Marlins now in town for the final series of the regular season. There is something at stake in today’s 1:05 p.m. game: One…
Sep 24, 2014, 8:16 PM EST
Wednesday night’s rainout forced the Nationals to make several pitching adjustments in preparation for the back-to-back doubleheaders they now must play against the Mets and Marlins. But it also may have helped them set up their preferred postseason rotation order, with Stephen Strasburg now lined up to start Game 1 of the NLDS. With day-night…
Sep 24, 2014, 7:00 PM EST
Updated at 7:51 p.m. Tonight’s game against the Mets has been postponed due to rain. The Nationals announced they’ll play a day-night doubleheader against New York on Thursday, with a makeup game at 1:05 p.m. followed by the originally scheduled game at 7:05 p.m. Fans holding tickets for tonight’s rainout can use them for seats…
Sep 24, 2014, 6:36 PM EST
Though he was back in the Nationals’ lineup for Wednesday night’s game against the Mets, Ryan Zimmerman was penciled in to play left field again, still not ready to take his position at third base as the regular-season finale draws closer. Zimmerman, who hadn’t been in the starting lineup for three straight days after feeling…
Sep 24, 2014, 1:29 PM EST
We take a look at the Nationals’ past week, at a glance: Record: 5-1 Team slash: .244/.287/.381 Team ERA: 1.87 Runs per game: 3.16 STOCK UP Adam LaRoche, 1B: 2 HR/ 5 RBI/ 1.089 OPS If this is indeed LaRoche’s final season with the Nationals, he’s definitely making a lasting impact as the team heads into the postseason.…
Sep 24, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
Imagine a right-hander who has won 15 games (tied for the club lead and sixth in the National League), sports a 2.85 ERA (12th in the league), is about to surpass 200 innings pitched and has 10 quality starts in 13 tries since the All-Star break with a 2.65 ERA and 1.04 WHIP during that…
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
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.
*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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