May 28, 2014, 1:16 PM EDT
ATLANTA BRAVES Superb pitching and just enough hitting. It’s been the Braves’ formula for success this season, and one they continue to ride as they still sit atop the division this week. They may not have the best lineup in the league, but at this rate, they may not have to. They have enough talent…
May 28, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT
Matt Williams, from the moment he took over as manager of the Nationals, has preached an aggressive style of baserunning, encouraging his players to make a more concerted effort to take extra bases when given the opportunity. Which isn’t to say he wants his players running at will on the bases, either. In his words,…
May 27, 2014, 7:16 PM EDT
Updated at 8:12 p.m. A major thunderstorm that swept through the Washington area forced the postponement of Tuesday night’s game between the Nationals and Marlins, which will not be made up for some time, perhaps not until the final weekend of the season. Rain began falling at Nationals Park shortly after 6 p.m. and became…
May 27, 2014, 5:58 PM EDT
Ryan Zimmerman will take a full round of batting practice and field groundballs at third base Wednesday for the first time since fracturing his right thumb April 12, but the injured Nationals slugger continues to work in left field as the Nationals try to prepare themselves for a variety of scenarios moving forward. After an…
May 27, 2014, 3:27 PM EDT
The Nationals aren’t scoring runs. This probably isn’t news to you. They’ve scored a total of 14 runs over their last six games (five of them losses). In their 26 losses this season, they’ve scored 52 total runs. Yes, that’s an average of 2 runs per game. (FYI: They’ve scored an average of 5.84 runs…
May 25, 2014, 6:38 PM EDT
PITTSBURGH — There are pitchers who will openly say they take the mound with a little extra emotion and motivation when their club is in the midst of a losing streak and desperately needs to put an end to it. Some guys relish the idea of being their team’s stopper. Doug Fister, though, doesn’t buy…
May 25, 2014, 4:44 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: They entered today on a four-game losing streak, with a sub-.500 record and mounting concern in the clubhouse. Yet the Nationals had to feel encouraged about their chances in their series finale at PNC Park, for several reasons: 1) They had Adam LaRoche back from the DL, 2) They were facing…
May 25, 2014, 12:54 PM EDT
PITTSBURGH — There was perhaps no more pleasant development for the Washington Nationals in April than the re-emergence of Danny Espinosa after a disastrous 2013 that threatened his future with the organization. And there has been perhaps no more discouraging development for the Nationals in May than the regression of Espinosa back into the form…
May 25, 2014, 10:28 AM EDT
PITTSBURGH — You may want to avert your eyes for a moment, but I feel compelled to share this fact: If the Nationals lose today, they would suffer their first four-game sweep since July 2009 against the Cubs, their first four-game road sweep since August 2008 in Milwaukee. Yikes. But enough with the negative news.…
May 25, 2014, 12:21 AM EDT
PITTSBURGH — Stephen Strasburg wants to be the guy on the mound trying to pitch his way out of jams in huge spots late in ballgames. The Nationals want Strasburg to be the guy on the mound trying to pitch his way out of jams in huge spots late in ballgames. So it was that…
May 24, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: A rare showdown between fellow No. 1 overall draft picks played out as most would have hoped, with Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole trading blows for much of the night in a tense, low-scoring ballgame. Strasburg, the top pick in 2009, appeared to have the edge on Cole, the top pick…
May 24, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT
PITTSBURGH — Adam LaRoche walked into the visitors clubhouse at PNC Park this afternoon, found a locker waiting with his equipment and uniform already in place and made it clear he will be in the Nationals’ lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the the Pirates. “Yeah,” he said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.” Having emerged…
May 24, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT
PITTSBURGH — There have been 49 Major League Baseball amateur drafts, and of the 49 players selected with the No. 1 overall pick, only 16 have been pitchers. And two of those 16 pitchers (Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole) will be on the mound tonight at PNC Park, squaring off against each other. It’s only…
May 24, 2014, 11:22 AM EDT
PITTSBURGH — The Nationals woke up this morning a .500 club, and the majority of the blame for that is being heaped upon a lineup that ranks dead-last in baseball this month in runs (63), batting average (.228) and on-base percentage (.290). And rightfully so. The No. 1 issue facing this club right now is…
May 24, 2014, 12:06 AM EDT
PITTSBURGH — The Washington Nationals, a team that only two months ago headed north from Florida with a loaded roster and the loftiest of expectations, fielded a lineup Friday night that featured one player with a batting average over .277. And that was their pitcher. Their cleanup man was hitting .182. The highest batting average…
May 23, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: It’s a struggle for the Nationals to score runs these days, with a lineup lacking Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper. But these guys seem to be finding new ways every night to drive themselves (and their fans) crazy when it comes to clutch situations at the plate. Despite a…
May 23, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT
PITTSBURGH — Gio Gonzalez’s planned throwing session Friday — his first since going on the disabled list Sunday — was called off after the Nationals left-hander noted stiffness in his injured shoulder. Manager Matt Williams expressed no concern about the development, referring to it as “normal” and saying Gonzalez simply will be pushed back a…
May 23, 2014, 3:32 PM EDT
PITTSBURGH — Hello from beautiful PNC Park, which looks spectacular as always. After staying back in D.C. last night to appear on CSN’s Baseball Show, I made the easy drive up here this morning and will be on-site the rest of the weekend. The Nationals are trying to bounce back from a tough 3-1 loss…
May 23, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney: 1. Oakland Athletics (LW: 3) — Zuckerman: It took a couple of years, but ex-Nats prospect Derek Norris is living up to the billing at last. 2. Detroit Tigers (LW: 1) — Roney: Really encouraging work…
May 22, 2014, 3:32 PM EDT
Blake Treinen impressed in his first career start 16 days ago against the Dodgers. Tonight, the right-hander gets a chance to make a second impression, rejoining the Nationals rotation to replace the injured Gio Gonzalez. Treinen was very good in two starts with Class AAA Syracuse since we last saw him (three runs allowed in…
May 21, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT
It’s been something of an odd, nomadic existence so far for Doug Fister. He was traded to the Nationals five months ago, but all of his time to date had been spent away from his new home. Fister spent the spring in Viera, Fla., with the rest of his teammates, then stayed there after landing…
May 21, 2014, 12:28 AM EDT
What’s a good leadoff man worth? How much difference does it make if the guy atop a team’s lineup is productive or not? For the Nationals, it appears to mean everything. Put simply: When Denard Span does well, the Nats do well. When he doesn’t, they don’t. “It sets up everything,” teammate Jayson Werth said.…
May 20, 2014, 10:08 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Talk about an imposing matchup: The Nationals, who have scored the fewest runs in the majors in May and have struggled all season against right-handers, had to go up against the best pitcher in baseball to date. Johnny Cueto entered with a 1.25 ERA, the first pitcher modern baseball history to…
May 20, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT
The latest X-ray of Ryan Zimmerman’s right thumb showed the fracture that has sidelined him more than five weeks has not fully healed, preventing the Nationals third baseman from being able to start hitting and delaying his eventual return from the disabled list. Zimmerman, out since fracturing the thumb on an April 12 pickoff play…
May 20, 2014, 3:23 PM EDT
The Nationals’ lineup — in its current, injury-plagued form — is not particularly effective against right-handed pitching. Their .236 team batting average against righties ranks 23rd in the majors this season. (As opposed to their .284 batting average against left-handers, third-best in baseball.) So tonight’s matchup against Johnny Cueto does not particularly favor the Nats.…
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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.
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- Roark gets the start for Nats at Wrigley
- State of the Nats: Rolling into Wrigley for Bryant vs. Harper
- Harper showing he can excel at 'the little things'
- Advice from teammates helps Gio get back on track vs. Phillies
- Anthony Rendon to take big step forward in rehab this week
- Strong Gio start secures another series win for Nats
- Nationals aim for another series win against Philly
- Still no answer for Strasburg's woes
- Strasburg rocked again during ugly 8-1 loss to Phillies
- Roark ready for Monday start in Chicago