Apr 24, 2014, 2:16 PM EST
Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney: CLICK HERE TO LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY 1. Atlanta Braves (LW: 1) – Roney: The game-calling might not be quite there, but Evan Gattis is making sure they don’t miss Brain McCann too much. 2. Milwaukee Brewers…
Apr 24, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
The Nationals have produced enough late rallies already this season — they’ve got seven come-from-behind victories in 22 games — that they don’t ever feel a sense of panic, or feel like all hope is lost. But last night’s bottom-of-the-ninth drama was particularly out-of-the-blue given the situation. Trailing 4-1 and showing little sign of life…
Apr 23, 2014, 10:27 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Trying to avoid an interleague series sweep, the Nationals needed a good start from Gio Gonzalez. They got one, but that still wasn’t good enough. Until some high drama in the bottom of the ninth. Cruising for five innings, Gonzalez quickly got into trouble in the sixth when he walked Mike…
Apr 23, 2014, 5:14 PM EST
Ryan Zimmerman and Scott Hairston each are making progress in their recovery from injuries, Nationals manager Matt Williams said Wednesday. Zimmerman, out since fracturing his right thumb on April 12, has begun conditioning exercises and has even performed some light fielding drills, using only his glove hand for now. The veteran third baseman is running…
Apr 23, 2014, 3:25 PM EST
If the Nationals want to avoid getting swept tonight by the Angels, they might want to at least give themselves a fighting chance and not dig themselves into an early hole yet again. Nine times this season they have given up at least two runs in the first inning; five times they’ve given up at…
Apr 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
The Nationals intended all along for both Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan to retain their spots in the starting rotation until Doug Fister was ready to return from a strained lat muscle, likely in early-May. At that point, the club would decide which young right-hander deserved to remain in the rotation and which one would…
Apr 22, 2014, 11:55 PM EST
Updated at 11:55 p.m. Some around the baseball world recently had been questioning whether the significance of 500 home runs had diminished, especially in the wake of the steroid era. Try telling Albert Pujols what he accomplished Tuesday night at Nationals Park wasn’t significant. The veteran slugger understands the magnitude of what he just did,…
Apr 22, 2014, 9:50 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Bryce Harper and Mike Trout drew all the attention when this series began. Tonight, though, a far more-established star reminded everyone just how special he is. Albert Pujols became just the 26th player in baseball history to join the 500 Home Run Club, launching a pair of blasts off right-hander Taylor…
Apr 22, 2014, 5:26 PM EST
Doug Fister pitched three innings in an extended spring training game Tuesday and reported no problems with his strained lat muscle, leaving the right-hander on track to join the Nationals’ rotation in about two weeks. Fister threw 44 pitches and “felt really good with it,” according to manager Matt Williams. On the disabled list since…
Apr 22, 2014, 3:29 PM EST
For those who were wondering if Matt Williams might give the struggling Ian Desmond a mental night off, the answer is no. At least not on this night. Desmond, who last night committed his MLB-leading eighth and ninth errors of the young season, is right back in there at shortstop against Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs.…
Apr 22, 2014, 3:13 PM EST
Updated at 6:07 p.m. The Nationals, as expected, recalled right-hander Aaron Barrett from Class AAA on Tuesday and optioned lefty Xavier Cedeno back to Syracuse in a bullpen-bolstering move. Barrett, who dominated in his first two weeks as a major-league reliever and retired 13-of-16 batters faced, was sent down April 12 when the Nationals needed…
Apr 22, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
Tyler Clippard has been among baseball’s most-effective relievers for more than four years now, and he has shown an ability to bounce back from several rough stretches along the way. Which is why Nationals manager Matt Williams has continued to show faith in the 29-year-old set-up man and why he didn’t hesitate to stick with…
Apr 21, 2014, 10:24 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: It was billed as a star-studded showdown between Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, but the two phenom outfielders played little role in the outcome of this game. Instead, unheralded starting pitchers Tanner Roark and Garrett Richards kept pitching themselves out of jams, with a lone fourth-inning run manufactured by the Nationals…
Apr 21, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
The Nationals’ late-inning rallies, capped by Denard Span’s walk-off sac fly, were the featured storyline of yesterday’s 3-2 victory over the Cardinals. But there was plenty more worth analyzing from the game, which included all sorts of twists and turns and notable developments. Let’s dig deeper into some of those other angles… — Stephen Strasburg…
Apr 20, 2014, 7:25 PM EST
As Denard Span stepped to the plate late Sunday afternoon, bases full of teammates and the game tied in the bottom of the ninth, he paused for a moment to examine the Cardinals’ unusual-looking infield alignment. “I counted,” he said. “I’m saying: ‘One, two, three, four, five. … A groundball is probably not going to…
Apr 20, 2014, 4:58 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Twenty-four hours after a drama-filled loss that was highlighted by Matt Williams’ decision to bench Bryce Harper for failing to run out a routine grounder, the Nationals were back on the field with renewed purpose in their series finale against the Cardinals. Harper was back in the lineup himself and he…
Apr 20, 2014, 12:29 PM EST
The Nationals were adamant about retaining Danny Espinosa on the heels of a disastrous 2013, despite interest from other clubs over the winter, for one simple reason: He would be their best option to take over an everyday role in the event of injury to any of their starting infielders. Sure enough, with Ryan Zimmerman…
Apr 20, 2014, 10:21 AM EST
It’s a new day at Nationals Park, which means Bryce Harper is out of the doghouse and back into the lineup. It’ll be interesting to see what the fan reaction is when his name is announced and when he steps to the plate for the first time in the bottom of the first. It’ll also…
Apr 18, 2014, 11:31 PM EST
Matt Williams wanted his players to be upset at themselves after Thursday night’s debacle of a loss. But the first-year manager also wanted them to forget all about that game the moment they left Nationals Park and return Friday committed to making things better. So what transpired over the course of 2 hours and 31…
Apr 18, 2014, 9:40 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: On the heels of an atrocious performance Thursday night, Matt Williams challenged his players to return to the park Friday with renewed focus and desire. The Nationals responded in kind, delivering the kind of well-played ballgame Williams had been seeking all along. Gio Gonzalez and Michael Wacha matched pitch-for-pitch, with Wacha…
Apr 18, 2014, 6:03 PM EST
Wilson Ramos took a key step Friday in his return from a broken bone in his left hand, taking light swings for the first time since suffering the injury on Opening Day and reporting no discomfort. “No pain,” the Nationals catcher said. “Not sore. It just feels a little weak.” Ramos broke the hamate bone…
Apr 18, 2014, 3:17 PM EST
Matt Williams wanted his players to be upset about last night’s debacle, but he also wanted them to leave it behind when they left the ballpark and return today committed to playing better ball. We’ll find out how they respond in a few hours. Williams is going with the same lineup that managed only two…
Apr 18, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
Matt Williams knew there would come a time when he would be tested as a big-league manager for the first time. Not for anything he did or said in the dugout during a game. But for what he did or said in the Nationals’ clubhouse after a game. That test came Thursday night when, after…
Apr 17, 2014, 10:17 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: How about “Game in a word” instead of a “nutshell?” The word: U-G-L-Y. The Nationals trailed 3-0 in the first inning (yet again). They played some stupendously sloppy defense (yet again). And they let things get out of hand late. Taylor Jordan was roughed up early, with some major assists —…
Apr 17, 2014, 1:16 PM EST
Here is our first installment of MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney: Click here to launch photo gallery. 1. Atlanta Braves – Zuckerman: If only they could play the Nationals every single night. 2. Oakland Athletics – Roney: Who would’ve thought trading for a closer wouldn’t…
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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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