Apr 12, 2014, 1:19 AM EST
ATLANTA — There’s something about these games between the Nationals and Braves, something that elevates them from mere afterthoughts in a 162-game season into epic clashes with twists and turns and oddities that just don’t seem to happen against any other opponent. There’s also something about the most-common result of these nip-and-tuck games: The Braves…
Apr 11, 2014, 11:30 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Not even Tolstoy would have enough ink to cram every detail of this ballgame into one leather-bound book, but we’ll try to present the Cliff Notes’ version… Tanner Roark was beaten around for four early runs, putting the Nationals in another early hole. Ryan Zimmerman’s bomb off Julio Teheran in the…
Apr 11, 2014, 6:35 PM EST
ATLANTA — Doug Fister took another key step toward his eventual return from a strained lat muscle on Friday, throwing 35 pitches in a bullpen session at Turner Field and reporting no problems with either his side or his elbow. “Really impressive,” manager Matt Williams said. “Threw it where he wanted to, had good life,…
Apr 11, 2014, 3:56 PM EST
ATLANTA — Hello from Turner Field, where tonight the Nationals (owners of a best-in-baseball 7-2 record) open a big, three-game series with the Braves (who after losing two of three to the Mets sit at 5-4 overall). As has been noted, the Nats found themselves with the exact same record one year ago, facing the…
Apr 10, 2014, 1:02 AM EST
It took 62 tries, not until a June 9 doubleheader against the Twins, before the 2013 Nationals came from three runs down to win a ballgame. Only eight games into the 2014 season, the Nationals have already done it twice. And after Wednesday’s dramatic, back-and-forth, plucked-out-of-thin-air, 10-7 victory over the Marlins, it was perhaps fair…
Apr 9, 2014, 11:03 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Where to begin? We’ll start with Jordan Zimmermann, who was downright awful in getting roughed up for five runs in only 1 2/3 innings, putting his teammates in a quick 5-0 hole. Slowly but surely, though, the Nationals got themselves back into it. Craig Stammen was brilliant out of the bullpen,…
Apr 9, 2014, 6:32 PM EST
Having successfully made it through two days of rest and then two days of limited throwing with a new sidearm motion, Ryan Zimmerman returned to the Nationals lineup Wednesday night, plugged back into his usual spot at third base and hoping he can make it through the season with no more disruptions. “It’s a constant…
Apr 9, 2014, 3:27 PM EST
Ryan Zimmerman, as promised, is back in the Nationals’ lineup. And he’s back at third base, hoping to battle his way through a bad shoulder by altering his throwing motion, dipping down to go sidearm all the time after committing two painful errors throwing overhand last week. Whether this experiment works remains to be seen.…
Apr 9, 2014, 10:42 AM EST
Though he had seen occasional action at third base from time to time, Anthony Rendon had made the mental switch to second base last summer, once he arrived in Washington and found himself with an opportunity to play every day at an unfamiliar position. His defensive work has paid dividends; he has become a quality…
Apr 8, 2014, 11:57 PM EST
We’ve already seen in this young season the Nationals run themselves out of a potential victory with some over-aggressiveness on the bases. Painful as their 2-1 loss to the Braves in Friday’s home opener was, players insisted they’ll benefit in the long run if they keep applying pressure the way new manager Matt Williams has…
Apr 8, 2014, 10:06 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: On a chilly April evening, the pitchers figured to be ahead of the hitters. And sure enough, that was true for Gio Gonzalez and Henderson Alvarez. The two young starters combined to allow only one run through 5 1/2 innings. That’s not to say Gonzalez was in top form; he racked…
Apr 8, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
The Nationals are tweaking the order of their rotation, bumping Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg up to face the Marlins the next two days while pushing Tanner Roark back to face the Braves on Friday night. Using Monday’s day off as an opportunity to reconfigure things, manager Matt Williams decided to push his top two…
Apr 8, 2014, 6:03 PM EST
Ryan Zimmerman wants to play and help the Nationals as best he can. The Nationals want Zimmerman to play and help them as best he can. At the moment, the best place for him to do that is at third base. So Zimmerman, dealing with significant pain in his right shoulder that is unlikely to…
Apr 8, 2014, 3:23 PM EST
Some four hours before tonight’s scheduled first pitch, Ryan Zimmerman was out on the field, making sidearm throws across the diamond from third base to first base. He then huddled up with Matt Williams, Nationals coaches and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz for several minutes before heading back down the dugout tunnel. The verdict: Zimmerman,…
Apr 8, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
It’s been three days since Ryan Zimmerman last took his position in the field for the Nationals, departing abruptly after his latest attempt to throw the ball across the diamond sailed over Adam LaRoche’s head with minimal velocity and maximum awkwardness. Since then, Zimmerman has had a chance to rest. He has had his right…
Apr 6, 2014, 12:45 PM EST
Whew. Three stories about Nationals’ injuries later, and it’s time for the game thread. We’re just five games into the Nats’ 2014 season and what a ride it has been. Today the Nationals have a game to play, and it’s about as important as an April game can be. They will look to avoid a…
Apr 6, 2014, 12:53 AM EST
Whether there has been a mental component to Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing issues over the last two-plus years remains a topic of discussion. There is no debating, however, the physical component of this longstanding problem, as became painfully obvious Saturday night during the Nationals’ 6-2 loss to the Braves. After committing another ghastly throwing error in…
Apr 5, 2014, 10:42 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: For three innings Saturday night, the crowd of 37,841 at Nationals Park had ample reason to get excited and believe the hometown club would make progress in overcoming the psychological demons that are the rival Braves. And then Ryan Zimmerman attempted to make a routine throw across the diamond in the…
Apr 5, 2014, 6:00 PM EST
Updated at 1:10 a.m. Bryce Harper exudes confidence like few, if any, 21-year-olds have in baseball history. So when the Nationals left fielder shows a rare display of doubt, as he did following the Nationals’ 6-2 loss to the Braves on Saturday night, it’s perhaps more striking than any home run he hits or laser…
Apr 5, 2014, 3:36 PM EST
There’s no such thing as a must-win game on April 5. There simply isn’t. Now, having made that disclaimer, the Nationals sure would like to win tonight’s game against the Braves. Not because it would have any dramatic effect on the NL East standings less than one week into the season. But because another loss…
Apr 4, 2014, 9:00 PM EST
Matt Williams wants his Nationals to be aggressive on the bases. That much he has made clear since the day he was introduced as the club’s new manager. Williams, though, always adds one important caveat to that sentiment. “We want to take advantage of it when it’s there for us,” he said. “But we also…
Apr 4, 2014, 4:13 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: With fanfare, somber event remembrances and award presentations, the Nationals took the field for their home opener amid plenty of buzz. Then baseball took center stage, and a tense, nip-and-tuck ballgame between two talented division rivals broke out. Jordan Zimmermann, still battling the stomach virus that prevented him from starting yesterday…
Apr 4, 2014, 12:09 PM EST
The Nationals’ $134 million payroll, by far their largest in 10 seasons since arriving in the District, can’t be stretched much more without new sources of revenue, principal owner Mark Lerner said Friday. “We’re beyond topped out,” Lerner said prior to the Nationals’ home opener. “Our payroll, as you know, has skyrocketed to about $140…
Apr 4, 2014, 9:37 AM EST
The Nationals have listed Jordan Zimmermann as their starting pitcher for today’s home opener against the Braves. Zimmermann, who was scratched from yesterday’s start in New York with a nasty stomach virus, came home early and was hopeful of pitching this game. It appears his condition has improved enough to take the mound this afternoon.
Apr 4, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
For all the rehashing and overanalyzing that took place at the end of the 2013 season, anyone who was trying to figure out what went wrong for the Nationals really could point to one simple fact: They couldn’t beat the Braves.
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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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