Oct 9, 2014, 1:00 PM EST
When injuries forced the Nationals into acquiring a second baseman this summer, they went out and got Asdrubal Cabrera, a former All-Star shortstop with the Indians who switched to the other side of the infield for the first time in five years and performed admirably down the stretch for his new club. Cabrera now is…
Oct 8, 2014, 8:30 AM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — Ryan Zimmerman, even-keeled to the end, tried to put into perspective what has happened to the Nationals the last three seasons. “I think winning the division two out of three years is pretty good,” the veteran third baseman said late Tuesday night inside the losing clubhouse at AT&T Park. “I think people…
Oct 8, 2014, 12:23 AM EST
Updated at 4:00 a.m. SAN FRANCISCO — Postseason baseball requires the utmost precision. Every pitch is magnified. Every swing is crucial. Every fielding attempt is life-or-death. The teams that win in October are the ones, quite simply, that don’t make mistakes. They pitch well. They hit at the right moments. They make all the plays…
Oct 7, 2014, 7:37 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Williams won’t name his starting pitcher for a potential Game 5 of the NLDS just yet, not with victory in Game 4 tonight still a prerequisite for that scenario to even come to fruition. But one revelation the Nationals manager offered up about his plan for tonight’s do-or-die game — Stephen…
Oct 7, 2014, 5:53 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — The Nationals won a do-or-die game yesterday, no small achievement. But all that did was set the stage for another do-or-die game tonight, in which a win would only ensure one final do-or-die game Thursday in D.C. In other words, the task remains tall. The matchup in Game 4, however, does favor…
Oct 7, 2014, 2:45 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — His overall numbers (3-for-14) don’t blow you away, but don’t let the numbers fool you. Bryce Harper has played a huge role for the Nationals in the NLDS, never more so than in Game 3 on Monday. Let’s start with his ninth-inning home run, another titanic shot over the high wall in…
Oct 7, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — All around him was chaos. AT&T Park was ready to explode from within, a sellout crowd of 43,627 roaring and trying to rattle the man who stood on the mound amid it all. The Giants had two men on with nobody out, Rafael Soriano and Matt Thornton were racing to the right-field…
Oct 6, 2014, 11:10 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Williams gave some thought to benching Wilson Ramos for Game 3 of the NLDS in favor of Jose Lobaton, the backup catcher who worked so well all season with right-hander Doug Fister. In the end, though, the Nationals manager felt like Ramos’ potential at the plate outweighed whatever Lobaton might bring…
Oct 6, 2014, 7:57 PM EST
Updated at 10:30 p.m. SAN FRANCISCO — Inning after inning, they tried in vain to plate a run. Just one lousy run. For 21 torturous innings that stretched from early evening Saturday on South Capitol Street to late Monday afternoon alongside McCovey Cove, the Nationals simply could not do it. And then, with one perfectly…
Oct 6, 2014, 4:26 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — Though they considered possible changes for a win-or-else Game 3 of the NLDS, the Nationals decided to stick with the same lineup that produced a total of three runs in 27 innings in Games 1 and 2 against the Giants. Which meant Ryan Zimmerman remained on the bench, available only as a…
Oct 6, 2014, 2:02 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — And so it has come to this. After 96 wins in 162 regular-season games, the Nationals’ 2014 campaign comes down to a win-or-else Game 3 this afternoon at AT&T Park. To answer the question on everyone’s minds: No, Ryan Zimmerman is not in the lineup today. Matt Williams is going with the…
Oct 6, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
SAN FRANCISCO — They left Washington early Sunday morning, the sting of a 6-hour loss surpassed only by the realization a 6-hour flight now awaited them. “It was a quiet bus trip after the game,” center fielder Denard Span said. “Just frustration, exhausted. Nothing needs to be said. We all know what we have to…
Oct 5, 2014, 9:11 PM EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 EST
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 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…
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