Oct 7, 2014, 7:37 PM EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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 EDT
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,…
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 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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