All posts in baseball

15Jun

Fighting till the battle’s won, the Nationals go rolling along

As the U.S. Army celebrated its 246th birthday, the Washington Nationals found themselves in a battle with the rest of the NFC East. Injuries and inconsistencies have marred the team’s 2021 campaign, leaving them seven games behind the division-leading New York Mets.

Late-inning heroics by newly-promoted leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber, who launched his team-leading 13th home run into the right field stands in the bottom of the seventh, paved the way to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates in the series opener.

While starter Jon Lester has yet to earn his first win as a member of the Nationals, the 37-year-old soldiered through a respectable outing — allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings pitched — as Washington won for the third time in four games.

Reliever Kyle Finnegan picked up the win and closer Brad Hand earned his 12th save of the season, thanks in large part to Schwarber’s fourth homer in three games.

23May

Ryan Zimmerman, Josh Harrison pace Nats bats to continue O’s woes

First baseman/face of the franchise Ryan Zimmerman has long been one of the most beloved players in Washington Nationals’ history. His three-run homer in the fourth inning helped Washington battle back from an early five-run deficit to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 12-9. 

As if that wasn’t enough, after scoring the 948th run of his storied career two innings later, Zimmerman surpassed Hall of Famer Tim Raines for the franchise lead. All of which was a welcome distraction from the fact that starting pitcher Jon Lester was rocked early and often – giving up a grand slam in the first inning before most fans had even taken their seats. 

The Nats offense, which has been inconsistent at times this season, responded with 15 hits and 12 runs, thanks largely to Zimmerman and Josh Harrison’s first grand slam. Daniel Hudson picked up the win and Brad Hand earned the save as Washington improved to 19-23 on the year. 

17Apr

Schwarber’s walk-off winner propels Nats over Diamondbacks

Washington Nationals starter and first-ballot Hall of Famer Max Scherzer did everything within his power to secure a victory over his former club, the Arizona Diamondbacks — striking out 10 while allowing no runs, two hits and two walks over seven innings.

In fact, his outing was so impressive that the 36-year-old actually surpassed the legendary Cy Young for the 22nd-most strikeouts (2,807) of all-time. And yet, Scherzer’s heroic effort was nearly wasted because of Washington’s inability to produce anything resembling a coherent offense.

While Scherzer is easily one of the most intense and competitive athletes in professional sports, he’s probably willing to live with a no-decision on this day. That’s because left fielder Kyle Schwarber picked a fine time for his first home run as a member of the Nationals, launching a towering solo shot to the ballpark’s second deck in the bottom of the ninth inning to end the game 1-0 in the most dramatic of fashion.

23Aug

Marlins earn first ‘home’ win of the season at Nats Park

When Sixto Sanchez dreamed of winning his first home game, it’s safe to say this wasn’t how he envisioned it playing out. The highly-touted youngster won his major league debut in an empty ballpark nowhere near Miami to split a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals, 5-3.

Thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in 17 Marlins players being sidelined, an early-season matchup between these two teams was called off. A month later, Major League Baseball rescheduled the game as a doubleheader in Washington, with the Marlins labeled the home team during the nightcap.

Home runs by catcher Yan Gomes and outfielder Victor Robles were not enough to keep Washington from falling to 10-14 on the season.

23Aug

Mad Max muzzles Miami Marlins

Pitcher Max Scherzer wasn’t at his best — allowing four fifth-inning runs — but the three-time Cy Young Award winner was good enough to earn his second victory of the season.

Once Scherzer’s day was done, Kyle Finnegan, Tanner Rainey and Daniel Hudson retired seven straight batters to halt Miami’s potential rally and secure a 5-4 victory in the first game of a doubleheader.

09Aug

Nationals left reeling after Baltimore bullies bullpen

All seemed right in the universe as the Washington Nationals jumped out to an early lead and were cruising to an apparent victory against the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles.

That is, until relievers Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson imploded in horrific fashion during a cover-your-eyes collapse that turned a three-run lead into a 5-3 loss. Homers by Pat Valaika, Pedro Severino and Anthony Santander sparked the Orioles’ comeback and left Doolittle searching for answers.

“I should be able to get through an inning and it just hasn’t come together. I feel terrible. I’m letting the team down. I want to help. I want to be a part of that group,” said Doolittle, who now sports a 18.00 earned run average in four appearances this season. The loss drops the Nationals to 4-7 on this season, which is troublesome because they have yet to play a game away from Nats Park.

31Jul

Hot bats pace ‘visiting’ Nats in win over Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays hosted the defending World Series champions, the Washington Nationals, during an early-season matchup at Nationals Park. If that sentences baffles you, you’re not alone. Welcome to life during a pandemic.

Thanks to COVID-19, the Blue Jays are unable to play games at their Toronto stadium. While the long-term plan for the abbreviated 2020 season involves playing at a Triple-A ballpark in Buffalo, the Blue Jays had to settle for a few empty ballpark home games in D.C. in the interim.

Outfielder Michael A. Taylor’s second home run of the season and a two-run double by catcher Kurt Suzuki helped Washington pick up consecutive wins for the first time this season. Relief pitcher Ryne Harper got five outs in the 6-4 win and closer Daniel Hudson notched his first save.

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