The Washington Nationals (79-51) felt like bustin’ loose, which is exactly what they have been doing since snapping a season-high five-game losing streak. In the past two games, the Nationals have outscored opponents 16-5. The Nationals’ 19-year-old rookie Bryce Harper, who is 4-for-10 with three home runs and six RBIs during their modest two-game winning streak, produced more than one-quarter of those runs. Ladies and gentlemen, the slumps have been left behind. Now 5 1/2 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, the Nationals will look to take down the St. Louis Cardinals (71-60) again in the second of a four-game series. Hot right-hander Adam Wainwright takes the mound for the Cardinals and will be opposed by Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who is still searching for his 17th win. Continue reading
Washington Nationals right-hander Edwin Jackson deserves all the attention today.
Sure, Bryce Harper hit his third home run in two games and Jayson Werth hit his first since May 5, but Jackson was nothing short of brilliant as he led the Nationals to an 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals – their second straight after a five-game losing streak.
It may have taken 123 pitches, but Jackson finished the night having tossed eight dominant innings, allowing just one unearned run on four hits while walking two and striking out 10. It was the seventh time Jackson struck out 10 or more batters in his career and the second this year.
But as much as Jackson accomplished on the mound, his efforts elsewhere did not go unnoticed.
After grounding into a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the sixth, Jackson slid hard into second, breaking up a double play and allowing Danny Espinosa to add another run.
Yes, Jackson deserves all the attention. And he will garner much of it. But for now, here is a look at some of the bigger stories that developed this week and some that you may have missed. Continue reading
After losing five straight games to divisional opponents, a stretch during which the team was outscored 26-6, the Washington Nationals (78-51) managed to get back in the win column last night when they beat the Miami Marlins by a score of 8-4. It was a game that presented no shortage of theatrics, as 19-year-old rookie Bryce Harper netted two career firsts – his first multi-home run game and his first ejection. Tonight, the Nationals open an 11-game home stand, their longest of the season, with a four-game set against the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals (71-59). For the Cardinals, it will be left-hander Jaime Garcia against his former teammate, right-hander Edwin Jackson of the Nationals. Continue reading
Welcome to today’s “Quote of the day,” or what would have been titled “Quotes of the day” had I not decided to go with the attention-grabbing headline that I did.
By now, you have heard about the Washington Nationals’ 8-4 win over the Miami Marlins, which served to snap a five-game losing streak last night. You may have also heard about Bryce Harper‘s amazing multi-home run game, which included a great catch and an even greater throw home to keep Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano from scoring in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Or, perhaps you have yet to hear about any of this. If that is the case, you have probably been overwhelmingly occupied, as expected, with Harper’s ninth-inning ejection, a first for the 19-year-old rookie. You can read all about the incident right here. You can also check out the video, courtesy of MLB.com.
After the game, Nationals manager Davey Johnson was asked about the ejection and offered an interesting alternative for putting passion on display.
“Come inside the runway and break a bat over your head or something,” Johnson said.
Fortunately, Harper has another, more mature plan.
“I just need to stop getting pissed off and just live with it,” Harper said. “I just need to grow up in that mentality a little bit. Try not to bash stuff in and things that I’ve always done my whole life. Those need to change.”
That’ll do Bryce, that’ll do.
Much can be said about Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals’ rookie sensation, and much of it would probably be fairly accurate. But no matter what is said, or how one feels about the 19-year-old, no one can deny the passion with which he plays the game – unless, of course, one mistakes that passion for immaturity.
It would be an easy mistake to make for sure. Behind the broken bats, broken blood vessels and tossed batting helmets, there is a fervent young player that does not quite understand how to express himself. As such, he acts out in ways that one would expect a teenager to act out – immaturely.
Harper’s most recent brush with passion, and the play that will almost assuredly garner much of today’s media attention, came in last night’s slump-busting 8-4 win over the Miami Marlins. Continue reading
Yesterday was another day, another loss for the Washington Nationals (77-51), who last night dropped the first of a short two-game series with the Miami Marlins (59-71) to extend their losing streak to five games. It was also a tough outing for right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who struggled with command as he surrendered a career-high seven runs and tied a career-low for strikeouts with just three through five innings pitched. The loss was also enough for manager Davey Johnson to call a team meeting, something for which he is not typically known. Presumably, Johnson is hoping that the meeting will spark new life in a recently sluggish lineup. They will need it tonight as they send left-hander Ross Detwiler out to face Jacob Turner, the Marlins’ new 21-year-old rookie. Continue reading
It is no secret that Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals’ 19-year-old outfielder, has suffered a bit of a slump in the second half of the season. In fact, it is very well documented. I would even go so far as to say that it is hard to avoid hearing about it.
After posting a .282/.354/.472 line with 15 doubles, eight home runs and 25 RBIs in the first half of his rookie campaign, Harper’s numbers have regressed. Since the All-Star break, Harper has batted just .195/.266/.314 with three doubles, four home runs and 12 RBIs.
Naturally, his performance has raised some questions about whether or not he deserves a spot in the starting lineup, especially with the likes of Roger Bernadina, Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore idling on the bench. You can go here to read my comments on the situation, or you can read what Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo had to about it this morning when he joined Holden & Danny for his weekly segment, the “Mike Rizzo Show,” on 106.7 The Fan.
When asked how Harper’s development can be balanced with the fact that the Nationals are in the midst of their first pennant race, Rizzo’s response was a short one.
“Let him play every damn day,” Rizzo said. “We’re a better team when Bryce Harper is in the lineup.”
Victims of a complete-game shutout. Losers of five straight. Dethroned by the Cincinnati Reds. What more can be said about the Washington Nationals’ recent stroke of poor play? There is quite a lot, actually.
It could be pointed out that right-hander Stephen Strasburg suffered what could be considered one of the worst starts in his young career, tying a career low in strikeouts with three and setting a career high in runs allowed with seven. Or, it might be worth noting that following Atlanta’s 2-0 win over San Diego, the Nationals lead in the National League East has been cut to just four games. And need I remind you of the fact that a 270-pound Carlos Lee stole second base standing last night?
There are plenty of stories surrounding the now second-best Nationals that command discussion. But since I have the luxury of choosing what to write about, I am going to leave the negativity to the professionals. Besides, my thoughts were made clear yesterday when I pointed out the potential turning point this series could provide for the Nationals.
Instead, I am going to use this time to talk about the young pitcher the Nationals just shut down for the remainder of the season. Perhaps you have heard about it. Continue reading
The weekend was not kind to the Washington Nationals (77-50), who were swept in a three-game series by the Philadelphia Phillies and extended their losing streak to four games. That is the big story. The bigger story is Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg and his impending shutdown. After making 25 starts and tossing 145 1/3 innings, Strasburg is only expected to have a handful of remaining starts for the Nationals before he is shut down as part of his Tommy John surgery rehabilitation plan. One of those starts will come tonight when Strasburg and the Nationals begin a two-game series with the Miami Marlins (58-71) – a series that could prove to be a potential turning point in the Nationals’ season. Looking to keep the Nationals in the loss column will be Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco. Continue reading
Chad Tracy, the Washington Nationals’ resident pinch-hit extraordinaire, has a lot to be happy about these days. Not only did he just sign a contract extension that will keep him in D.C. through the 2013 season, but he will also presumably keep his locker, which resides alongside the locker that belongs to the Adonis that is Roger Bernadina.
How does Tracy feel about Bernadina?
“The guy is a Greek god,” Tracy said. “If I had that body, I’d never have clothes on.”