What was originally scheduled to be the most significant series of the year for the Washington Nationals (89-54) and the Atlanta Braves (81-63) is now scheduled for standard fanfare – and it begins tonight as the two division rivals open a three-game series in what will be their final meeting of the regular season.
Since drawing to within four games of the Nationals on August 28, the Braves have played .500 baseball and watched their deficit jump to 8 1/2 games while the Nationals have scored a league-high 96 runs. Now, rather than hoping to close the gap that separates them from the Nationals, the Braves will look to put distance between themselves and the myriad teams hoping for a wild card.
Tonight’s matchup pits Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler against Braves righty Kris Medlen, who has returned to the rotation in his first full season since a 2010 Tommy John surgery, in what will be a rematch of their last meeting on August 22 at Nationals Park. Continue reading →
Last night’s 11-5 win over the Chicago Cubs (51-84) marked a number of firsts for the Washington Nationals (83-52). First and foremost, it marked the first time since moving to Washington that the team has won 83 games. Each subsequent win will set a new high-water mark for the franchise as well. It also marked the first time a D.C. team has hit five or more home runs at home, including Griffith Stadium. Finally, it marked the debut of right-handed pitched Christian Garcia, who spent eight years in the minor leagues after suffering through three elbow surgeries.
Tonight, the Nationals will look to lock down a series win by taking the third of a four-game series with the Cubs. In order to do so, they will have to face right-hander Chris Volstad, who will be opposed by 17-game winner Gio Gonzalez. Continue reading →
After two wins in as many extra-inning games, the Washington Nationals (67-43) are just hours away from meeting the Houston Astros (36-75) for the third game of a four-game set. Last night, Nationals’ center fielder Roger Bernadina saved the game in the bottom of the 12th inning with an amazing catch that has already made its rounds. Tonight, Nationals’ left-hander Gio Gonzaleztakes the mound opposite Astros’ right-hander Armando Galarraga.
In his last outing against the Miami Marlins, Gonzalez (13-6, 3.34 ERA) made his lengthiest appearance of the season, going eight strong innings and tying a season-high for strikeouts with 10. Despite a strong showing, Gonzalez was saddled with the loss. He looks for his 14th win tonight, which would tie him with three others for the National League lead.
Gonzalez’s only other start against Houston came at home on April 17 – a 1-0 win that saw the pitcher throw seven shutout innings on two hits and two walks while striking out eight.
Galarraga (0-1, 5.23 ERA) began the year with the Astros’ Class A affiliate Lexington Legends after signing a minor league contract on May 21. In his last outing, his second with the Astros, Galarraga suffered a loss to the Atlanta Braves after throwing just 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on five hits and seven walks while striking out four.
Galarraga has never made an appearance against the Nationals.
Last night’s win left the Nationals with the best record in all of baseball. It also extended their lead over the Braves in the NL East to four games. Jayson Werthwill be back in the lineup, as will Kurt Suzuki, who will catch Gonzalez for the first time since the two were teammates in Oakland.
It is probably safe to assume that many fans of the Washington Nationals are going to take this morning as an opportunity to discuss the team’s thrilling 12-inning win over the Houston Astros, which came in the early morning hours on a spectacular game-ending catch that sent outfielder Roger Bernadina crashing into the fences. The win extended the Nationals’ lead over the Atlanta Braves in the National League East to four games and left them in sole possession of the best record in all of baseball. Go ahead and take a minute to relive the excitement. If you missed it, you can check out all the action right here.
But in an attempt to offer some less-circulated content, this time will instead be used to discuss Nationals closer Tyler Clippard, his recent performance in a relatively new role and how his confidence has played a part in that performance. Continue reading →
After a four-game series with their divisional opponent Miami Marlins this weekend, a series that saw the Washington Nationals take three games to hold a three-game lead in the National League East over the Atlanta Braves, the Nationals began a 10-game road trip in Houston last night that will see the likes of the Astros, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants. With four games set against the basement-dwelling Astros, who currently hold the worst record in baseball with just 36 wins opposite 74 losses, the Nationals have an opportunity to extend their lead in the NL East before coming home to begin an 11-game run that will pit them against each team in the division. But the future is a discussion for another day. For now, let us revisit last night’s unusual win and chat about a few stories you may have missed. Continue reading →