Scherzer struggled; Nats claw back to tie it from down 5-0; lose it in the end

The game started off quiet in the top of the 1st inning, and then Max Scherzer took the mound in the bottom of the 1st inning and gave up 3 consecutive home runs. Max righted himself eventually but the Nats were behind 5-0 in the 2nd inning. The Nationals offense then climbed back into it but were 0-for-5 in the lead-off spot with Goodwin, and 0-for-4 in the clean-up with Zimmerman who left a team high 3-men on-base and 2 strikeouts on his boxscore.

Daniel Murphy was 3-for-4 in the game and Wilmer Difo was 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs. Matt Wieters really bounced back in this game and was 2-for-4 with 2 doubles. Bryce Harper was pitched around in key spots and took 2 walks and had 1 hit. Harper was robbed of a second hit in the game, but it was clear the strategy that the Diamondbacks were willing to walk Harper with Zimmerman hitting behind him and struggling. Zimmerman is at his lowest batting average of the entire season except for April 8th when he was batting .300. Zimmerman’s night ended at .319. On June 13th, Zimmerman was batting .372, and has watched his batting average drop 53 points. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Recap | Leave a comment

Game #95 Scherzer gets series opener in Arizona

Even coming off of the All-Star break with 4 days off for most players, there were five Nationals’ All-Stars who could use some extra days off like Max Scherzer who gets to pitch tonight on an extra day’s rest. Scherzer was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it was his off-season home until he moved to Florida last year. Scherzer still has some fond memories of Arizona, however Max has always taken it personally when he faces his former teams.

Max Scherzer also got married in Arizona to his wife Erika May Scherzer, and she posted up this photo:

Off day date night back where we got married! 💕

A post shared by Erica May-Scherzer (@emaysway) on

Since we have a game tonight, it is worth mentioning that Bryce Harper is back in the line-up and Ryan Raburn is batting in front of Bryce in the coveted 2-spot. This line-up faces Arizona’s right-hander Zack Godley.
Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, InGame | Leave a comment

Adam Eaton takes his passion for cars to benefit cancer patients!

While Adam Eaton is sidelined with his injured knee, he is still active in two of his favorite activities — fast cars and charitable work. When he told the Dragonfly Foundation that he was going to do a car show at Nationals Park to benefit children and young adults with cancer, it was a win-win. Adam Eaton was rev’d up to get this to the finish line! After a few phone calls and some red tape, Adam got the project greenlighted with the help of the Washington Nationals.

“I am really excited about this fundraiser,” Adam Eaton told us. “As a longtime car enthusiast, I love events like these that bring fellow car folks together, and I am psyched to combine that passion with the Nationals — bringing this event to our ballpark and our fans. I’m also honored to do it in a way that helps The Dragonfly Foundation, a charity that is close to my heart.”

Christine Neitzke and Ria Davidson are the Co-Founders of The Dragonfly Foundation which is a 501c3 non-profit and is dedicated to helping young cancer patients and their families find strength and empower them.

Continue reading

Posted in Feature | Leave a comment

A tip of the cap to Nationals draft pick Alex Meyer

In 2011, the Nationals chose 3 draft picks in the first round, and they were Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin. On this night, Alex Meyer was the star for the Angels as he went 7.0 full innings giving up only one hit and a walk. Meyer got to face Rendon and Goodwin who were the only baserunners in the entire game, and it was Meyer’s former Hagerstown teammate in 2012 who took away his chance for a no-hitter with 2 outs in the 6th inning. Brian Goodwin pulled a hard grounder down the rightfield line for a double to break up the no-hitter.

Gio Gonzalez tied for his second worse start of the 2017 season going 5 2/3 innings while giving up 4 runs. Gio struggled finding his spots much of the night and seemed fortunate to take a 2-0 deficit into the 6th inning, but he unraveled quickly and departed with his team down 4-0 in the 6th inning. Joe Blanton gave up 3 runs in relief and the final score was 7-0, and only the second time this season that the Nationals were shutout. Technically, this was a series split with the Angels who stopped the Nationals winning streak at 6 games.

The Nationals managed just two baserunners the entire game with the Rendon walk and the Goodwin hit, and Nationals batters who had the advantage of the designated hitter did not help themselves or their pitcher, Gio Gonzalez, who desperately needed some run support that would never arrive. The combined one-hitter by the Angels might seem like a great accomplishment against any MLB team, but Dusty Baker only had 3 regulars in the game and the Angels defense robbed Daniel Murphy of a sure double to end the 1st inning, and that is the type of help you need for a no-hitter. Alex Meyer deserves a lot of credit as he made numerous Nats hitters look bad.

Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Recap | Leave a comment

Game #94 Gio Gonzalez back in the AL West tonight!

Photo by SoCal for TalkNats

Before 2012, Gio Gonzalez was a pitcher in the AL West for the Oakland A’s, and he dominated the Angels in their stadium holding them to a .229 average in 5-games in their home ballpark with a 3-1 record.

Gonzalez will face a familiar pitcher tonight in Alex Meyer who was drafted by the Nationals in the 1st round of the 2011 draft. That same draft yielded Brian Goodwin and a young 3rd baseman named Anthony Rendon. Meyer and Goodwin were compensation picks for Adam Dunn who left for free agency. Subsequently, Meyer was traded for Denard Span in a deal with the Minnesota Twins. The Twins then traded Meyer to the Angels.

The Nationals will get to see Meyer from the other side now, and the first batter he will face is Brian Goodwin who was his teammate at Low-A Hagerstown in the Nationals’ system.  Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, InGame | Leave a comment

EJax 7 inning 2 run outing and a 4-4 for Bryce Harper; New bullpen gets the hold & save!

Photo by SoCal for TalkNats

The pixie dust was sprinkled as Edwin Jackson went 7-innings and departed with a 3-2 lead in a spectacular outing by Jackson that he made look easy after the 1st inning. EJax seemed to get stronger as his outing went along. He made a handful of mistake pitches and Mike Trout and Martin Maldanado both tagged him for solo home runs and that was the only scoring on Jackson’s record. New acquisitions Ryan Madson went 1-2-3 in the 8th for a hold and Sean Doolittle struggled in the 9th giving up a lead-off walk and a booming double off the rightfield wall by lefty Kole Calhoun and a run surrendered but in the end Doolittle saved the win in a 4-3 final. The Nationals go up 21 games above .500.

Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, and Adam Lind all had solo home runs and Ryan Zimmerman had a clutch RBI single for all the scoring.

Bryce Harper was 4-for-4 and hit the home run, a triple, and 2 singles. Harper was inches from hitting for the cycle as he was thrown out at 2nd base by an inch or two and the play was close enough to get a video replay challenge but the play on the field was not over-turned. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Recap | Leave a comment

Game #93 New teammate(s) will be part of this game in Anaheim tonight!

In a back to the future type of move, the last time Edwin Jackson was in a Washington Nationals uniform was on October 12th of 2012, and former manager Davey Johnson declared pre-game that he would not go to Edwin Jackson as a reliever —  and then he did. Jackson walked the first man he saw in that 7th inning in the decisive game five of the NLDS, and that lead-off walk eventually scored making that 6-3 lead a tighter 6-4 lead. Jackson was on a 1-year contract in 2012 with the Nationals, and ran the spectrum of very good to poor that season as he finished with a 4.03 ERA that season. That 12th day in October still haunts Nationals fans to this day. The Nationals just saw Drew Storen yesterday in a different uniform. Today they will see Jackson in a Nationals uniform, and he was complicit in that loss like many Nationals players were in game 5. Who would have thought Jackson would return in a Nationals uniform especially one with strong post-season aspirations. There is an irony here that you can find in the weavings of what makes up a team and each player on the roster and how players become part of the team.

Jackson would wear 5 other team’s MLB uniforms and 6 Minor League uniforms after he departed the Nationals in 2012, and now he is back with the Nationals today coming full circle in an occupation that gives multiple opportunities to some like the cat who has 9 lives only Jackson has been with 12 MLB teams under 15 different managers which included one manager who was the same guy, Joe Maddon, who had Jackson with two different teams.

Jackson was unconditionally released by the Baltimore Orioles last month and Mike Rizzo signed him to a Minor Legue deal where Jackson has pitched well in a small sample size of 20 1/3 innings for the Syracuse Chiefs in Triple-A. Dusty Baker was almost giddy upon hearing Rizzo signed Jackson when he said that “[Edwin Jackson] told me he always wanted to play for me.” Being nostalgic is great and who knows when Jackson told Dusty Baker that, but the dose of reality that comes back to you when you go out on a limb is what Dusty has said in the past “this is no try-out camp” has that same feel here, and Edwin Jackson just happened to be at the right spot on the right day this time with very limited options were available to the team after starting pitcher Joe Ross went down with a severe elbow injury and the choices were from a pool of Jacob Turner, A.J. Cole, Erick Fedde and Edwin Jackson. Our sources said that it was Dusty Baker who chose Jackson over Jacob Turner to start tonight.

As mentioned, Jackson has pitched for a dozen MLB teams in his career, one team short of Octavio Dotel’s baker’s dozen (13) of teams, and EJax has had the glory of that 2009 All-Star season when he played against Ryan Zimmerman 8 years ago. Could there be a similar resurrection here for Jackson like Zim has seen? We could find out tonight if this will be a scene out of Disneyland which is just outside the front door of the hotel where the Nationals are staying. Sprinkle on some pixie dust and see if EJax has some magic in his right arm and really gets Dusty Baker to a higher level of giddiness if that is possible.

Edwin Jackson will square off against right-hander Jesse Chavez of the Los Angeles Angels. Chavez had some of his best years for the Oakland A’s will turn 34-years-old next month and has struggled this season with an ERA that has been over 5+ for a chunk of the season and is currently at 4.99 in his 19 appearances. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, InGame | Leave a comment

Dusty wanted 20 games over .500; He got it today!

Three game sweeps are never easy, and the Washington Nationals pulled off the rare four game sweep on the Cincinnati Reds with exceptional starting pitching and a constant barrage of offense scoring 35 runs in this series.

The Washington Nationals starting pitchers in this 4-game series in Cincinnati gave up a total of 1-earned run over 27 1/3 innings. The Nationals offense combined for a power packed 13 home runs in this series, and Ryan Zimmerman‘s home run today was 235th in his Nationals’ career eclipsing Vladimir Guerrero for the most in franchise history when you factor in the Montreal Expos. Next up on the list for Zimmerman is the Washington, D.C. record of 237 home runs by Frank  “Hondo” Howard of the Washington Senators.

The Nationals improved their record to 56-36 which is the 20 games over .500 that Dusty Baker wanted at the All-Star break.  Stephen Strasburg was very good in the game and threw 105 pitches of 1-run baseball over 7.0 innings. The bullpen gave-up nothing as both Joe Blanton and Matt Grace made easy work of the 8th and 9th innings respectively.

“It shows what kind of shape Stras is in because he sweats a lot and he’s usually not real, real good when it’s hot,” Dusty Baker said. “So you can tell he’s really been working and training to deal with this heat. He was very good today.”

This 6-1 win was a low scoring game compared to the last 2 games of this 4-game series, and the Nationals offense was led by Ryan Zimmerman who went 3-for-5 with a home run and 2 singles. It was Zimmerman’s first home run in over a month, and hopefully this gives him some confidence heading into the west coast trip. After the game, Zim kind of confessed how he has been feeling during his month-long homer-less drought. The season is a grind as Zimmerman has often said where you aren’t 100% and the long season takes its toll.

“The last couple of weeks have been a grind, and I haven’t really felt great,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “Yesterday [a scheduled day-off], I started to feel better and today I felt good. I still feel not like I’ve felt a month or so ago, but that’s part of the season and that’s why we play 162 games and you have to find a way to make it through those week or twos when you don’t feel that great.”

Daniel Murphy had his worst game of his Nats’ career with an 0-fer that included 3 strikeouts. While Murphy struggled, many other Nationals players picked him up as teammates do and had big days at the plate including Bryce Harper who had a 3-run home run to start the scoring in the 5-run first inning when the Nationals batted all nine players.  Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Recap | Leave a comment

Game #92 Stephen Strasburg has today; #Nats head to California to pick-up 3 new teammates!

What awaits the Nationals in California is 3 new teammates who will be added to the roster tomorrow. Mike Rizzo confirms on Fantasy Sports Radio on SiriusXM that “We’re going to give Edwin Jackson a chance to pitch Tuesday and see where he is at in his career”. Jackson will join the newly acquired Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson who will be waiting at the team hotel near Anaheim, California as the team arrives tonight.

“This guy has always had good stuff,” Dusty Baker said when Edwin Jackson was acquired on a Minor League deal. “He told me he always wanted to play for me.”

Jackson was just released last month from the Orioles where he gave up 7 runs over 5 innings of which 4 were earned runs (7.20 ERA). This is the same Orioles team that has a starter’s ERA of over 6.00+ which is worst in the Majors, and they released Edwin Jackson who finished his short tenure with the Orioles doing mop-up work against the Yankees.

The Nationals added right-handed long-man Jacob Turner to the roster today. It is unclear what Turner’s exact role will be long-term, but it sounds like long-man today, and tomorrow could be a new direction.  Turner takes the roster spot vacated by Blake Treinen who was traded to Oakland in the Doolittle/Madson deal.

The bullpen won’t have Trevor Gott available based on his workload the last two days, and you would hope that Enny Romero will get a day of rest based on his work on Saturday and Sunday. That leaves six arms in the bullpen available today including Jacob Turner and Austin Adams along with Matt Albers, Oliver Perez, Matt Grace, and Joe Blanton. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, InGame | Leave a comment

Mike Rizzo pulls off a blockbuster trade for Ryan Madson/Sean Doolittle

Graphic from ESPN

“We made a trade we think shortens the game,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said.

Ryan Madson turns 37-years-old next month, and Sean Doolittle turns 31-years-old in September. The pair was traded by Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane to the Nationals for a package that included Jesus Luzardo who was born on September 30, 1997. Ryan Madson was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 9th round in 1998 out of Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, CA before Luzardo’s first birthday. The youth of Luzardo and his projectibility by scouts is what every team was looking for in a trade for a future frontline lefty starter.  Along with Luzardo, Rizzo traded to the A’s a Low-A infielder Sheldon Neuse who was a top-10 prospect and fireballer Blake Treinen.

“You hate to give up Blake Treinen [in the trade],” Dusty Baker said. “But you have to give up something to get something.”

This trade was about “October” for the Washington Nationals, and the A’s traded for 2021 and beyond. The Nationals took on the imperfections of Doolittle and Madson, and their future salaries. Doolittle went on the DL in May for shoulder soreness and returned with a different repertoire throwing more fastballs then ever. Madson dealt with his own injuries including a UCL tear which required “Tommy John” surgery, and he was out of the Majors from 2012 through 2014 and has a new training regimen that he has adhered to.

To also put this trade into perspective, -neither- Doolittle or Madson were primary closers for the Oakland Athletics this season. That’s right. They were set-up men in 2017 even though Madson has that closer pedigree, and Doolittle has saved games before also. Times have changed.  Both pitchers have been super stingy with allowing runners to get on-base as both have sub-1.000 WHIPs, and neither give up much power to the opponents. Nationals fans will like that neither of these new bullpen arms walk batters much. Madson has the lowest BB/9 of his career at 1.4 this season, and Doolittle also has the lowest BB/9 of his career at 0.8 this season. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, MikeRizzo, Prospects, Roster | Leave a comment