Game #160 The regular season final weekend: Game Thread

Tonight begins the final three games of the regular season for both the Marlins and Nationals. This game does have some post-season implications. The Nationals control their own destiny in securing home field advantage for the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers which makes this an important game for the Nationals. The Nationals Magic Number for home field advantage is 2 which would mean any combination of a Nationals win or a Dodgers loss reduces that Magic Number.

For the Marlins, tonight’s game is still in the shadows of the passing of Jose Fernandez which happened less than a week ago, and his funeral was just yesterday.

The Marlins were officially eliminated this week from the post-season, and there is no telling what Don Mattingly does with his line-up for tonight as they could certainly use this weekend to look at call-ups like Destin Hood who was an original Nationals draftee, and players like Xavier Scruggs, Yefri Perez, and Tomas Telis.

The Nationals start A.J. Cole who is appealing his suspension for an incident on Sunday where he threw a pitch behind Jung-Ho Kang. The Marlins start Andrew Cashner tonight.

The Nationals have a game-time decision on Bryce Harper as well as inserting some call-ups if Dusty Baker decides to rest players against the right-handed Cashner. Dusty is still trying to figure out roles for the post-season roster as he explained in his post-game presser last night. Dusty Baker also said yesterday that we might use Daniel Murphy to pinch-hit in this series.

To mark Bryce Harper’s return to the starting line-up we have this humorous Gatorade commercial with one of our own TalkNats commenters who doesn’t want to be identified because he can’t pitch worth a s***!

Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch:  7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, Fox Sports Florida, MLB.TV

Line-ups  (subject to change without notice):

  1. Trea Turner CF
  2. Jayson Werth LF
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Anthony Rendon 3B
  5. Stephen Drew 2B
  6. Clint Robinson 1B
  7. Danny Espinosa SS
  8. Jose Lobaton C
  9. A.J. Cole RHP
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Assembling the post-season roster! Who do you have?

The Washington Nationals will have their first game of the 2016 National League Division Series exactly one week from today against the Los Angeles Dodgers. What we do not know is the location for that game as home field advantage has not been determined yet. The other factor not determined yet is who will be on the NLDS roster as well as who will be the starting pitchers.

Our senators69 last night had a good idea about a post-season roster predictions piece. Instead of us writing it based on our opinions or statistics which would exclude some obvious starters and include small sample size players, it is better idea to see what everyone thinks. There are the obvious choices and then many feel Dusty will go with his sense of people skills to assemble the last few spots. Continue reading

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Taking care of business. Nats win game #93: Postgame

For another game this week, Dusty Baker pieced together a line-up of regulars and September call-ups, and it turned into another Curly W! This was win number 93 on the season for the Nationals, and the Magic Number for the home field advantage for the NLDS is now at 2. The Nationals will face the Dodgers in the NLDS, and the Dodgers play the Padres tonight then they have three games this weekend to finish the season against the Giants. The Nationals have three games this weekend with the Marlins to finish the regular season.

Of the Nationals five RBIs, four of them were delivered by a combination of September call-ups which included Michael Taylor, Wilmer Difo, and Pedro Severino. Taylor had three hits in the game including a two-run single while Difo and Severino both delivered on solo home runs. Continue reading

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Game #159 Joe Ross with another start: Game Thread

This afternoon, the rain could cooperate to get this game in. It is Joe Ross against ex-Nat farmhand Robbie Ray. The Nationals faced Ray and his big heater in Arizona in early August, and it was Wilson Ramos who hit the big three-run home run with 2 outs in just another of his clutch hits in 2016.

Robbie Ray is a lefty which has given Dusty Baker the opportunity to sit Bryce Harper again and insert a line-up with all players who will start the game batting right-handed.

The Nationals will get a further look at Wilmer Difo as they had been with Brian Goodwin who stepped up again last night and raised his batting average to .308 with a .803 OPS. Difo enters the game with a .292 batting average. Continue reading

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Home Field Advantage?

If you’ve spent the last week or so fretting about whether the Nats win “Home Field Advantage” you may want to re-think it.  A quick analysis of the past 21 years of National League Division Series indicates that Home Field Advantage is a bit of a myth.

Dusty Baker and Joe Maddon, who guide two of the best teams in the NL, have the respect of their players. Getty Images

Dusty Baker and Joe Maddon, who guide two of the best teams in the NL, have the respect of their players. Getty Images

There have been three constants in the sports media as the playoffs approach.  First, home field advantage is huge.  Second, the home field advantage is multiplied when it involves a West Coast team as the home team.  Third, it’s important for the team to enter the playoffs on a hot streak.  The data does not support any of these hypotheses. Continue reading

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Nats lose 3-0 in rain shortened game: Postgame

Who would have thought Shelby Miller would be credited with a complete game shutout in a rain shortened game?

Dusty Baker thought we would see the good Gio as he would pitching with some inspiration to honor his friend Jose Fernandez.

Instead, Gio pitched with a heavy heart, and struggled in long counts all game going just 3 2/3 innings giving up 3 runs while throwing 100 pitches.

The Nationals did not do much on offense either leading to the shoutout.

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Game #158 Gio Gonzalez, José Fernandez, a friendship few knew of: Game Thread

Few outside of the clubhouses knew that Gio Gonzalez and José Fernandez were family friends as it was something Gio and José did not advertise as they played for division rivals. Their baseball tied to their Cuban roots and close proximity to each other in south Florida led to friendships between the Gonzalez and Fernandez families. When Gio’s phone rang just after 7 A.M. on Sunday morning to let him know about the passing of José Fernandez and two friends, the initial fear was Max ‘Gonzi’ Gonzalez, Gio’s brother, was on that boat with José Fernandez as he was so often. It was also reported that Marcel Ozuna was asked to go on the boat that fateful night. Contrary to some reports, José Fernandez and his friends enjoyed getting up early to do some late night fishing or as they called it, early morning fishing depending on your frame of reference.

Gonzi was one of José Fernandez’s closest friends and their mothers were close also as well as their abuela. This is a tragedy to so many that loved José Fernandez and his two friends in that close Cuban and Latino community. Tomorrow is the private service and Gio Gonzalez and his family will be attending.

It’s with a heavy heart that Gio, weather permitting, is set to pitch tonight. The pain will stay with him for a long time. Gio and José had so much in common right down to their occupations as baseball starting pitchers in the NL East. Gio had shared fatherhood stories the last time he saw José who was set to become a father for the first time early next year.

That becomes the back drop for tonight’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch:  7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, Fox Sports Arizona , MLB.TV

Line-ups  (subject to change without notice):

  1. Trea Turner 2B
  2. Ben Revere CF
  3. Anthony Rendon 3B
  4. Clint Robinson 1B
  5. Jayson Werth LF
  6. Brian Goodwin RF
  7. Danny Espinosa SS
  8. Jose Lobaton C
  9. Gio Gonzalez LHP

After the game, this was posted which also says that Gonzi could have been on the boat:

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The mid-2017 future is bright for Wilson Ramos even with another torn ACL

It is time for some myth busting. The long-term prognosis should be bright for Wilson Ramos according to Dr. A. Brion Gardner who is a local orthopedic surgeon with The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors also weighed in on Ramos’ future value and other factors.

Some of the medical opinions given go against much of the public consensus which we will discuss below. Yes, the short-term outlook is certain for Ramos who will be out for the remainder of the 2016 season after he went down in pain on Monday night and will be getting a revision surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that was also surgically repaired in 2012. Continue reading

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“Today was official start hero time,” Dusty Baker said.

In the post-game news conference last night, Dusty Baker was discussing with five or six games left in the regular season that he is looking for players to step up as heroes. Have you ever heard Dusty talk about that before? Continue reading

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Max Scherzer gets win #19 and Nats get win #92: Postgame

Tonight it was Anthony Rendon who came through with the game winning three-run home run with two outs to get the Nats to a 4-2 win, and it allowed Max Scherzer to get the win. The Nats entered the bottom of the 6th inning trailing 2-0, and Scherzer was pulled for a pinch-hitter. The only way for Scherzer to earn a win was for the Nats offense to score at least three runs in the bottom of the 6th, and the Nats got four runs!

The Diamondback starter, Matt Koch, was making his first career start and took a no-hitter into the 6th inning which was broken up when Jose Lobaton led off with a bloop single followed by a walk by Wilmer Difo (PH for Scherzer) and a walk by Trea Turner. The Nats scored their first run on a sacrifice fly and with two outs Rendon lined a three-run home run into the Diamondbacks bullpen.

Anthony Rendon’s home run was also his 500th hit of the career. Tonight’s win was the Nationals 92nd of the season. The Nats magic number for home field advantage is 5. Continue reading

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