Tim Cate will soon be a top Washington Nationals’ prospect!

While it was no secret that the Nationals were targeting Mason Denaburg with their first pick, the Tim Cate pick in the second round was not a certainty because the Yankees and Red Sox were picking right before the Nationals. Tim Cate is from that gray area in Manchester, Connecticut where you’re either a Red Sox family or a Yankees family. Those teams have the close geography to scout northeastern players easily. Continue reading

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Game #68 Scherzer takes the mound again in Toronto!

Photo by LEGNats for TalkNats

When Max Scherzer was with the Detroit Tigers, the short trip to Toronto was one he looked forward to since he has had his best games in his career there for an American League ballpark. In his previous four career starts in Toronto, he is 3-and-0 and a 1.98 ERA. That mark in Toronto is almost a full point better than pitching in Kansas City which is Scherzer’s second best AL city where his career ERA is 2.97. Continue reading

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Bryce Harper celebrates Father’s Day in style honoring his dad Ron Harper!

For several years now, Major League baseball has been honoring fathers on Father’s Day with special apparel like the baby-blue caps and the blue ribbons attached to the jerseys. Bryce Harper has “POPS” tattooed on the inside of his right wrist as a permanent way to honor his father, Ron Harper, every day of the year. Their bond as Bryce says is very special. Continue reading

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Game #67 Nats go Nord des Lignes for a weekend series

Every six years, the Nationals are scheduled to play a series in Canada where the Washington Nationals roots originated from their Montreal Expos lineage. The last time the Nationals were in Toronto six years ago a media person asked a 19-year-old Bryce Harper the infamous “Clown Question.” Will Juan Soto be asked the same six years later? Stay tuned. When Ian Desmond left for free agency, he was the last of the Expos drafted players. Even in 2004, the fans and players knew the end was near. Ian Desmond was told that when they drafted him.  Continue reading

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Juan Soto powers the win with a shutdown bullpen!

On a wing and a prayer with the Nats losing 3-to-1, Juan Soto hit a 45° wedge to the opposite field and the wind carried it 338 feet to the first row for a 3-run home run and a 4-to-3 lead. You have to see it to believe it. Off the bat, it looked like a can-of-corn fly-out. Unfortunately, the Nats spot starter Erick Fedde who was called up today gave up a home run that tied the game. Then in the 7th inning,  Juan Soto obliterated a baseball that flew 436 feet to an area that baseballs just don’t go. It was the game winner and set the final score at 5-to-4 — and the story does not end there as the bullpen had to hold that 1-run lead. The combination of Justin Miller, Sammy Solis, Ryan Madson, and Sean Doolittle (17th save) threw a combined 3-inning shutout to secure the win credited to Justin Miller. Continue reading

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Game #66 Nationals call-up Erick Fedde to Yankee Stadium

Photo by Kevin Nibley for TalkNats

The last time we saw Erick Fedde he was shutting out the San Diego Padres on May 23rd while the game headed into the 5th inning. Fedde gave up a run in the top of the 5th inning with a pitch count of 82 to finish the inning. Instead of doing what manager Dave Martinez has done many times with starter Jeremy Hellickson, the Nationals manager sent Fedde out for the 6th inning and did not pull Fedde at first time of trouble and Fedde gave up a single, a walk, and a bases clearing double and was pulled out of the game while surrendering 3 earned runs. The Nats lost the game 3-to-1 and it seemed like a winnable game if Martinez was quicker with the hook. Continue reading

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The Nats haven’t scored a run since Saturday

Photo by Paul Kim of Kevin Long

The eyes are on Kevin Long whose batters haven’t scored a run since Saturday, and other eyes are focused on Bryce Harper‘s toes as he took a pitch off of his left toes in a hit-by-pitch as he immediately exited the game and headed to the clubhouse. The Nationals lost this one 3-to-0 while the Nationals had plenty of baserunners with a total of ten, they were 0-for-4 in RISP situations. Credit the Yankees for some big pitches and some big defensive plays. Continue reading

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Game #65 Bryce Harper in Yankee Stadium; Daniel Murphy in NY

Kevin Long with Daniel Murphy. Photo by Lee Heiman for TalkNats

Some expected Daniel Murphy to be back on Opening Day this season, and when that did not happen the date seemed to drift to May 1st. When that didn’t happen, the Nationals started to play some good baseball, and the need for Daniel “Hits” Murphy no longer had the same urgency. Murphy went on a rehab assignment at the Nationals’ Double-A Harrisburg affiliate, and last week a video of Murphy surfaced which caused a lot of panic that Daniel Murphy might never play again. Continue reading

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The Little Presidents make their debut at Nationals Park!

The last time we visited with “The Little Presidents”, they were visiting sick children at INOVA Children’s Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia. We were told that the Nationals invited them for a visit to Nationals Park and they came through on the promise. What great timing that their special day was on Saturday which was Stanley Cup celebration day with a crowd of over 37,000. The Nationals finalized the date 2 1/2 weeks ago and certainly could have postponed them given the day had changed with the Washington Capitals in attendance. Luckily for the children, it just added to the magic of the day.

Many of “The Little Presidents” had their own playoff games on Saturday morning before they would head to Nationals Park. When Andrew Ladd arrived at his game on early Saturday morning, his coach asked him how he was doing that morning as Andrew was set to be their starting pitcher for their playoff game.

“Well coach,” Andrew Ladd said. “Given that this is basically the best day of my life, I’m doing pretty good.”

Could life be better? Starting pitcher in the morning, and a Little President on the field in Nationals Park in the afternoon. That about summed up his day perfectly and the rest of the Little Presidents also.

When the boys and parents got to Nats Park, they put the boys and a few of the parents in a locker room for the first two innings. After that, they walked the tunnel of the underground concourse where they met up with the real Racing Presidents to do a quick run-through of the race. Spoiler Alert: yes, there is a little bit of a script and choreography with these races like a professional wrestling match — yes, a shocking revelation to most of you.

The Nationals entertainment group then had the boys come out of one of their tunnels to get ready for the race. The reaction at that point from the fans sitting nearby who could see the boys was priceless as mom, Catherine Ladd, described it! As a side note… The weather forecast for the day looked really iffy! There were supposed to be big thunderstorms in the whole area from noon to 5pm as you recall, and it never rained more than a few big drops that were just a tease even though there were ominous skies!

The kids had been praying that the weather would hold off and they were nervous as their big moment was coming up as the big dark clouds came rolling in and some huge raindrops started to come down but not enough to disrupt anything which you probably remember as that is how the MASN crew described it on the TV. Catherine Ladd just kept praying that the weather would at least hold for the 2 minutes so the boys would be able to be a part of the President’s race, and miraculously she said that their prayers were answered and the rain held back. The boys ran out onto the rightfield line in foul territory to cheers from the crowd.

The Little Presidents let George Washington through the line which you can see in the video above as they made a blockade so the other Racing President’s couldn’t pass while Little Screech cheered with Big Screech at the finish line! Their word for the experience was “epic”… They loved every minute of it even though the experience on the field was less than 2 minutes it really was a dream come true — and an experience that they will remember forever. For Catherine Ladd who created the Little Presidents, it was amazing for her to stand there and see these boys, and see the reaction from the crowd and those close by wanting pictures.

The staff working with the boys at the stadium were amazing and made the experience even that much better.

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10 Monday points on the #Nats

Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

After an easy dismissal of the Tampa Bay Rays, the week ends on a sour note.

1) A series between the Nats and the Giants where the Nats have Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer going against Suarez, Rodriguez and Holland should be a sweep for the Nats; 2 of 3 at worst. The whole series felt like we were swimming upstream.

2) Injuries continue to mess with the season. Just as Adam Eaton returns we lose Stras and Brandon Kintzler to injuries. Seemingly the prognosis in both cases is pretty good but it’s still a maddening pattern.

3) With Eaton’s return we are at a crossroads. We now have 4 regular outfielders for 3 positions. It will be interesting how manager Dave Martinez plays this in the long run. Michael Taylor is making this interesting by finally making offensive contributions.

4) Daniel Murphy is set to return, gimpy knee and all. We have a week to ease him back by using the DH in AL parks. It’s becoming blatantly obvious that his steady productive bat is sorely missed.

5) The catching position remains a terrible black hole offensively. Pedro Severino is pretty much an automatic out these days. At the very least Spencer Kieboom should get more playing time. He looks somewhat less of an automatic out than Severino.

6) The starting rotation is down to 3 of the opening day rotation of Scherzer, Gio and Tanner Roark and without the many off-days, we would have been in serious trouble. Wednesday looks like a reverse lock type of game, and we really should be hoping that Hellickson returns ASAP from his hamstring tweak.

7) Justin Miller has been a god-send; this year’s version of Matt Albers. He might just save us the need to trade valuable assets for relief help.

8) Playing with the DH this week in American League ballparks, the need for pinch-hitters is at a minimum this week so having a huge compliment of pitchers might well come in handy.

9) Our position in the standings is fine, and as the Phills begin to fade it’s slowly coming down to a 2 horse race, and Atlanta doesn’t look invincible either although they have an easy part of their schedule coming up.

10) The 2-game set in NY will be a solid test. The Yankees hardly ever lose and their lineup is fearsome. Couple that with the fact that we will be sending our 4th and 6th starters and one can honestly feel a bit uneasy. Yes, Tanner Roark and Erick Fedde look like the starters on Tuesday and Wednesday in Yankees Stadium.

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