On paper, it was Braves all the way. #Nats take down Soroka!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for Talknats

On paper, the Braves were the overwhelming favorite in this game especially after their walk-off win last night, but the games are not played on paper and the Nats scored four runs off of the Atlanta ace Mike Soroka who was second in the Majors in ERA coming into this game just trailing Hyun-Jin Ryu and ahead of Max Scherzer. It was Matt Adams who got the start tonight at first base, and he made an impact early. Adams got the scoring going for the Nats with a solo home run to tie the game in the fourth inning. In the fifth inning, the Nats poured it on and put together five straight hits from Anibal Sanchez to Trea Turner to Adam Eaton to Anthony Rendon to Juan Soto to score three more runs. A combination of Trea Turner and Adam Eaton scored the fifth run for the final score of 5-3. Continue reading

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Game #97 Anibal Sanchez goes up against the Braves ace

Photo by Lynn G. for TalkNats

This four-game series was going to be a fight, and tonight’s game certainly favors the Braves on paper. They are pitching their rookie ace, Mike Soroka, who boasts a 2.24 ERA. The right-hander from Calgary has proved to be the surprise of the year for the Braves. He had a blow-up game before the All-Star break against Philadelphia, and this is only his third start of the month. The way to beat an ace is for your own pitcher to put up zeros. You never lose if you give up zero runs, but Nats starter Anibal Sanchez is usually only going to give you on a good day 6.0 innings. The Nationals will need to also count on their bullpen, and that is always a gamble as it is with most teams. Continue reading

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Three bullpen losses in less than a week, who’s to blame? #Nats

We have said it over and over that a coach’s job is to put their athlete in their best situation to succeed for their team. By this point in the season, we should know who each player is on the Nationals roster. Each player is unique in their own way with a history which includes patterns of strengths and limitations. In less than a week, the Nats have lost three games and all of them in the bullpen, but these were also team losses where the Nats offense only averaged 2.67 runs per game. Two of the losses came from tie games, and one from a 2-1 lead that was not held. Ultimately the players lost the game, but there were questions as to lineup construction, pitcher usage, and moves in the game.  Continue reading

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Victor Robles hangs a blown save on the Braves who walk-it-off soon after!

Fernando Rodney (Photo by Tom Cicotello @42skidoo for TalkNats)

There is a saying that you must know your player. Manager Dave Martinez should have known that Fernando Rodney has never had an inning this season in his MLB tenure where he has held a team to no runs when his pitch count was at least 20-pitches and this is the fifth such time he failed in that situation. The 42-year-old has not pitched more than 1-inning this season in the Majors. Why now? After Victor Robles tied the game in the ninth inning with a 2-run home run to hang a blown save on Braves closer Luke Jackson, you need a fresh arm in there given Rodney’s background plus his age. Sure, he was well rested but he had a long 8th inning throwing 17-pitches. He was not going to have a quick inning, but again why push him when you have fresh arms? Rodney finished with 32-pitches and allowed bases loaded before the walk-off single, and he did not retire a batter in that 9th inning. Continue reading

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Game #96 Nats have a new twist to MBFA

In a rare occurence, tonight’s starting battery of Patrick Corbin and Yan Gomes are celebrating birthdays today. Birthdays deserve a celebration! In the Washington Nationals clubhouse, Gerardo Parra brought back what has been missing since Michael Morse was traded away which was bringing back the fun, and fans now get to witness the home run celebrations in the Nationals dugout. Morse would say, “baseball is supposed to be fun” and as Trea Turner said, “we get paid to play a game”. Combine that and enjoy a new twist of Bryce Harper‘s MBFA (Make Baseball Fun Again). The irony is Harper was known to be “not fun” or approachable when he was in a slump and almost standoffish. On manager Dave Martinez‘s 2019 team, he does not want his players to dwell in the negative.  Continue reading

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The Nats start this 4-game series in Atlanta with a blowout win! Strasburg does it with his arm and bat!

Photo by Lynn G. for TalkNats

The first inning almost knocked out Stephen Strasburg who had to work out of trouble and a 30-pitch first inning in which he only gave up one-run to survive and thrive in this game. After that, Strasburg rolled and was the offensive star of the game also. In the third inning, Strasburg led off with a single and scored the Nats first run on an Adam Eaton triple. The Nationals batted around in that third inning which was highlighted by a Strasburg 420 foot 3-run home run that exited his bat at 105 mph. That smash put the Nats up 8-1 in a game that finished up with a 13-4 win in which all starters contributed with the offense. Strasburg finished with 3-hits and 5 RBIs to lead the offense. How many times does a pitcher drive in more runs than he gave up? More importantly, with this win, the Nationals have pulled to within 5.5 games of the first place Braves. Continue reading

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Game #95 This is the series of the year in Atlanta!

MASN TV Graphic screenshot


The schedulers backloaded over 60% of the Nats/Braves games after the All-Star break. For high drama, it will work out well for the fans and the networks. ESPN has flexed the Sunday afternoon game to be their Sunday night game. So far these teams have only played 5-games, and the Nats lead the season series 3-2 including a 2-game sweep in Atlanta. The Braves and Washington  Nationals are separated by 6.5 games in the standings, and they are arguably the two hottest teams in the league since the end of May. Now they will face-off in this 4-game series in what could determine whether the Nats are NL East contenders or a team just in it for a Wild Card berth. Continue reading

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Fedde does his job; the bullpen collapsed in a Nats loss

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

There will be a lot of second-guessing in this one as Erick Fedde exited after the 6th inning with a 2-1 lead but a low pitch count of 66 pitches. Only manager Dave Martinez can give his reasons for pulling Fedde when he did, but the bottomline is Wander Suero blew it in the 7th inning and that is on him. Suero gave up a lead-off walk and some hits and quickly the 2-1 lead was a 4-2 deficit. The rest of the bullpen imploded behind Javy Guerra and Matt Grace who allowed the game to unravel with a 9-2 loss. The Nationals could have picked up a full game on the Braves who lost earlier. This was a day of missed opportunities. For Fedde’s efforts, he lowered his starter’s ERA to 3.53 and his overall ERA which includes work in the bullpen to 3.50. Continue reading

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Game #94 Erick Fedde gets the call-up for today and a rant about the schedule!

This series between the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles was once a good rivalry, and MASN hyped it as the “Battle of the Beltways” which was a catchy moniker for the main event if it was a heavyweight fight. On paper today this is more like a street fight with the big kid (the Nationals) and the little kid (the Orioles). The baseball schedule has these matchups monthly due to the disparity with teams that are “tanking” like the Orioles, Royals, Tigers, and Marlins. The names on the Orioles roster are unrecognizable for the most part, but yet, you play the games and in the 162 game schedule, these are the games the “big kid” must win. Continue reading

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Nats win their 50th game in an 8-1 game! Voth with the W!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

The Washington Nationals got this win in a blow-out, but it was tense in the first inning when starting pitcher Austin Voth loaded the bases with a walk and two hit-by-pitches with one out. Voth worked his way out of it giving up no runs after a visit by his pitching coach Paul Menhart. Whatever Menhart whispered to Voth worked as he closed out the first inning with no runs surrendered. Voth settled down to go 6.0 innings while giving up only one run in an 8-1 Nationals win for the team’s 50th of the season. Continue reading

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