Nats win their first series of 2021! Head back to D.C. on a happy flight!

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

The Washington Nationals pitching staff combined for a 6-0 shutout win and more importantly a series win. After last night’s blowout loss, the team showed up this afternoon and dominated in all facets of the game except for baserunning. Joe Ross threw a 6.0 inning gem to add to the 5.0 innings of dominance in Los Angeles to give him 11.0 innings of shutout baseball. Continue reading

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Game #9, Nats are going for a series win!

Photo by Lynn G for TalkNats

Last night’s meltdown by Stephen Strasburg was hopefully a one-time occurrence and a blip on the radar. Today is a new day as the Washington Nationals close out this series in St. Louis. If the Nats win today, they will notch their first series win of the season.  Continue reading

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Game #8 with Strasburg and Davey’s “A” lineup!

There is nothing like a win to change the pessimism to optimism. While the Washington Nationals record is 2-5 for the season, they are 1-0 with their “A” lineup. Tonight in St. Louis, Stephen Strasburg will pitch with Josh Bell, Josh Harrison, and Kyle Schwarber behind him along with Victor Robles, Juan Soto, Starlin Castro and Trea Turner. This was the infield and outfield that manager Dave Martinez envisioned for his 2021 team until COVID decimated his team before Opening Day. Continue reading

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Nats off the schneid as they get their starting lineup back and notch the win!

Graphic by Izzy Rendell

The Nats got Josh Bell, Josh Harrison and Kyle Schwarber back from the IL for this game, and each contributed in this 5-2 win. That 5-game losing streak is over. It was Erick Fedde who started the game, and only gave up one run over 4 2/3 innings. Fedde’s fastball was blazing and over 96 mph twice in the game, and he carved through the middle of the Cardinals order in the second inning by striking out the side.  Continue reading

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Game #7 and the #Nats really need some W’s in St. Louis

Erick Fedde; Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

They call St. Louis the Gateway to the West, and the Nats need to open that gateway to some much needed W’s. The team enters play today with the worst winning percentage in baseball with a record under Mendoza at .167. The Washington Nationals open this three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals in a rematch of the 2019 National League Championship Series. Continue reading

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The Nationals’ Covid-19 outbreak exposes their lack of depth

WEST PALM BEACH, FL; Josh Bell batting; Photo by Tom Sileo for TalkNats

Baseball is finally back! After having their opening series postponed due to a Coronavirus outbreak, the Washington Nationals wrapped up their trip to LA today and did not avoid a sweep. Outside of Opening Day, the Nationals’ season has been disappointing to say the least. Obviously it’s too early for overreactions, but the last 5 games do highlight an important flaw in their roster. The Nationals have weak depth on the team, and it’s killing them. Continue reading

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Game #6 pairs 6 Cy Young awards on one mound with Scherzer/Kershaw; Nats in salvage mode.

Photo by Warning Track Power for TalkNats

Two of the best pitchers of their generation are on today’s mound in Los Angeles for the season finale in Dodgers’ Stadium. This is a salvage operation for the Washington Nationals as they lost the first two games of this series to fall to 1-4 on the season and the worst winning percentage in baseball.

Between Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, there are a combined six Cy Young awards on the mound this afternoon. For Scherzer, he is looking for a bounceback start after he gave up four solo home runs on Opening Day.  Continue reading

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Game #5 shines the spotlight on the “Little Things”

Photo by Tom Sileo for TalkNats

Players win and lose ball games, and manager take a lot of the blame for decisions. In the first four games of the season, the Nats are off to another disappointing start at 1-3 on the season.  The offense is sputtering with just 12 runs scores. On the other side of the ledger, pitching and defense has yielded 15 runs. The per game differential is ¾ of a run per game. The pythagorean which calculates a fair W/L from the run differential thinks the Nats should be 2-2. If you look at each loss, there are 1-2 glaring plays that count in the “little things” as the difference between being 1-3 and 4-0 on the season. Continue reading

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Game #4 of the season takes the Nats back to the scene of the rhyme!

Washington Post headline as the Nats beat the Dodgers in the 2019 NLDS in Los Angeles

It was 544 days ago when the Washington Nationals were seen in Los Angeles. On that day, they were celebrating the Howie Kendrick grand slam to beat the Dodgers in the finale of the NLDS. It was the Howie Wowee. A defining moment for the franchise to progress past an NLDS and get off that schneid. Minutes earlier, the Dodgers thought they had a walk-off by Will Smith that Adam Eaton caught in front of the rightfield wall. The bounces finally went the Nats way.

This afternoon, the Nats will play the Dodgers and witness their team hoisting their 2020 World Series banner. It is their Opening Day. But winning a World Series in that COVID season of just 60-games was like winning a sprint. A regular baseball season is a marathon. The Dodgers didn’t even run a half-marathon. To many, the Nats still hold the crown. But there is no denying that the Dodgers have been the best team overall in the past four years. They deserve credit for their success and over the past 10 years, the Dodgers and Nats are the two best franchises in baseball. Continue reading

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Sam Clay’s MLB debut included strikeouts of Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna!

Sam Clay striking out Freddie Freeman; Photo by Jordan Smith for TalkNats

WASHINGTON D.C. — Major League Baseball debuts for relief pitchers are generally spots made for low lev situations. That was not the spot you would expect to signal in a newbie to face the former Rookie of the Year, Ronald Acuna Jr., reigning MVP, Freddie Freeman, and two-time All-Star, Marcell Ozuna. But that is exactly what Washington Nationals’ manager Dave Martinez did when he handed the ball to Sam Clay in a one-run game. The 27-year-old lefty was only up with the team because of the decimated roster that was riddled with COVID-19 that required a total of 9 replacement players. Clay was officially called up on Opening Day, and now has the opportunity that dreams are made of.

The kid from Georgia grew up a fan of the Braves and had to focus at the task at-hand while putting aside any boyhood fan allegiances. The lefty knew that he would be facing the face of the Braves’ franchise who was third in their order. Clay did the unthinkable. He struck out Freeman on an 86.4 mph inside slider that caught him looking. Last year, Freeman had a 2.5:1 BB/K in 3-2 counts.

That strikeout was magical and gave the reliever enough confidence to then go after Ozuna. To start that at-bat, Clay dotted a perfect 93 mph sinker above Ozuna’s knees, and over the inside corner. But the newbie was bilked by homeplate ump Lance Barrett who called it a ball. It didn’t matter as Clay kept his composure and stuck with his plan. Veteran catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, was on the same page to get Ozuna on chase pitches below the zone. Clay threw Ozuna a low sinker for a swing and miss, and then a slider below the knees, that looked like another fastball. Clay induced a filthy swing and miss to end the inning with his second strikeout, and put a much needed zero up on the board. Continue reading

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