Game #15 Stephen Strasburg gets the first game in this series

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

With the Nationals taking on their first NL West opponent of the season, Stephen Strasburg matches up against the son of his first catcher. Yes, Ivan Rodriguez caught Strasburg’s MLB debut on June 8, 2010, and Dereck Rodriguez is the Hall-of-Famers’ oldest child who pitches now for the San Francisco Giants. Dereck was a teenager when his dad was a Nats’ player in 2010 and 2011. The younger Rodriguez was a student at Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami, Florida when the Twins drafted him in the 6th round in 2011. After seven years in the Twins minor league system, they released him and the Giants signed him prior to the 2018 season, and DRod made his debut in May of 2018. This season, he made the Giants team out of spring training.  Continue reading

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The enigma that is Anthony Rendon

Anthony Rendon in the spotlight (Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats)

It was in the Nationals last game when Anthony Rendon stepped up to the plate with two outs and bases loaded with a chance to do something he has never accomplished in his entire MLB career — a walk-off home run. It was not meant to be this time as Rendon popped the ball up and about 200 feet short of reaching paydirt. With 108 home runs in his career, Rendon hits most of his home runs in the fourth and first innings of ballgames. In fact he only has one 9th inning home run since June of 2014. Rendon’s first home run of his career was in the 9th inning, but he only has 5 home runs in his entire career after the 8th inning and is a career .255 hitter in Hi Lev spots. Maybe that is part of his personality. He is a great player, but not the guy you would say is “clutch” in a late game spot to win the game. To tie the game, sure, to win the game, we are still waiting for that.

Right now, Rendon is still the offensive star of this Washington Nationals team, but sometimes stars have to close-out games. Yesterday proved that the small things do matter. In the first inning, Francisco Cervelli of the Pirates grounded a tailor-made doubleplay ball to Rendon who bobbled it and could only get one out and the inning continued for Max Scherzer who then surrendered two consecutive hits resulting in two runs — the eventual difference in the game.

With this new trend of teams extending their own players, most fans of the Washington Nationals have four names at the top of their lists in the following order: Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Juan Soto, Victor Robles

At the top of the list is Anthony Rendon because chronologically speaking his employment contract with the Nationals is set to expire in a little over six months. “Tony Two Bags” is the priority — it would seem — but things are never what they seem. This process just adds to the mystery of Anthony Michael Rendon who is an enigma. He does not crave the limelight so little is known about him except the snippets we get from time to time like the fact that he is married and has a young daughter. His favorite sport is basketball, and the Texan just enjoys living life on the down-low with his wife  Amanda Rodriguez and their daughter Emma. For Anthony Rendon, he is so low-key and low maintenance that he is almost the anti-Harper. The similarities though as they share super agent Scott Boras is making Nats fans nervous as he could go the way of Harper to another team. Continue reading

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Washington and Baseball’s Original Sin

The Homestead Grays won 7 Negro National League Pennants and 3 Negro League World Titles in their 8 years in Washington

Today we celebrate Jackie Robinson Day in commemoration of breaking the color barrier in baseball on April 15, 1947.  This could have been a very different story, however.  In 1945 the Washington Senators came close to breaking the color barrier.  It’s a story without much documentation.  But, the arc of baseball in the nation’s capital turned dramatically as a result.

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The bullpen blows another one; #Nats back to .500

This is, unfortunately, not Howie do it.

The Washington Nationals bullpen failed late again as Wander Suero served up a two-out RBI double in the ninth inning, and despite loading the bases with one out, the Nats couldn’t tie the game against old friend Felipe Vazquez. Continue reading

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Game #14 Nats have Scherzer going in this series finale

Photo by Lee Heiman for TalkNats

Each team has traded places in this series with blown saves in the bullpen. Yesterday, it was the Washington Nationals finishing on top of the Pittsburgh Pirates in an exciting close game. Today’s game is the final game between these two teams in Nationals Park for the season. Of course they will face each other in mid-August for a four-game series in PNC Park. What is on the line is a series win.  Continue reading

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Nats win one on another team’s bullpen in the 8th inning. Eaton/Kendrick go back-to-back to tie and win the game!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

Yesterday’s underperformer became today’s star as Adam Eaton with 2 outs in the 8th inning hit a game tying home run and Howie Kendrick followed Eaton with a home run to win the game. Eaton finished the game going 3-for-4 and was the offensive star. It took a tense 9th inning save for Sean Doolittle to seal the win. It happened to be Doolittle’s first save of 2019. Wander Suero who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning got the win. Anibal Sanchez pitched 7.0 full innings of 2-run baseball and pitched well enough to win, but Chris Archer was a little bit better. The Pirates lost this game from their bullpen just like the Nationals have done a few times this year. Nats fans can certainly commiserate and look no further than last night for the Nats who took a one run lead into the 8th inning. Continue reading

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Game #13 Nats look to even up things with the Pirates

Photo by Lynn G. for TalkNats.

The Pirates arrived in Washington, D.C. at 4 a.m. and got to sleep Friday morning in their hotel rooms as the sun was coming up. With the game later that day, they looked fresher than the Washington Nationals who had a day-off on Thursday. Several Nats players used their day-off to be fans at the Washington Capitals playoff game including Adam Eaton who was the “Fan of the Game” and you have to wonder if he slept at all given the way he played yesterday. Continue reading

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A Corbin gem and Rendon power were wasted as the “Little Things” piled up…

Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

The Nationals got a 7.0 inning 1-run gem out of Patrick Corbin, and Anthony Rendon put the Nats up 2-1 on a home run which looked like the game winner until manager Dave Martinez summoned reliever Tony Sipp to pitch the 8th inning and he was not up to the task. By the time the top of the 8th inning ended, the score was 3-2 in favor of the Pirates, but that is also where we saw a big mistake when Adam Eaton airmailed a throw allowing two baserunners to get into scoring position. It did not take long for them to score. In the bottom of the 8th inning, Anthony Rendon hit his second home run of the game to tie it at 3-to-3. Continue reading

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Game #12 Nats back home with Corbin pitching and rain in the forecast! A Harrisburg no-hitter and a Juan Soto bobblehead!

Photo by Navy Yard Nats for TalkNats

Tell us if you have heard this one before: There’s rain in the forecast! Maybe the rain will hold off long enough to get the game in. This is Juan Soto Bobblehead night, and a highly sought after collectible as this is Soto’s first bobblehead. There are already listings on eBay for more than the ticket prices as the profiteers are already posting them before they have them in-hand. Soto had the original design redone to add a smile as Nats VP Mike Shane told the story during the season plan holder “Hot Stove” event in January which we covered at that time. Continue reading

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The home run on Tuesday from Victor Robles has changed the vibe in two cities!

Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

The Nationals had already celebrated two walk-off wins in their first homestand of 2019, but there was still a damper on this young season due to the leaky bullpen that had set Nats fans into a funk until they could find new hope. That new hope came in the form of one swing of the bat from Victor Robles to tie the game on Tuesday night in Philadelphia in the 9th inning with 2 outs, as the Nats snatched a win out of the jaws of defeat from a game they trailed 6-1 and then rattled off 9 unanswered runs. In that same game, the bullpen pitched 6 scoreless innings to allow Juan Soto to win that game in the 10th inning with a majestic 3-run home run. Last night, the Nats dismantled the Phillies by a score of 15-1 in front of fans who voiced their displeasure in the stadium and on social media. While ticket sales were 30,805 for last night’s game, there were more empty seats than there were bodies in them to start the game, and by the 8th inning there was almost nobody left but Nats fans who sat among the remaining Phillies fans exhibiting their disdain with a chorus of boos.  Continue reading

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