You can lose by giving up solo home runs; Nats run themselves out of this one!

Photo by Lynn G. for TalkNats.

On paper, the Nats looked like the better team, but it did not matter as the Nats only scored one-run and Anibal Sanchez gave up four solo home runs to take the loss. The Nats hit into four doubleplays including a line drive where Victor Robles did not freeze and he was thrown out for one of the doubleplays. There was also a costly baserunning mistake by veteran Eric Thames who set-up for a tag-up with one-out on ball Robles hit off of the right-center wall. Instead of Thames going half-way and scoring and Kurt Suzuki running to third base and Robles with a double — it was a long single due to the baserunning gaffe by Thames. He didn’t score in the inning. Did that cost the Nats the game? No, but it was part of “the little things” that added up. Continue reading

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Game #4 Toronto comes to D.C. for a 4-game home-and-home (road) series in Nationals Park!

Photo by Craig Nedrow for TalkNats

The baseball world’s sum of all fears came to a reality today when upwards of a dozen players and staff from the Miami Marlins tested positive for COVID-19 over the last few days. The team stayed in Philadelphia overnight while they ponder their next move as their game against the Orioles for today was cancelled as well as the Phillies and Yankees game scheduled for today.

The Nationals finally gave confirmation of a negative MLB lab test for Juan Soto according to manager Dave Martinez, but there is still a lot of mystery surrounding if he took an MLB lab test on Thursday with the rest of his teammates. The theory of the ‘false positive‘ is making more sense as previously discussed. The Washington Nationals could reinstate Soto once he has two negative tests consecutively.  Continue reading

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Nats lose the first series in the bullpen!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

When you waste an ace start like the Nats did with Patrick Corbin‘s gem, with a blown save and loss in the bullpen, it magnifies the issues we saw in April and May of last season. Sure, the Nats didn’t get much offense from the middle and end of the order, but you have to save these ‘playoff’ type games and put them in the ‘win’ column. Newbie to the Nats, Will Harris, gets the blown save, and Sean Doolittle took the loss.

This tweet is a big part of the story,

The rest of the story was not cashing in on the Yankees mistakes. The Nats had Trea Turner on 3rd base with one out and Starlin Castro struck out. Eric Thames had one RBI hit earlier but left five runners on-base.

Maybe the biggest play was Emilio Bonifacio overslid third base on a steal with no outs in the 9th inning.

Overall, the biggest question mark continues from Spring Training to Summer Training to today’s 2020 debut for Doolittle, what is wrong with him? His velo was up but he was not sharp, and was saved by some perfect positioning by his defense when Aaron Judge lined a baseball that was clocked at 101 mph right at Michael Taylor. In 2/3 of an inning he gave up a lead-off walk, two hits, and the winning run before he was pulled.

Besides Patrick Corbin being so great, the other positive was Trea Turner getting off the schneid with a home run, infield hit, and forcing an error to get on-base three times. Adam Eaton remains hot.

Tough luck for Roenis Elias who is all but done for the season.

The Nats fall to 1-2 on the young season.

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Game #3 wraps up the 2020 season match-up of the Yankees and Nats

Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

Last year, it looked like the Yankees and Nationals could face each other in the World Series as a real possibility. On October 18th of 2019, the Yankees forced a Game #6 in the ALCS as the Nationals had already swept the Cardinals in the NLCS and lied in wait to see who they would face in the World Series. Sports write themselves from reality and it did not happen, but the MLB schedulers took the best matchup of the Eastern region of the ten teams from the NL East and AL East and got smart and went Yankees and Nationals to open the 2020 revised and truncated season instead of the tired matchup of the Yankees and Red Sox. While ratings were at an all-time high for a regular season Nats game on Thursday’s ESPN opener, it was painful for Nats fans to listen to Alex Rodriguez call the game just like yesterday’s FOX game with Joe Buck and John Smoltz. Continue reading

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Fedde comes up huge in a pinch, and Victor Robles gets him all of the runs he needs! Nats went 1-0!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

When it was announced that Stephen Strasburg was scratched, and Erick Fedde was making a spot start, the sportsbooks went nuts for the Yankees. Well, there’s a reason we play the games. Fedde was excellent even though there were four errors behind him, and his only mistake was grooving a 3-0 fastball to Giancarlo Stanton that he obliterated for the only earnie on his ledger. Fedde, who exited with 4.0 innings in the books and a lead, was the star of the game. This game could have been disastrous with Juan Soto still in the COVID protocol, Strasburg scratched, and only 1-hit in the Nats first game. The Nats bullpen shutdown the Bronx Bombers, and Victor Robles bombed the Yankees for 4 RBIs on a 3-4 game as the offensive star. Continue reading

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UPDATED: Game #2 Stephen Strasburg scratched and Fedde and the lefty Paxton on the mound.

Photo by Lynn G. for TalkNats

With a day to gather in their emotions, the Washington Nationals have an opportunity for a do-over of sorts. The Juan Soto COVID-19 news seemed to shake everyone to their core and took the collective air out of the reigning World Champs on Opening Day. Contact tracing interviews took place as well as every player, coach, and all field personnel had to do rapid COVID tests to be cleared to play and/or appear on Opening Day. Instead of the normal pregame prep, it was a total change in routine for physical and mental preparedness. Even the unflappable Max Scherzer seemed off in intensity. Of course there is a level of trepidation about the tests players took on Thursday that were shipped to the lab.  Continue reading

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Opening Day happened…sort of…with crushing results for the Nats and limited “Championship” to see!

The storm that ended the game after the 5th inning wasn’t the only thing that ruined the day; Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

The Nationals posted their Opening Day roster at 2:24 PM EDT. They were the last team to post, and before their tweet came the bombshell Tweet from Jeff Passan about Juan Soto testing positive for COVID which came out at 2:19 PM EDT.

But I knew something was wrong before the Passan tweet. I sat on the story because my source went with this provision “if it’s off the record I’ll spill” was his exact message followed by these words that sunk my sleep deprived body into a dark hole “soto tested positive for COVID this morning“.

It cut me like a knife. I had not slept a wink as I was trying to break news all night on who was making the roster. We already had Sam Freeman, Emilio Bonifacio, Javy Guerra, Wilmer Difo and Carter Kieboom as in. But we didn’t have Soto as “out”. It was a crushing blow on the day — on Opening Day. You could feel the change. It was a gut punch that sucks all the air out of you. Continue reading

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Game #1 Opening Day with pomp and circumstance, flags raised, crowns, Fauci on the mound, and gold all around! Bad news, Juan Soto moved to the COVID List

Champions jersey; Photo from the Nationals team store

Before today’s Opening Day game that gets started at at 7:08 p.m. ET on ESPN against the Yankees, there will be some special pomp and circumstance. Along with that, this game will mark the first major American sport (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) to play a regular season game since COVID-19 sent the U.S. into a national emergency.

“It’s an honor to be the first game being played this season,” manager Dave Martinez said.

The Washington Nationals will raise their World Series champion flag in the centerfield plaza for their well-earned 2019 triumph as well as the 2019 division pennant for playing in the World Series. That pennant flag will fly on top of the scoreboard to form a quartet with the Washington Senators’ 1924, 1925 and 1933 pennants. Also, the team is adorning the players and coaches in the gold threaded “champions” jerseys which now have a fifteen year history to honor the World Series champs from the prior season. The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by the head of NIAID, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has pledged his allegiance previously as a Nats fan from New York City. Social justice and Nationals star, Sean Doolittle, will catch that ceremonial first pitch. This is all part of honoring and memorializing the frontline heroes of COVID-19. Continue reading

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Bold Predictions

Time to offer some bold predictions for the upcoming Nationals season. To get the process started we’ve surveyed a few of the long-time members of the TalkNats community to weigh in with their number 1 bold prediction for the upcoming season. We’ve listed these in alphabetical order by their Disqus names: Continue reading

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Game #3 of the Summer Camp exhibitions; The final tune-up before Opening Day! We are 48 hours from rosters due!

Open Day graphic by Steve Mears

Today marks the final exhibition game of the pre-season. As odd as everything has been, it is fitting that we are counting the hours to Opening Day that will feature the Yankees and Nationals as the main attraction. In 48 hours, the final rosters are due, and it would not be 2020 if there were not complications. But besides Roenis Elias and Wander Suero who are on the 10-day IL, the rest of the roster has the main players that generally factor into a week’s worth of games. Manager Dave Martinez says he has 28 players penciled in leaving two more spots to fill a 30-man Opening Day roster.  Continue reading

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