Game #39 Soto is back; Parra at first; Scherzer on the mound!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

Slowly but surely the Nationals are getting their injured players back. Today it is Juan Soto returning to the active roster after suffering from back spasms. The lineup card is very close to what manager Dave Martinez penciled up on Opening Day except for today Wilmer Difo is at shortstop and the newly hired outfielder, Gerardo Parra will have his first baseman’s glove tonight. That is not a misprint. Howie Kendrick could have played tonight or tomorrow afternoon’s game, and Martinez opted for Parra who has 20 starts at first base during his tenure in Colorado the previous two seasons. Parra has an .808 OPS against the Dodgers starter, Walker Buehler. Continue reading

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The rollercoaster; More Groundhog Day; Some bright spots

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

A day after dominating the Dodgers in a well-played shutout, Nats fans were cautiously optimistic that their team could beat the Dodgers in a game where both teams were missing two star players. The Dodgers sat Justin Turner and scratched Corey Seager, and the Nats are still missing Trea Turner and Juan Soto. Continue reading

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Game #38 Taking the positives forward

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Last season, Anibal Sanchez became a study in analytics. He resurrected a career that had looked like it was nearing a statistical curve destined for retirement. This season he has had seven starts, and his best performances have been 2-run performances. But when you look at last season through his first seven appearances, he had 4 shutouts. What is the difference in this tale of two seasons? Maybe it can be explained away in the defense behind him and also defensive positioning because the hit rate has increased from 7.0 to 9.6 between this year and last year. Maybe it is the BB/9 rate that was 2.8 and is now 5.4. Can new pitching coach Paul Menhart change anything to improve Sanchez? He has identical HR/9 numbers nearly identical K/9 stats as last year so the difference is hits and walks leading to more runs.  Continue reading

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The most complete win for the Nationals in 2019; Offense, pitching, defense

Photo by Navy Yard Nats for TalkNats

Pick your stars of this game, and it begins with Howie Kendrick who started the scoring in the first inning with a 3-run blast on his way to a 4 RBI game in this 6-0 shutout behind 7.0 strong innings by Patrick Corbin who had no-hit stuff tonight. Corbin had 8 strikeouts and yielded only 3-hits, and the defense behind him turned two nifty doubleplays including a Web Gem by Anthony Rendon. It was Corbin who shutdown the best offensive team in the league in this “must win” game against the Dodgers who own the best record in the National League. Continue reading

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Game #37 The Nats need a great Hollywood ending to turn things positive

Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

For manager Dave Martinez, he was always a slow starter in his career as a player. The month of April was his worst statistical month, and he had hoped that as a manager he could come out of the gates strong this year. It almost looked like it was going to happen until Anthony Rendon got injured. If only the Nationals could have just treaded water until Rendon, Juan Soto and Trea Turner returned from the injured list, they could go on a run when their opening day roster was intact. Unfortunately, Martinez’s team has been sinking under the weight of the water and are now 8-games under .500. As their luck has it, they are facing the team with the best record in the National League for the next four days. Last week, the Cardinals had the best record in the National League and the Nationals had to face them for three games. The Dodgers got red hot and have surpassed the Cardinals now for the top spot in the NL. The Dodgers just swept the Braves and have won 16-of-their-last-23 games which followed a 6-game losing streak.  Continue reading

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A losing culture is not acceptable

Adam Eaton is stirring it up; Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

The Nationals once had a player who would talk about that he would run through a “fricking brick wall”  for his manager but in reality he would not even run out most infield groundballs. Many players will give you a cliché or a cute soundbite to tell you how hard they are working. Talk is cheap and you never want a losing culture to be acceptable. Continue reading

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Game #36 Another salvage game in a lost series; You’ve heard it all before…

Last night was a game that baseball purists love as Stephen Strasburg was dominating through six innings last night. He knew the 7th inning would be his last, and maybe he knew that he had to plunk a batter. That batter he hit also hurt his catcher, Kurt Suzuki, who took the deflection off of his left ear. That seemed to unnerve Strasburg and his inning quickly unraveled. If you had a great bullpen, maybe you make a move there and call it a night in a 0-0 game. Instead, Strasburg remained in the game and gave up two singles to load the bases. At this point the former first overall draft pick had to save his own game, and he nearly did. Stras got a key strikeout for the second out of the inning, but then Lorenzo Cain ripped a bases clearing double to put the game in quick peril. The ending for the Nationals matched the same fate of how their season started — as a shutout. Continue reading

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Game #35 Sloppy play must end; Rendon due back today

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

The player we affectionately call “Tony Two Bags” is due to come off the 10-day injured list today. The Nationals were a .500 team at 9-9 when Rendon was at 3rd base until the day that he was plunked on the elbow. Since, then the team has unraveled with some of the sloppiest play we have ever seen in the history of the Nationals. This team in the past three days has accumulated nine charged errors in the field and several more plays that should have been made. On Sunday it was Jake Noll apologizing for a first inning error that allowed two runs to score, and Carter Kieboom last night botched a grounder and did not snag a liner at glove’s reach that resulted in the only two runs (one earned) against Max ScherzerContinue reading

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Game #34 The Nats had a travel SNAFU; Just part of the new status quo

Photo by Lynn G. for TalkNats

Nothing is normal these days with the Washington Nationals. People are wondering if there is a curse on this team. Last night, they reportedly were stuck nearly 8 hours on the team’s Delta charter on the tarmac in Philadelphia before deplaning and heading back to a hotel in the City of Brotherly Love. The plane was eventually repaired at Philadelphia International Airport, and the team departed at 10:49 am EDT and arrived at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 12:36 pm EDT (11:36 am CDT) The team immediately was en route to their team hotel in Milwaukee for a few winks before they head to the field in a few hours for their 7:40 EDT game time tonight which we will call Sleepless in Milwaukee.

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Game #33 Nats go for a series clincher after another dramatic win last night

Photo courtesy of Kelly Collis for TalkNats

It’s Cinco de Mayo today and the season will be 20% complete when the game turns to the 4th inning today. Of course all of that is dependent on Mother Nature who is pounding the Mid-Atlantic states with rain. As expected, Matt Adams joins the long list of Nationals players on the injured list. Taking Big City’s spot on the roster is Jake Noll, and that is the only personnel move for today as Michael A. Taylor avoids the IL for now after he injured his wrist last night. Continue reading

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