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Washington Nationals 2017 Season Thread

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  • Wednesday, September 20: Nationals 7, Braves 3

    Wildness plagues Braves relievers Jose Ramirez and Arodys Vizcaino, who combine to give up 6 runs and 4 walks in 0.1 innings. While Ramirez was the losing pitcher, Vizcaino was responsible for three consecutive bases loaded walks to Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon which put the Nats ahead. Following the free passes, Adam Lind's two run single and Michael A. Taylor's RBI single quickly put the game out of reach for Atlanta.

    For the first seven innings, the Braves looked to be in control of the game. Starter Lucas Sims settled down after allowing a Trea Turner lead off home run in the first, hurling 5 innings, permitting 3 hits, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. Two scoreless innings followed from the arms of A.J. Minter and Sam Freeman before the disastrous eighth. Nats starter Gio Gonzalez was in fine form striking out 8 though 7 innings with 2 runs given up, both solo home runs from Freddie Freeman and Kurt Suzuki. Gonzalez notches his 15th victory.

    Final Line: Nationals: 7 runs, 8 hits, 0 errors, Braves: 3 runs, 4 hits, 1 error

    Next Game: Thursday, September 21 at Atlanta, 7:35 ET

    Nationals Record: 92-59


    • Thursday, September 21: Braves 3, Nationals 2

      In a fast played game (by today's standards), the Braves avoid the sweep with a victory over the Nats.

      Former Cy Young winner and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is the winning pitcher for Atlanta. Securing his 10th win of the year, the 42 year old pitches an efficient 8 innings of 4 hit, 2 run ball. Fresh off his terrible appearance last night, Arodys Vizcaino regains his control by striking out the side in ninth for the save. For Washington, Tanner Roark yields 3 runs on 6 hits in 7 IP, striking out 7 and walking none. Despite Roark's yeomen effort, his record drops to 13-10.

      Ozzie Albies, who has hit Washington pitching well, smacked a RBI single in the first to put the Braves on the scoreboard. The Nats answered back in the second on Ryan Zimmerman's solo homer to tie the game at 1. Zimmerman's home run was his 34th this season, establishing a career high in a season for the 13 year veteran. Atlanta, behind a sacrifice fly from Freddie Freeman and run scoring single by Johan Camargo, regained the upper hand in the fourth to make it 3-1. The Nats scored a run in the eighth on Matt Wieters RBI single to close the scoring.

      Final Line: Braves: 3 runs, 7 hits, 0 errors, Nationals: 2 runs, 4 hits, 2 errors

      Next Game: Friday, September 22, at NY Mets, 7:10 ET

      Nationals Record: 92-60


      • Friday, September 22: Mets 7, Nationals 6

        Behind Travis d' Arnaund's two homers and four RBI, the Mets dig out of a 6-1 hole to defeat the Nationals, 7-6.

        Pitching his way off the post season roster, starter Edwin Jackson lasts just 4.2 innings with 6 runs and 8 hits allowed in a no decision. The Mets' Norichika Aoki RBI ground rule double in the sixth makes Joe Blanton the losing hurler. Recording the victory for the Mets was Chasen Bradford in relief of starter Robert Gsellman.

        Final Line: Mets: 7 runs, 12 hits, 0 errors, Nationals: 6 runs, 6 hits, 0 errors

        Nationals Record: 92-61


        • Saturday, September 23: Nationals 4, Mets 3 (10)

          How does a team fall from being a pennant winner to a team that is 22 games under .500 in just two years? For the Mets, it is bad contracts given to players such as Yoenis Cespedes, injuries and decline from former ace Matt Harvey and letting a heart and soul player walk as a free agent. That heart and soul player, Daniel Murphy, continues to haunt his old club, socking the game winning home run in the tenth to lift the Nats to victory.

          Things did not get off to a rosy start for the Nationals. With Stephen Strasburg on the hill, the Mets scored three runs in the third. A double from Brandon Nimmo and a two run single from Kevin Plawecki staked the New Yorkers to a 3-0 lead. As planned by manager Dusty Baker, Strasburg had a short outing, going 5 innings with 3 runs and 7 hits allowed. Five National relievers kept the Mets off the scoreboard for the final five innings with Sammy Solis picking up his first win of the year.

          Returning from the DL, Mets starter Noah Syndergaard threw only 5 pitches in 1 inning before calling it a night. Harvey came on and served up two gopher balls to Adam Lind in the fourth and Matt Wieters in the fifth that allowed the Nats to quickly tie the game. In all, Mets manager Terry Collins sent a whopping nine pitchers to the mound. Jacob Rhame is stuck with his first big league loss.

          Even though the Nationals were the victors, they went just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. In the loss last night, the Nats were 2 for 9. The Nationals are relying on home runs way too much this season, in my opinion. While this strategy works against lesser teams, it will not work in the post season.

          Final Line: Nationals: 4 runs, 10 hits, 0 errors, Mets: 3 runs, 8 hits, 0 errors.

          Next Game: Sunday, September 24 at NY Mets, 1:10 ET

          Nationals Record: 93-61


          • Sunday, September 24: Nationals 3, Mets 2

            The Nationals are guaranteed home field advantage in the upcoming NLDS with today's win over the Mets.

            In a good pitching match up, it was Max Scherzer vs Mets ace Jacob deGrom. Both pitchers got plenty of strikeouts, Scherzer with 10 in 6 IP and deGrom with 11 in 6 frames. Scherzer would ultimately come out on top to improve to 16-6 on the year, while deGrom drops to 15-10. Joe Blanton worked around a walk to record a scoreless seventh inning. In the eighth, Ryan Madson allowed a run on 3 hits in 0.2 innings and departed with the bases loaded. Sammy Solis would fan Kevin Plawecki to end the threat. Matt Kintzer picked up his 1st save as a National and his 29th overall on the year.

            The Mets jumped out to a 1-0, first inning lead on a Brandon Nimmo home run. Nats SS Trea Turner would line a two run homer to left off deGrom in the second to put the Nationals ahead, 2-1. Washington tacked on its third run when Jose Lobaton singled in Michael A. Taylor in the fifth. The Mets closed the deficit to 3-2 on 2B Jose Reyes' RBI single in the eighth.

            Final Line: Nationals: 3 runs, 5 hits, 0 errors, Mets: 2 runs, 8 hits, 1 error

            Next Game: Monday, September 25 at Philadelphia, 7:05 ET

            Nationals Record: 94-61

            Nationals Notes: While the Nationals have yet not confirmed, a source close to the club has indicated that Bryce Harper will be activated for Monday's game in Philadelphia. Harper has not seen game action since August 12, when he injured his left knee and suffered a strained calf attempting to beat out an infield hit vs San Francisco.


            • Monday, September 25: Nationals 3, Phillies 1

              That Nationals take care of business in the City of Brotherly Love handing the Phils a 3-1 defeat. Michael A. Taylor's two run home run in the second proves to be the difference in this low scoring affair.

              Nationals starter A.J. Cole strikes out 5 in 5.2 innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 run and 2 walks to collect his 3rd win. The lone bright spot in the Phillies rotation this season, Aaron Nola, sees his record drop to 12-11. Nola strikes out 9 in 6 innings, with 5 hits, 2 runs and 2 walks.

              Taylor's 17th home run in the second put Washington on top at 2-0. A two out homer from Phillies CF Odubel Herrera in the fourth shaved the Nats lead to one. The Nationals tallied an insurance run in the eighth on a force out from the slumping Jayson Werth that scored Ryan Zimmerman.

              Final Line: Nationals 3 runs, 8 hits, 0 errors, Phillies: 1 run, 6 hits, 0 errors

              Next Game: Tuesday, September 26 at Philadelphia. 7:05 ET

              Nationals Record: 95-61

              Nationals Notes: Bryce Harper's return from the DL was delayed due to Harper having flu like symptoms. It is hoped that Harper will return tomorrow night


              • Tuesday September 26: Phillies 4, Nationals 1

                Losing this meaningless game was not the story tonight. The story was the long awaited return of Bryce Harper, who played for the first time since August 12. Limited to five innings, Harper was 0 for 2 with a strikeout and a walk. Harper's return does not awaken the sleepwalking Nationals in this 4-1 loss.

                Starter Gio Gonzalez struck out 7, but had issues with his control. In likely his last start of the regular season, Gonzalez walked 5 and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings to pick his 8th loss. Enny Romero's 1 run, 1 IP appearance was sandwiched around scoreless outings from Joe Blanton and Austin Adams. For the home team, former Detroit Tiger and Texas Ranger prospect Jake Thompson compiles 5 plus innings, with 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. The injury prone Thompson collects his third win of the year. Including Thompson, the Nats would strike out fourteen times against four Phillie pitchers.

                Like last night, a solo home run in the second got the Nats on the board first, this time hit by former Phil, Howie Kendrick. In the bottom of the third, the young Phils would make Gonzalez pay for his wildness. SS Freddy Galvis and RF Aaron Altherr worked out back to back walks to open the frame. One out later, 1B Tommy Joseph singled to right to score Galvis to tie the game. Not finished yet, C Cameron Rupp ripped a two run double to center, which CF Michael A. Taylor misplayed, plating Altherr and Joseph to put the Phils ahead, 3-1. Darkhorse NL Rookie of the Year candidate Rhys Hoskins' sacrifice fly in the seventh gave Philadelphia its fourth run.

                Final Line: Phillies: 4 runs, 6 hits, 0 errors, Nationals: 1 run, 4 hits, 1 error

                Next Game: Wednesday, September 27 at Philadelphia, 7:05 ET

                Nationals Record: 95-62
                Last edited by Steve Jeltz; 09-26-2017, 08:56 PM.


                • Wednesday, September 27: Phillies 7, Nationals 5

                  In their final regular season road game, the Nationals fall to the Phillies in a four hour marathon. Wasted scoring chances (3 for 12 with runners in scoring position) and a terrible showing by Nats starter Tanner Roark spell defeat.

                  A combined ten pitchers took to the hill for both clubs. Roark, the losing pitcher, is chased after 4.2 innings, with 7 hits, 6 runs and 5 walks yielded. His fellow starter, Mark Leiter Jr., doesn't fare better. Leiter Jr. is lit up for 8 hits, 5 runs and 3 walks in 4.1 innings in a no decision. In relief of Leiter Jr., Yaksel Rios picks up his first ML win, but not before allowing 2 inherited runners to score and 2 walks in 0.2 innings. Getting the save is Hector Neris, who struck out 2 in a scoreless ninth.

                  Philadelphia struck first in the second. A two run double from C Jorge Alfaro and a double play ground ball from Leiter Jr. put the Phils in front, 3-0. Single runs in the third and fourth innings by the Nats cut the deficit to 3-2. In the top of the fifth, Anthony Rendon's RBI single and Jayson Werth's two run double would put the Nationals ahead temporarily, 5-3. The Phillies regained the advantage in the bottom half, thanks to LF Aaron Altherr's RBI triple and CF Odubel Herrera's RBI double. An error from C Pedro Severino on a Daniel Murphy throw to the plate in the eighth produced the Phil's final run.

                  Final Line: Philles: 7 runs, 9 hits, 0 errors, Nationals: 5 runs, 11 hits, 1 error

                  Next Game: Thursday, September 28 vs Pittsburgh, 7:05 ET

                  Nationals Record: 95-63

                  Nationals Notes: The Nationals will square off against the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS starting in Washington on October 6. Washington will be seeking their first NLDS series win after defeats to the Cardinals in 2012, the Giants in 2014 and the Dodgers last year. Overall, the Montreal/Washington franchise has won one postseason series when the Montreal Expos disposed of the Phillies in the NLDS in the strike shortened 1981 season.


                  • Thursday, September 28: Nationals 5, Pirates 4

                    Tuning up for the postseason, the Nationals pull out a 5-4 victory thanks to Alejandro De Aza's game winning single in the bottom of the ninth. Pittsburgh 1B Josh Bell's two run homer in the top of the ninth off eventual winning pitcher, Sean Doolittle, tied it. It was Doolittle's first blown save as a National.

                    In an encouraging start, Nationals starter Edwin Jackson was steady over 6 innings, striking out 7 and allowing 2 runs. Ivan Nova of the Pirates pitched 2 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits before leaving with an injured hand. Attempting a sacrifice bunt in the third, Nova was hit on his right hand and removed from the game. Daniel Hudson is the losing pitcher, failing to retire a batter in the ninth before De Aza's game winner.

                    Final Line: Nationals: 5 runs, 11 hits, 0 errors, Pirates: 4 runs, 6 hits, 0 errors

                    Next Game: Friday, September 29 vs Pittsburgh, 7:05 ET

                    Nationals Record: 96-63


                    • Friday, September 29: Nationals 6, Pirates 1

                      Keyed by a pair of Ryan Zimmerman home runs and Stephen Strasburg's stellar start, the Nationals sink the Pirates, 6-1.

                      Solidifying his case for the NL Cy Young Award, winning pitcher Strasburg tossed 7.2 innings of 2 hit ball, striking out 8 and not permitting a run. Strasburg finishes the regular season with a 15-4 record. Fellow number 1 overall draft pick, Gerrit Cole of Pittsburgh, went 5.1 innings, allowing 8 hits and 3 runs, while striking out 7. Cole is handed the loss and completes his campaign with a .500 record of 12-12.

                      A double by Zimmerman bringing around Anthony Rendon put the Nats ahead,1-0, in the first. For the next 4.1 innings, Strasburg and Cole exchanged zeros until Washington broke the game open in the sixth. A RBI single from Daniel Murphy and a two run homer from Zimmerman provided the Nats with a 4-0 lead. In the bottom of the eighth, back to back homers from Zimmerman and Jayson Werth off Buc reliever Dan Runzler increased the lead to 6-0. Former 2013 NL MVP Award winner Andrew McCuthen drove in Pittsburgh's lone run on a double in the ninth.

                      Final Line: Nationals: 6 runs, 11 hits, 1 error, Pirates: 1 run, 4 hits, 0 errors

                      Next Game: Saturday, September 30 vs Pittsburgh, 7:05 ET

                      Nationals Record: 97-63


                      • Saturday, September 30: Pirates 4, Nationals 1

                        Max Scherzer had to leave tonight's game against Pittsburgh with a cramped right hamstring. Scherzer will have a MRI performed for precautionary measures. Hopefully, Scherzer is alright in time for the NLDS.

                        Before his departure, Scherzer allowed 0 runs, 1 hit, and 5 strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Over the next 4.2 innings, A.J. Cole and Enny Romero did a great job in relief, not yielding a hit to Pittsburgh. In the ninth, Brandon Kintzler entered to seal a potential 1-0 win. However, the Pirates offense came alive, scoring 4 runs on 4 hits off Kintzler in 0.2 innings. It is Kintzler's 3rd loss of the year.

                        Starting pitcher Jameson Taillon of the Pirates pitched 7 strong innings, keeping the Nationals off balance by giving up just 4 hits, 1 walk and 1 run. Taillion pitched to a no decision. Picking up his first win of 2017 was veteran George Kontos, who hurled a perfect eighth. Collecting his 21st save was "Nightmare" Felipe Rivero, who was perhaps given up on too quickly by the Nationals in 2016.

                        The Nats took an early 1-0 lead in the second on Ryan Zimmerman's RBI single. The score would remain unchanged until the ninth. Seeking his second save as a Nat, Kintzler was one strike away from preserving the victory with Sean Rodriguez at the dish. With the Washington faithful on their feet anticipating the victory, Rodriguez lashed a game tying single. Following a walk to Elias Diaz that loaded the bases, Max Moroff's bases clearing triple completed Pittsburgh's come from behind victory.

                        Final Line: Pirates: 4 runs, 5 hits, 0 errors, Nationals: 1 run, 4 hits, 0 errors

                        Next Game: Sunday October 1, vs Pittsburgh, 3:05 ET for the final regular season game.

                        Nationals Record: 97-64


                        • Sunday October 1: Pirates 11, Nationals 8

                          Game number 162 goes four and a half hours with the Nationals coming out on the short end of an 11-8 loss. Pittsburgh is powered by four RBI from Max Moroff and three RBI from Jacob Stallings.The Nationals Anthony Rendon achieves a personal milestone by reaching the century mark in RBI for the first time in his career with a three run homer in the first.

                          Gio Gonzalez was not sharp in his final regular season start. The Bucs batted around in the first by scoring five runs of the lefthander, with Gonzalez plunking Jordan Leplow for one of the Pirates runs. Gonzalez is the losing pitcher with a line of 4.1 IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts to finish with a 15-9 slate on the season. Preparing for the NLDS, manager Dusty Baker inserted Tanner Roark into the contest. Roark didn't fare better, surrendering 2 runs on 3 hits in 1 inning. In all, Washington sent six pitchers to the hill with varying degrees of success. The Pirates, auditioning pitchers for 2018, sent nine hurlers to the mound. Starter Steven Brault went 2 plus innings, with 6 hits, 4 runs, and 4 walks. The win would go to the second Pittsburgh pitcher, Angel Sanchez, who tossed 2 innings of scoreless ball.

                          Washington batters would deposit 16 hits, but would leave 16 men on base. Rendon was 1 for 3 with the three run homer and ends the regular season with an even 100 RBI. Also homering for the Nats was Michael A. Taylor, who hit his 19th. Bryce Harper, in his best game since returning from the DL, went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored. Rounding out the Nationals who had multi hits games were Trea Turner, Adrian Sanchez, Daniel Murphy and Alejandro De Aza.

                          Final Line: Pirates: 11 runs, 14 hits, 2 errors, Nationals: 8 runs, 16 hits, 0 errors

                          Next Game: Game 1 of the NLDS. Friday, October 6, vs Chicago Cubs, 7:30 ET.

                          Final Regular Season Record: 97-65, 1st place in the NL East, 20 games ahead of 2nd place Miami.


                          • Nationals Notes:

                            * Stephen Strasburg won the NL Pitcher of the Month for September. Strasburg went 4-0, with a 0.83 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 32.2 innings. It is the third time Strasburg has won the NL Pitcher of the Month, having previously accomplished the feat in April, 2012 and July, 2016.

                            * The NL Reliever of the Month for September is Sean Doolittle. In 11 appearances, Doolittle saved 8 games, struck out 14, walked 3 and held opposing hitters to a .158 batting average.

                            * It's still uncertain who will start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Nats. Max Scherzer would have been the starter if not for his hamstring injury last Saturday. More than likely, it will be announced who the starter will be after Scherzer throws on Wednesday. This is turning into a needless mini soap opera when the Nats have another ace in Strasburg. Logic states you start Strasburg in Game 1, as it is crucial for the Nationals to get off on the right foot. Game 2, I would start Gio Gonzalez and send the rested Scherzer to the hill for Game 3 in Wrigley.

                            * Bryce Harper continues his quest to work the rust off by facing live pitching in batting practice. Sammy Solis and Edwin Jackson have been pitching to Harper in BP.

                            * There is a small possibility that Brian Goodwin may be on the post season roster. Goodwin, out since mid-August with a groin injury, is on a rehab assignment in West Palm Beach, FL. Manager Dusty Baker stated that Goodwin appears healthy and is not favoring his groin.

                            * Baker's contract expires at the end of this season. The Washington front office, while publicly stating they are pleased with Baker's performance, has informed Baker that they will evaluate his contract situation after the season. Baker stated that he is happy in Washington and plans to continue managing.

                            "I'm concentrating on today," Baker said. "My future is to really stay healthy, stay alive so I can see my son play in the big leagues. I've given some thought to some things, but we were told that we were waiting until after the season to make determination. There's a good chance I'll be back. I wanna be back."


                            • Game 1, NLDS, Friday, October 6: Cubs 3, Nationals 0

                              Chicago snatches the home field advantage by blanking the Nationals, 3-0, in the first game of this best of five series. A fine pitching duel between Stephen Strasburg and Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks cannot overshadow Anthony Rendon costly error in the sixth and Chicago's Anthony Rizzo's clutch hitting.

                              The defending World Series champions had their hands full with Strasburg. In a sparkling performance, Strasburg struck out 10 and allowed 3 hits and 3 runs (1 unearned) in 7 innings for the tough loss. Pitching in place of Max Scherzer, Strasburg carried a no hitter into the sixth inning when Chicago's Javier Baez reached on an error by Rendon. Hendricks sacrificed Baez to second for the first out. Following a fly out from Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant broke up the no hitter and scoreless game by lacing a RBI single to right to score Baez. Nats RF Bryce Harper foolishly tried to throw out Baez at the plate, which allowed Bryant to barely beat Matt Wieters throw to second. The Cubs immediately cashed in on Harper's mental mistake when Bryant came home on Rizzo's single. In the eighth, Rizzo knocked in his second RBI on an opposite field double off Ryan Madson to make it 3-0.

                              The Nationals offense never did get untracked or mount a real threat against Hendricks. Hendricks went 7 innings, striking out 6, walking 3 and allowing only 2 hits for the victory. The tandem of Carl Edwards Jr. and Wade Davis each pitched a perfect inning, with Davis being credited with the save. Washington could only muster two hits for the entire game, singles from Harper and Michael A. Taylor.

                              Final Line: Cubs: 3 runs, 5 hits, 1 error, Nationals: 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 error

                              Next Game: Game 2, Saturday, October 7, vs Chicago Cubs, 5:30 ET


                              • Game 2, NLDS, Saturday, October 7: Nationals 6, Cubs 3

                                Time will tell if this is the game that serves as a springboard to Washington finally winning a playoff series. A five run eighth inning, keyed by dramatic home runs from Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, allows the Nationals to even the series at one game apiece.

                                Anthony Rendon's solo home run off Cubs starter Jon Lester in the first inning handed the Nats their first run of the series. Chicago quickly answered in the second off Gio Gonzalez with a long ball of their own, a Wilson Contreras solo job to tie the game at 1. In a play slightly reminiscent of the Jeffrey Maier/Derek Jeter home run controversy in the 1996 ALCS, Anthony Rizzo smacked a deep fly ball to right that a Cub fan reached over the railing to catch. After a review, its was ruled a two run home run for Rizzo that put the Cubs ahead, 3-1, in the fourth.

                                Down to their final six outs and facing a 0-2 hole in the series, the Nationals offense finally got out of its malaise. Adam Lind led off the frame with a single off Carl Edwards Jr. One out later, Harper launched an offering from Edwards Jr. into the second deck in right to tie the score at 3. A Rendon walk from Edwards Jr. and Daniel Murphy's single off new Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery set up Zimmerman's heroics. Zimmerman's three run home run just cleared the left field fence to give the Nationals the 6-3 advantage.

                                Both starting pitchers gained no decisions. Gio Gonzalez exited after 5 innings, surrendering 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. The bullpen for the Nationals shut down the Cubs the rest of the way. Matt Albers, Sammy Solis, Ryan Madson, Oliver Perez and Sean Doolittle allowed 3 hits and 1 walk in 4 innings. The victory went to Perez, who recorded a crucial double play from Rizzo in the top of the eighth. Chicago's Jon Lester, making his 24th career postseason appearance, final line was 6 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. Pedro Stroup twirled a perfect seventh. Edwards Jr, the losing pitcher, and Montgomery teamed to allow all five National runs in the eighth.

                                Final Line: Nationals: 6 runs, 6 hits, 0 errors, Cubs, 3 runs, 6 hits, 0 errors

                                Next Game: Game 3, Monday, October 9 at Chicago Cubs, 4:00 ET


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