Last night in the seventh inning of Game 1 against the Phillies, Philadelphia starter Jeremy Hellickson lost control of a pitch that struck reigning MVP Bryce Harper squarely on the outside of his right knee. The collective beating heart of NatsTown skipped multiple beats as the left-handed slugger stood there while Dusty Baker and head trainer Paul Lessard examined Harper, finally escorting him to first. Things would not improve from there. Continue Reading Deep Breaths for Bryce Harper
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Sunday’s 10-2 win for the Washington Nationals over the St. Louis Cardinals encapsulated how dominant Stephen Strasburg has been all season. The success that has led him to his excellent start—which includes a 2.69 ERA and a 11 K/9 rate—was on display as he improved to 9-0, and a look his overall numbers shows that his early-season performance is sustainable.
Today is May 28th. Estimates vary, but the date that Trea Turner can be called up and be under team control through the 2022 season instead of 2021 is somewhere in the range from May 29th to June 1st (the Washington Post says May 30th), so it’s possible the sun will rise tomorrow on a Nats roster with Turner as starting shortstop. It’s no sure thing that Mike Rizzo and Co. will call up Turner the moment they can, but with Turner shredding Triple A and Danny Espinosa struggling somewhat in the majors (despite another home run last night), it’s hard to think of a more opportune time.
Obviously, much ink has been spilled about the relative merits of Turner and Espinosa, including an excellent post by our own Frank Lattuca, so I won’t totally dive into that. In this post, I will attempt to take a thorough accounting of what kind of defender Espinosa is — a topic that has been surprisingly controversial — and take a look at how good (or bad) Turner’s defense might be.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a … wait, this isn’t remedial English Lit, this is the tale of two hitters. Two outstanding left-handed hitters for the Washington Nationals that are having similarly opposite seasons. This is a case study in how the Baseball Gods, especially the BABIP Gods — a particularly finicky lot — can make or break your season.
Although FP won’t be successful in making Daniel “Hits” Murphy happen, give him credit for trying because the sentiment stands. Murphy has been the best and most consistent hitter on the Nationals this far in the 2016 season. In fact, he’s been one of the best and most consistent hitters in all of baseball. He’s tied for the seventh-highest WAR in the majors according to FanGraphs. His .394 batting average is the highest in the league by over 30 points. Only 13 players in the MLB have struck out a lower rate than Murphy. He’s carried the offensive load for the Nationals for most of the season even though no one predicted such big things out of the former Met.
The Nationals have been busy this last month: sweeping the Cardinals for the first time since 2007, making history with a 20-strikeout complete game, and winning a series against division rival New York Mets. All this, and the Nationals still found time to check out the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and force Dan Kolko to wear pink sunglasses.
Here it is, the second and final part of The Nats Blog’s countdown of the Washington Nationals’ Top-10 Prospects. The outcome of this half of the list is not at all surprising, but the upside of the players and—in a few cases—their proximity to the majors make it very compelling.
For the second straight year, The Nats Blog presents its countdown of the Washington Nationals’ Top-10 Prospects.
There are some changes from last year’s list, and part one is the most reflective of that trend. One player from this list was not ranked last year, while another was only drafted in June. Part Two — which will cover players five through one — is truly the cream of the crop, but this section has its points of interest, yielding the Nationals some potential rotation insurance and a trio of promising position players.
Baseball is tradition in my family.
My father played baseball throughout high school and into college. My mother would sneak away from her two sisters to watch baseball games with her father, all while keeping score. My brother and I both played competitive baseball through high school before taking our talents to slow pitch softball.
Traditionally baseball is a game between fathers and sons (as evidenced by the myriad of baseball movies focused on that relationship) which is one of the things that made yesterday’s Max Scherzer no-hitter all the more special. Max’s parents Brad and Jan decided to make the trek to DC for Father’s Day weekend to see him pitch in person for just the second time in a Nationals uniform and they sure picked the right game. Getting to see your son throw his first no hitter must’ve been the thrill of a lifetime and the best possible gift Brad could’ve received.
For me however, the game was bittersweet.
Baseball is and has always been a huge part of my family life – growing up there were practices, games, catch in the back yard, unraveling a baseball to see what was inside, trips to the Kingdome for Jay Buhner shave-your-head night, camps, injuries, trips, soft toss, pepper, and everything else that could ever happen with a baseball focus. Needless to say my entire family was over the moon at the end of 2004 season when Bud Selig announced that the Montreal Expos would be moving to DC effective immediately. Everything was fantastic and I would once again have a team to pour my heart and soul into.
Later that offseason, before the Washington Nationals even reported to Viera for the first time as a DC baseball club, my father passed away of a sudden heart attack at age 49. Life grew dark and hope was nonexistent.
Then, like it does every year, spring arrived and with it baseball. My perspective on life had changed drastically, and things were never really going to be the same for me, but baseball remained constant. It took me years to climb out of the fog but every step of the way there were family baseball moments; Zim’s 4th of July walkoff, Opening Night of Nats Park, Zim’s Mother’s Day Walkoff, Marquis giving up 7 runs without recording a single out, Randy Johnson winning his 300th game. The pain went from raw to dull over time but along the way baseball played its part and brought my family through, giving us something to bond over to get through the darkest of times. Which brings me back to yesterday.
As I was sitting in the stands with my best friend of almost eighteen years watching Max Scherzer throw his first career no-hitter in front of his father on Father’s Day weekend I was overcome with emotion, not only because it was my first career no-no but because of my family. My mother texted me after the game and told me that seeing a no-hitter in person was one of the few things my father never got to experience and that it was fitting that I got to experience it on this Father’s Day weekend; for him. I’m not much for coincidences, I believe everything happens for a reason – I was meant to be in the park yesterday for history on Father’s Day weekend receiving this gift from my father.
As I go forward in 2015 I will be welcoming a son of my own into the world this November and as much as I wish that I could have three generations of MacHenry men watching a future no-hitter at Nats Park, I take so much joy in the fact that I will be able to share it with the rest of my family. Because after all, baseball doesn’t have to be just a father-son thing – it’s a family thing.