Nationals

Quick Links

Nationals place faith in Gio Gonzalez, name him Game 5 starter vs. Cubs

Nationals place faith in Gio Gonzalez, name him Game 5 starter vs. Cubs

The Washington Nationals have named Gio Gonzalez the Game 5 starter vs. the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park on Thursday night.

Gonzalez gets the call in the pivotal winner-take-all contest coming off of normal regular season rest, four days from his last appearance. Originally Stephen Strasburg was the anticipated starter in Game 5 coming into the series, but a rainout on Tuesday evening allowed manager Dusty Baker to change up the rotation. Strasburg got pushed up to the Game 4 starting role, in place of Tanner Roark, after starting Game 1.

It is the second straight game that Roark has been passed over for one of the Nationals top three pitchers. The Wilmington, Illinois native will be available out of the bullpen, looking for his fourth ever postseason appearance.

RELATED: STRASBURG’S GEM, TAYLOR’S GRAND SLAM FORCES GAME 5

Starting Game 2 for the Nationals this past Saturday, Gonzalez pitched a respectable 5.0 innings, allowing three earned runs on three hits and six strikeouts.

Including his postseason start, the 32-year-old is 0-1 in two starts against the Cubs in 2017 with a 3.27 ERA.

Throughout his 10-year career, Gonzalez has five postseason starts all resulting in no decisions and a 4.24 ERA.

This is the second winner-take-all Game 5 Gonzalez has pitched. His first was back in 2012 against the St. Louis Cardinals where the Nationals blew a 6-0 lead after three.

MORE GAME 5: D.C. METRO EXTENDS HOURS FOR NATS VS. CUBS

Gonzalez will duel the Cubs starter, Kyle Hendricks (1-0, 0.00 ERA in 2017 postseason) in Game 5. As the Game 1 starter in this series, Hendricks completely shut down the Nationals to only two hits, while only striking out five. He lasted seven innings handing off the game to Carl Edwards Jr. and Wade Davis to preserve the shutout.

In an all-hands on deck move, the Nationals also have their ace Max Scherzer available coming out of the bullpen in an attempt to advance to the National League Championship Series for the first time as the Nationals..

The D.C. four professional sports franchises have lost their last 12 games with a conference finals appearance on the line, according to the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg.

Since relocating to Washington, the franchise has ended two of their three postseason runs in a Game 5 situation in the NLDS. Both of those series were at home as well.

MORE MATS: HOW TO WATCH, FOLLOW NATS VS. CUBS, GAME 5

Quick Links

Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

usatsi_9347711.jpg

Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. 

Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.

Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.

The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.

Only the Marlins have had as many.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."

"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand." 

The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.

RELATED: BRYCE HARPER THANKS NATIONALS' FANS FOR SUPPORT

Quick Links

Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

usatsi_10342102.jpg

Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news. 

Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report. 

Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:

"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."

"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.

RELATED: HARPER THANKS FANS FOR SUPPORT