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A breakthrough for Nats?


A breakthrough for Nats?

As the hits kept piling up and the balls kept soaring out of Coors Field, the smiles inside the Nationals' dugout kept getting bigger and bigger.

If ever a team needed a 12-run, 21-hit performance, this was it. For the first time in a long time, the Nationals were able to rest easy knowing they had a comfortable lead in hand. Not since a 7-2 victory in Atlanta on May 27 had they won a game by more than four runs.

And they hadn't hit like this since ... well, they hadn't hit like this any previous game this season. You have to go back to May 20, 2011 to find the last time the Nationals scored at least 12 runs (they racked up 17 that night in Baltimore). And you have to go way back to July 11, 2009 in Houston to find the last time they compiled 21 hits (the club record since the franchise arrived in Washington). And you can go back as far as you want but you won't find any previous game in which the Nationals pounded out 11 extra-base hits as they did last night.

Yes, in one fell swoop, this team managed to take the heat off its hitting coach, raise its season batting average four points (from .238 to .242) and slugging percentage eight points (from .387 to .395) and perhaps convince everyone in their clubhouse to request cortisone shots by daybreak.

Try picking one player of the game. You can't. Ryan Zimmerman went 3-for-5, making him 6-for-12 with two doubles and a homer since getting one of those pain-killing shots on his shoulder on Sunday. Michael Morse and Ian Desmond each went 4-for-5, each driving in a pair. Adam LaRoche smacked two homers, raising his team-leading total to 15. And Tyler Moore hit a 440-foot bomb way up into the left-field bleachers, driving in three runs himself with one mighty swing.

This was as cathartic a ballgame as ever there was, for any number of people in Nationals uniforms who desperately needed something like this.

But what was the significance of this in the bigger picture? Was this the breakthrough game that will catapult all these slumping hitters to greater heights and turn their fortunes around? Or was this merely a blip on the radar, a one-time explosion inside the greatest hitters park ever constructed and a precursor to more struggles moving forward?

We don't yet know, but we do know a few things...

1. Zimmerman looks like a brand-new hitter now that he's not feeling any pain in his right shoulder. He looks like the guy who carried this franchise for much of the last six seasons.

2. Morse was too good of a hitter to continue like this for long. With four hits, he raised his batting average an astounding 31 points in one night, from .219 to .250. He certainly appears ready to kick his delayed season into high gear now.

3. Moore looks like the real deal at the plate, a legitimate masher who can produce against left-handers and right-handers alike. The rookie is now hitting .319 with three homers and eight RBI in only 53 plate appearances

4. In a sport in which success is predicated so much on the confidence level of the players involved, there will be no more confident group this morning than the members of the Nationals lineup.

Could all of this become moot in 24 hours? Sure, the Nats could fall back into their offensively challenged ways and never come close to duplicating these feats at the plate.

Just don't tell that to anyone inside that clubhouse, which will be overflowing with confidence and good vibes when both teams take the field for tonight's game.

The only numbers that matter to them today are 12 and 21. They're the numbers that defined the most-productive offensive day this franchise has experienced in a long time.

And right now, there isn't one guy in uniform who doesn't believe they can do this again.

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

USA Today Sports

Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.