Quick Links

Close plays on basepaths doom Nats in loss to Cubs


Close plays on basepaths doom Nats in loss to Cubs

With their offense stalled in a two-week long slump, the Nationals walked a tightrope on Thursday night that caused several close plays and one big mistake on the basepaths to loom large in their 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

The game itself ended when Clint Robinson was picked off by catcher David Ross at first base. Robinson had followed a Michael Taylor single with a walk against Cubs closer Hector Rondon. And with Anthony Rendon at the plate eyeing a chance to be the hero, Robinson misjudged his lead off the bag and it cost him.

Ross fired a bullet to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who easily tagged Robinson for the final out. The Nationals became the first team to lose on a catcher-to-first pickoff since... the Nationals on Aug. 12, 2009, when Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves caught Nyjer Morgan sleeping on base.

Robinson accepted blame for the loss in a brief interview afterwards.

"I just got too far, got picked off. Ballgame. Pretty much plain and simple," he said. "It's frustrating. But that's on me. That can't happen. Took the bat out of Anthony's hands, one of our better hitters, and it's just on me. That can't happen. I really can't explain it. I really wasn't trying to go anywhere, I just couldn't get back fast enough."

It was an unusual ending to a game that had already featured two innings end on Nats players getting caught stealing. The second of those plays ended the fourth inning, as Danny Espinosa was thrown out at second.

Espinosa slid in to the bag and thought he avoided the tag from Starlin Castro. The Nationals challenged the play, but it was upheld. That lost the Nats their one manager's challenge and it came back to bite them just two innings later.

Bryce Harper was also called out on a bang-bang play, his at first base on an RBI groundout. Harper came up with the bases loaded and one out against starter Jake Arrieta in the bottom of the sixth. He hit a slow grounder to Castro and was called out at first. Replays appeared to show he was safe, but the Nats did not have their challenge. The cut-off for umpires to call their own review is in the seventh inning.

"Bottom of the sixth, nothing we can do," Harper said. "Close call. I didn't get that one, but it would have been nice, definitely. Bases loaded with one out and [Ryan Zimmerman] coming up. I think that would have changed the momentum of the game, definitely. That's pretty rough."

Williams knows exactly how close the Nationals were to winning this one, but hopes their response on Friday doesn't change despite the result.

"We can look back a week and a half and it seems like we were getting a hit every time there was a guy in scoring position. The key to this whole thing is not to be one way or the other," he said.

"If Anthony would’ve hit a three-run homer there and we ended up winning the game, we’d forget about quickly because we have another one tomorrow. We must do the same in this instance and be ready to play tomorrow."

Soon after the Nationals lost to the Cubs, the New York Mets secured a 6-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. That pushed the Nats out of first place in the NL East for the first time since May 20. 

Quick Links

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

Quick Links

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.