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Hammel leads Orioles over Nationals

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Hammel leads Orioles over Nationals

By Rich DubroffCSNwashington.com

Before the game, the mascots tussled. The Oriole Bird stole the cap from Screechs head. The fans cheered.Unlike last months series at Nationals Park, this crowd was dominated by Orioles rooters. Many didnt even notice that Davey Johnson had brought out the lineup card in his return.The 45,891 in attendance at Oriole Park were treated to an excellent game, and the Orioles won 2-1 on Friday night, thanks to another outstanding performance from Jason HammelAfter one-hitting Atlanta in his last appearance, Hammel (8-2) pitched eight innings, allowing just an unearned run and five hits in eight innings, striking out 10 and walking none. And Jordan Zimmermann wasnt bad, allowing two runs and eight hits in seven innings. Zimmermann (3-6) again suffered from little run support. He hasnt won in his last five decisions, and the Nationals (40-28) havent scored more than three runs in any of those starts. In the second, Mark Reynolds, who hit a team-leading 37 home runs last year, launched his sixth of the year off Jordan Zimmermann.The Nationals tied it in the fifth. Ian Desmond led off with a single. With one out, Roger Bernadina grounded to third. As Wilson Betemit threw to Reynolds at first, Desmond took off for second and then headed for third. Reynolds fired the ball to Betemit, who wasnt in position to take the throw, and it skipped passed him, allowing Desmond to score.In the bottom of the fifth, Zimmermann hit Nick Johnson with a pitch. With two outs, Brian Roberts singled and J.J. Hardy doubled to score Johnson for a 2-1 lead.In the seventh, Desmond singled with one out. Danny Espinosa followed with another. Hammel struck out Roger Bernadina and then Jesus Flores lined a ball that looked as if it was going to be a game-changing single, but Hardy leaped and snared it, saving the lead.Jim Johnson picked up his 21st save, pitching a scoreless ninth.The Orioles (40-30) have won three of four against the Nationals ths season.NOTES:-The game was delayed for 61 minutes by the threat of thunderstorms. Some rain fell early in the game.-The Orioles Chris Davis is 0-for-22.-On Saturday, Wei Yin-Chen (7-2, 3.36) will start for the Orioles. Edwin Jackson (3-4, 3.02) starts for the Nationals. Game time is 7:15 p.m. The game will be telecast on FOX. Bob Carpenter and Tom Verducci will be the broadcasters.

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.

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With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.

RELATED: COUNTLESS ERRORS DOOM NATIONALS IN SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.