Game in a nutshell: The Nationals had to like their chances with Stephen Strasburg on the mound against a Marlins lineup he's owned. And they really had to like their chances after they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second, with Strasburg and Adam LaRoche each delivering two-run singles. Strasburg did the rest of his damage on the mound, tossing six scoreless innings to bounce back from a ragged outing five days ago. Craig Stammen gave up a run in the seventh, but Sean Burnett tossed a scoreless eighth and then Drew Storen -- yes, Drew Storen -- pitched the ninth for his first save of the season. Thus, the Nationals took three of four from the Marlins and improved to 22 games over .500: a new season high.
Hitting highlight: The Nationals scored four runs in the bottom of the second, thanks to a pair of clutch hits from their most-consistent offensive players this season: LaRoche and Strasburg. Seriously, who has been a more consistent force with the bat than Strasburg, who is now hitting .343 with seven RBI? (That's more RBI than the Marlins' Nos. 1 and 2 hitters had entering today, by the way.) The big guy came to the plate with two on in the second and promptly sent a base hit to right field, bringing both runners home. Later that inning, LaRoche delivered his latest clutch hit: another two-run single. That gave the veteran first baseman 71 RBI for the season, which ranks seventh in the NL.
Pitching highlight: Coming off arguably the worst start of his brief career, Strasburg found solace in a familiar foe: the Marlins. The right-hander hasn't given up a run to Miami since last season (when the franchise's "city" name was still Florida). He's now thrown 27 consecutive scoreless innings against the Fish, including six superb frames today. Following his coaching staff's message, Strasburg relied mostly on his fastball, and because of it he managed to stay efficient. At 91 pitches through six innings, Davey Johnson could have left his starter in a bit longer. But why take a chance at this point in the season?
Key stat: Strasburg has given up four or more earned runs five times in his career. His ERA the next time he pitches: 0.90.
Up next: The Nationals hit the road for a 10-game, three-city road trip. It all begins at 8:05 p.m. Monday in Houston, with Edwin Jackson facing lefty Dallas Keuchel.
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."
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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.
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.
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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.
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