Nationals

Quick Links

Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 6: Final chance vs. Mets

usatsi_8791127.jpg

Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 6: Final chance vs. Mets

We are counting down the 10 biggest moments of 2015 for the Nationals as we approach New Year's Day. In the fifth installment, we look back at the Nationals' early September series against the New York Mets...

The Nationals' 2015 season was defined mostly by missed opportunities and no part of their schedule more exemplified that than their early-September series against the New York Mets.

Left for dead in the NL East in August, the Nats charged back by winning 11 of 15 games before the Mets came to town on Sept. 7. The Mets had lost five of their previous nine, as the Nats cut the deficit in the NL East to just four games. Presented to the Nationals was a chance to gain some serious ground in the division. A sweep would cut the lead to one game with 23 total left on their schedule.

The Nationals also had their pitching staff aligned with Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg set to face the Mets. Scherzer, their ace, got the ball for the opener and quickly found trouble. He gave up two runs in the second inning and five total through six. That was enough to equalize a five-run fourth inning for the Nationals, who then saw relievers Blake Treinen, Felipe Rivero and Casey Janssen all allow runs in an eventual 8-5 loss.

Game 2 of that series also saw the Nationals take an early lead. They went up 2-0 in the first inning off Matt Harvey and led 7-1 after six in large part due to a Little League grand slam hit by Michael Taylor. Yoenis Cespedes misplayed a ball in center field and the Mets paid for it big time.

One inning later, however, and the Mets would get it all back with six runs in one frame. Treinen, Rivero and Drew Storen combined for that disaster with Storen completely losing control of the strike zone. He issued a bases-clearing double to Cespedes, then followed with a wild pitch and three walks, the third to allow another run.

Storen obviously did not have it that night, yet manager Matt Williams continued to let him pitch in what ended an 8-7 loss. Williams would go back to Storen the following night, again to face Cespedes, only to provide one of the lowest moments for the Nats in their entire 2015 season.

Storen relieved Strasburg in the series finale after Strasburg had given up the tying run on a Kelly Johnson homer in the eighth inning. Williams brought Storen in to face Cespedes, who watched one pitch sail way out of the zone for a ball before demolishing a two-run bomb to left-center field. That put the Mets up 4-2, as they went on to win 5-3 and complete the sweep. The Nats left the ballpark that night down seven games in the division and with little hope of saving their season.

That night Storen broke his thumb while shutting the door of his locker. Just like the Nationals, his season had gone from bad to worse. And just as his season ended, the Nationals' hopes for 2015 ended as well. They had one final chance, but they couldn't take advantage and make something of what ultimately goes down as a lost year.

-

More from the countdown:

Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 10: Scherzer signs

Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 9: Trade deadline series vs. Mets

Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 8: Scherzer's second no-hitter

Nats 2015 biggest moments No 7: Harper's 3 homers vs. Marlins

Quick Links

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Quick Links

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

usatsi_9977852.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm