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Nats must wait for NLDS matchup, schedule


Nats must wait for NLDS matchup, schedule

The clubhouse at Nationals Park likely still smells like champagne, and players will likely be trudging in over the next hour or two still exhausted from last night's celebration, eager to take both a physical and emotional break from the grind before gearing up again for the postseason.

There isn't much time to rest, up, though. The National League Division Series awaits this weekend.

Now, if only the Nationals knew who they'll be playing and when.

Though they've wrapped up their first NL East title, there's still plenty left to be decided. The Nationals enter play today tied with the Reds for the NL's best record at 96-64. They own the tiebreaker against Cincinnati based on their 5-2 head-to-head record this season, so they merely need to hold their position over the next two days.

If the Nationals do end up as the No. 1 seed, they would face the winner of Friday night's NL Wild Card playoff in the NLDS, with Games 1 and 2 on the road Sunday and Monday in either Atlanta, St. Louis or Los Angeles. Nationals Park would then host Game 3 and, if necessary, Games 4 and 5 next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

If the Nationals end up as the No. 2 seed, they know they'll travel to San Francisco to face the NL West champion Giants on Saturday and Sunday. They would then return home for Game 3 on Tuesday, with Games 4 and 5 scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday if necessary.

One major complicating factor to all this: The weather. It's been pouring all day, and there's a 60 percent of rain throughout the evening, leaving tonight's game against the Phillies up in the air.

Though the outcome of the game has no bearing on the division race, it likely has bearing on the race with the Reds for the league's best record. And since this year's new format creates a real distinction between the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, Major League Baseball is going to want the Nationals to do everything within their power to play this game.

That could mean a long night at the park today, or it could mean a doubleheader tomorrow.

The division may be clinched and the postseason may be coming to Washington next week for the first time in 79 years, but there's still much to be sorted out between now and then.

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Will Mike Rizzo continue to shape the Nationals? The Junkies believe he's too valuable to lose

Will Mike Rizzo continue to shape the Nationals? The Junkies believe he's too valuable to lose

Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez and Matt Wieters aren't the only important guys within the Nationals organization becoming free agents in 2019.

President of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo is also becoming a free agent when his contract expires on October 31st.

In the final year of his five-year contract, the 57-year old is set to make $2.5 million.


Since joining the organization, Rizzo has turned the team into a legit World Series contender. They've won four division titles in the last six years under his guidance, but have been unable to get over the NL Division series hump. And even though that's a glaring red mark on his resume, Rizzo knows the success he's brought to the organization. 

When you look at what we accomplished,’’ Mike Rizzo said in a recent interview, “it’s really unsung and underappreciated. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished here. I like it here. I love the city. I love the team I put together. I like being a GM in the NL East. And I want to stay here. I just think I deserve to be treated like some of the best GMs in the game are, too.

Rizzo is talking about GM's like Cubs' Theo Epstein and Yankees' Brian Cashman, who've received big paydays over the last year.

I know we haven’t won the World Series, but I get tired of hearing how we can’t win the big one, or we can’t get out of the first round. We haven’t had that many chances.

Does Rizzo deserve an extension? The Sports Junkies think he does, but with GM's like the ones above cashing out, they can also see him wanting to test the open market.

"Why wouldn't they?", said Jason Bishop, noting his track record.

"There's a sense he wants to test the market," said Eric Bickel. That's the vibe I'm getting from him."

Rizzo is a weekly guest on the Junkies and has said that the organization will figure it out. However, the 2018 season may be the last time for a long time the Nats have a real shot at making a run before they lose some of their stars to other teams. If Rizzo does take that into consideration and decides to go elsewhere, the Junkies don't see him having any issues finding employment.

"If there was a time to roll, it would be after this season when you get your last run with this group," said Eric Bickel. And then If they don't pay you what you think you deserve, he'll be snatched up in 22 seconds."


If they do decide to sign him to an extension, will it be a long, drawn-out ordeal? The Junkies disagree on that one. 

"He is too valuable, Jason Bishop said. He's too valuable. You gotta ink him to a deal sometime during the season."

Luckily for D.C. sports fans, long, drawn-out extension talks aren't foreign to them.

To see their full discussion, click the media player above. 

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years


Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

WASHINGTON  -- The Nationals have agreed to a $7 million, two-year contract with outfielder Howie Kendrick, a deal subject to a successful physical.

Agent Pat Murphy confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Monday. USA Today was first to report the deal.

Kendrick, 34, hit .293 with seven home runs and RBIs in 52 games with Washington after he was acquired from Philadelphia. The versatile right-handed hitter got just three plate appearances off the bench in the playoffs.

In 12 major league seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Dodgers, Phillies and Nationals, Kendrick is a .291 hitter with a .755 OPS. He's now primarily an outfielder for Washington after playing left field, second base, first base and other positions throughout his career.