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Nats Stock Watch: Rendon rediscovering his power stroke

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Nats Stock Watch: Rendon rediscovering his power stroke

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 4-2

Team slash: .253/.367/.474

Team ERA: 3.23

Runs per game:  5.3


STOCK UP  

Anthony Rendon, 2B: .333 AVG/ 2 HR/ 5 RBI 

Ah, so this is the guy who finished fifth in NL MVP voting last year. For the first time all season, Rendon is finally showing what makes him one of the best infield bats in the NL. When he's on, it puts pitchers in serious conflict: Should they challenge Rendon, or deal with Bryce Harper, who hits right behind him? It's the scenario the Nats were hoping for much earlier in the season, but is only just coming to fruition right now.

Bryce Harper, RF: .375 AVG/ 1.153 OPS 

Speaking of Harper, has he ever gone into a slump this season? It doesn't really feel like it, despite the rest of the lineup's struggles. At 22, he's been the steadying force for an offense that has had its issues for most of 2015. His NL MVP case might be hurt a bit by the team's decline, with voters typically gravitating towards players on playoff clubs. But Harper's numbers might be too good to deny, especially considering how they outpace other Nats hitters by a wide margin.

Wilson Ramos, C: .353 AVG/ 2 HR/ 1.215 OPS  

The good news for Ramos this season? He's managed to stay healthy. The bad news? He's yet to establish himself as one of the best power-hitting catchers in the game as some thought he could be. Not that he hasn't been trying. He's been efforting to rediscover his power stroke from earlier in his career (particularly 2011 and 2013), trying to figure out what was working well in those years compared to what he's been doing lately. And if this past week is any indication, perhaps it's starting to pay off. He's hit home runs in back-to-back games -- the first time he's done that all season.

 

STOCK DOWN 

Gio Gonzalez, SP: 5.0 IP/ 0-1/ 7.20 ERA 

It seemed like Gio had a solid run for a while where he was quietly establishing himself one of the more consistent starters in the rotation. But after a recent rough patch -- he's 0-2 in his last two starts and has allowed 10 earned runs combined -- he finds himself listed here. When Gonzalez is off, he exhibits the same old problems; he doesn't throw his curve ball for strikes, he struggles to command the zone and he's not particularly pitch efficient. As Nats fans know, this is not the time for anyone on the staff to have a hiccup. The margin for error for each game is razor thin, so the rotation has no choice but to be at its best the last few weeks of the season if the club hopes to play in October.

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.