Nationals

Quick Links

Rookie Victor Robles dazzles as Nationals get back into win column

victor_robles_nationals_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Rookie Victor Robles dazzles as Nationals get back into win column

WASHINGTON -- Rookie Victor Robles was a part of a pair of two-run rallies, Tanner Roark pitched six strong innings, and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-2 on Thursday.

Washington salvaged the final game of the three-game set to earn its first victory since clinching the NL East on Sunday.

RELATED: NATIONALS BACK IN REACH OF THE DODGERS

In his second career start, Robles, who entered the year as the top prospect in the Nationals' organization and made his major league debut last week, offered a few more glimpses of his coveted skillset.

The 20-year-old tripled to right-center in the fourth off Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz (10-13), showing no interest in settling for a double as he zipped around second. He scored two batters later on Pedro Severino's fielder's choice grounder to make it 3-0.

Roark (13-9) at one point set down 12 in a row and did not yield a hit until Johan Camargo's two-out single in the fifth. He struck out seven over six innings, giving up four hits and two runs.

Sean Doolittle pitched the ninth for his 18th save in as many opportunities since Washington acquired him in a trade from Oakland in July.

Atlanta's Ozzie Albies hit a two-run homer to left-center just beyond the reach of center fielder Michael A. Taylor in the sixth. The blast, Albies' fourth of the season, extended the rookie's hitting streak to 12 games.

Robles affected the game with his speed again in the bottom of the inning. Camargo, the Braves' third baseman, overthrew first on Robles' infield single with a man on, allowing both runners to move into scoring position. Adrian Sanchez then delivered a two-run double.

MORE NATS: RELIVE THE LOCKERROOM NL EAST CLINCHING MOMENT

After waiting out a 30-minute rain delay at the start of the game, Foltynewicz lasted only four innings for the Braves before leaving with a cut on the tip of his right middle finger. He allowed three runs and four hits while striking out three.

Quick Links

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

usatsi_10342243.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

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.

Quick Links

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.