Nationals

Quick Links

Ross finds trouble in middle innings as Nats fall to Tigers

Ross finds trouble in middle innings as Nats fall to Tigers

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night at Nationals Park:

How it happened: The Nationals have grown accustomed to seeing young starter Joe Ross dominate opposing lineups, often looking wise beyond his age at just 23 years old. The Detroit Tigers, however, are an experienced group and they figured Ross out the more they saw him on Tuesday night. That included a big swing from two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera, who pinch-hit to deliver what ultimately served as the game-winning RBI for the Tigers.

Ross matched a career-high with five earned runs, including one too many in this one. Ryan Zimmerman homered twice and Danny Espinosa landed an RBI single to score four runs for the Nats, who fell just short and moved to 20-13 on the season.

What it means: The Nationals have a chance to win a series in the rubber match on Wednesday against their former teammate Jordan Zimmermann. If the Nats can get the victory, they will have won all three interleague series against they've had against AL Central opponents this year. They swept the Twins on April 22-24 and took two of three from the Royals on May 2-4.

Ross runs into trouble: Ross was strong out of the gate with three scoreless frames to begin the game. But Ross quickly hit a snag in the fourth inning, serving a leadoff single to Victor Martinez and then a two-run homer to Nick Castellanos, who also hit a bomb off Stephen Strasburg in the series opener on Monday. It was the first homer Ross has surrendered this season. Ross gave up two runs in the fourth and then three more two frames later in the sixth. That rally was again started by a Martinez single. James McCann would later single home a run. Andrew Romine drove in another on a forceout at second. And then Cabrera added a pinch-hit RBI single. Ross was pulled after six having matched a career-high with five earned runs on eight hits and two walks. He threw 97 pitches, 61 of them strikes.

Replay looms large: Cabrera's RBI single nearly didn't happen, as the Nationals challenged a play that would have ended the top of the sixth before his at-bat. It happened on Romine's RBI forceout. Anthony Gose slid off the bag towards Daniel Murphy, who was trying to turn the double play. The Nats thought it was an illegal takeout slide, but the umpires upheld the call, saying Romine was safe at first. Given the Nats lost by just one run, the call ended up important to the result of the game.

Zim makes them pay: It was a sight that has become quite familiar lately. The Tigers decided to pitch around Bryce Harper and walk him with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. But this time, what followed was different. Zimmerman blasted his second homer of the season to left field, a swing that put the Nats up a run at the time. Zimmerman homered again in the seventh inning, that one a solo shot, to give him three on the year. It was his 15th career multi-homer game. Zimmerman moved to 15 RBI on the season, which is good for third on the team but is far below where many of us thought he would be at this point hitting behind Harper. Even with the homers, Zimmerman has just four hits in his last six games. Before Tuesday, Zimmerman had just one homer in 27 games before hitting two in one night.

Multi-hits Murph: WIn what has become expected, Murphy had yet another excellent game, his 17th multi-hit outing in 32 total appearances this season and his third in as many days. Murphy has recorded at least one hit in 27 of his 32 games this season.

Multi-hits Ramos: Wilson Ramos' .372 average after Tuesday night may be 30 points below Murphy's, but it's an impressive mark for the Nats' backstop. He went 2-for-2 with two walks on Tuesday to continue his strong start to the 2016 season. It's good timing for The Buffalo, who is now the most notable Nats player in a contract year. Ramos did, however, get thrown out at home on a close play for the third out in the bottom of the eighth. Clint Robinson doubled to center field and Ramos came all the way around from first base. Third base coach Bobby Henley made an aggressive call to send him, but a strong relay by the Tigers got him out. That kept the game at 5-4 and helped secure a Nats loss.

What's next: The Nationals close out their interleague series against the Tigers with the pitching matchup we've long been waiting for. Zimmermann (5-1, 1.10) will make his much-anticipated return while Max Scherzer (3-2, 4.60) will pitch for the Nats. Both pitchers will be facing their former teams for the first time. Zimmermann currently boasts the best ERA in the majors.

Quick Links

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

Quick Links

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

It's 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