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Stock Watch: Bullpen dooms Nats at worst possible time


Stock Watch: Bullpen dooms Nats at worst possible time

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

Record: 5-2

Team slash: .316/.391/.516

Team ERA: 3.66

Runs per game: 7.42 


Ryan Zimmerman, 1B: .524 AVG/ 9 RBI/ 1.452 OPS

Though Bryce Harper is closing out an MVP-caliber season, he actually might not be the best hitter on his own team in the second half. Since the All-Star break, Zimmerman leads the Nats in home runs (11), RBI (38) and OPS (1.024). Throughout the season when then offense was struggling, the club believed that its veterans would eventually put up numbers similar to their respective track record. It took some time, but Zimmerman has done just that. 

Bryce Harper, RF: .333 AVG/ 3 HR/ 1.390 OPS 

Of course, Zimmerman's hot second half doesn't mean that Harper has been slumping -- not by a long shot. The 22-year-old phenom showed off his power this week, homering in three straight games against the Braves. He may not be getting as many pitches to hit as he did earlier in the season, but he's still feasting on mistakes. What's made Harper's season so incredible is that it seems like he hasn't gotten into a rut at the plate; pitchers may have become increasingly careful when facing him, but he's refused to expand his strike zone. There have been plenty of at-bats where the Harper of old may have tried to swing for the fences, but now he seems content with taking a bloop single to the opposite field. That's a sign of a maturing hitter, and one opposing pitchers are going to have to deal with for a long time. 

Jayson Werth, LF: .313 AVG/ 2 HR/ 5 RBI 

It's safe to say at this point that the move to bat Werth leadoff has done him well. It took an entire season, but the 36-year-old veteran is finally back to looking like his old self. It's hard to believe that simply going to the top of the lineup would do the trick, but he has a slash line of .333/.393/.617 since Matt Williams made the change, so it's pretty hard to argue that it wasn't the right decision. The only problem with Werth's reemergence (much like the rest of the lineup) is that this might be a case of too little too late, and that's because.....


Blake Treinen/Felipe Rivero, RP: 8 ER

Two outs, a man on first with a 7-1 lead. That's the situation the Nats were faced with Tuesday night. If the bullpen could get just one more out, it's likely that the NL East deficit is cut to four games. Instead, what happened was the start of the worst sequence of the season: Walk, run-scoring single, walk, walk. A lot of fans have given Williams a lot of grief in recent weeks with how he's handled the bullpen. But the bottom line is that he's not the one on the mound, and at some point pitchers have to get outs. So with the bases loaded and the season on the line, the Nats' skipper went to his set-up man.

Drew Storen, RP: 4 GP/ 3.1 IP/ 2.10 WHIP 

There's really no other way to say this: Storen's rough outing against the Mets may have very well cost the Nats the season. By allowing a bases-clearing double to Yoenis Cespedes and three consecutive walks -- all before getting an out -- this team's fate might be sealed. They're still mathematically in it and anything's possible, but if and when they're officially out of contention everyone will likely look back at the seventh inning of Tuesday's gut-wrenching 8-7 loss as the clincher. What's stunning about this is that prior to being named the team's set-up man after the Jonathan Papelbon trade, Storen was among the best relievers in the game. And for his season to unravel as it has is just as unfortunate for him as it is for the team. The irony of Tuesday's loss was that fans had been upset that Storen and Papelbon weren't used in the prior series against the Mets at Citi Field. But in a cruel twist of fate, it was Storen who gave up the lead and Papelbon that later allowed the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning. 

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.