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Strasburg and Werth deliver in Nats win


Strasburg and Werth deliver in Nats win

For 10 days, they had either lost ground to the Mets or at best kept pace with the NL East leaders, unable to gain positive momentum of any kind. But late Wednesday night, the Nationals finally closed the gap a bit, taking advantage of the Orioles' walk-off win over New York by rallying themselves to beat the Rockies, 4-1 at Coors Field.

And so, on the 11th day, the Nats at long last got a game back. They now trail in the division by 3 1/2 games, with a chance to bring that number down to 3 games should Max Scherzer beat Johan Flande in Thursday's series finale, with the Mets getting a day off.

Baby steps, folks. This isn't going to happen overnight.

If the Nationals keep playing like they did Thursday, getting a dominant pitching performance and some timely hits, they'll give themselves a reasonable chance at catching the Mets and salvaging this wayward season. There was a to like in this victory, including...

Stephen Strasburg continues to dominate since returning from the DL
It wasn't all that long ago when Strasburg was the biggest question mark on the Nats roster. Nowadays, he's the closest thing they have to a sure thing in their rotation.

It's been a dramatic turnaround for the right-hander, and not only since he returned from his oblique strain. The turnaround actually began way back in June when Strasburg returned from his first DL stint, this one for a stiff neck.

He has made six starts since then, and though the oblique injury derailed things for five weeks, Strasburg has picked up right where he left off and turned back into the dominant pitcher we had seen him be in the past. In those six starts, he has gone 4-1 with a 1.26 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, six walks and 43 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings.

Not bad, huh?

The biggest difference between Strasburg now and Strasburg back in April and May, when nothing went right? Fastball command. In his three most recent starts, he has thrown his fastball for strikes 73 percent of the time. That makes all the difference.

For the first time in awhile, Strasburg is pitching with confidence, holding tough Rockies and Giants lineups to three total earned runs over these three starts. If the Nationals are going to mount a major August/September surge, this would be great piece of the puzzle.

Jayson Werth has rediscovered his form in the leadoff spot
I wrote yesterday about the logic behind the lethargic Werth moving up to the No. 1 spot in the Nationals' lineup, hoping to take advantage of his ability to work the count while taking pressure off him to drive in runs. Well, he reached base three times during Tuesday night's win, looking perfectly comfortable in the role. Then on Wednesday he looked comfortable again, this time actually driving in the game's key runs.

At the plate with two on and two out in the eighth inning of a 1-1 game, Werth lashed a ball down the right-field line, legging out a 2-run triple that put the Nationals ahead for good.

Which means the 36-year-old outfielder has now reached base five times in 11 plate appearances the last two nights, going 4-for-10 with two doubles, a triple and a walk.

That is major progress for Werth, at a time when the Nationals needed it most from him.

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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.