Nationals

Quick Links

Taylor shines, Ramos homers as Nats beat Marlins, 6-4

Taylor shines, Ramos homers as Nats beat Marlins, 6-4

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 6-4 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park in the first game of a doubleheader: 

How it happened: The Nationals kept rolling in the first game of their doubleheader with the Marlins on Saturday with an all-around effort on offense and another strong outing for Stephen Strasburg, who battled rainy conditions and a scrappy Miami lineup to put in another quality start. Strasburg walked three batters, but went six innings of three-run ball to set the stage for the Nats' fourth win in their last five games.

Michael Taylor reached base four times and Wilson Ramos smacked his fourth homer of the season, as five different Nats players drove in runs, the first four off Marlins starter Justin Nicolino. The Nationals moved to 10 games over .500 at 23-13 on the season with another game against the Marlins set for Saturday night.

What it means: The Nationals continue to rebound nicely from their four-game sweep against the Chicago Cubs, as they moved to 4-1 this homestand. They have won nine of their last 11 games against teams that aren't the Cubs. The Marlins have played them closely this season, though the Nats now stand 5-3 against them on the year having outscored them 31-27 overall.

Strasburg makes it work: Strasburg was effective overall on Saturday, but certainly wasn't as dominant as he was in his first outing against the Marlins on April 19. This time Strasburg went six innings with three runs allowed, gave up five hits and matched a season-high with three walks. Two of those hits were to Christian Yelich, who homered in the first inning and landed an RBI double in the fifth. Those were just the second and third extra-base hits Strasburg has surrendered to left-handed batters this season. Strasburg left the mound with a 2.95 ERA on the season through eight starts.

Taylor shines in leadoff spot: Taylor was back in the leadoff spot for the first game on Saturday with Ben Revere getting the afternoon off, and Taylor just happened to have one of his most complete games of the season. He walked in his first two plate appearances to tie a career-high. He also added a single in the fifth, a double in the eighth and two stolen bases. Taylor reached base four times in one game for just the second time in his career. He also reached four times on July 25, 2015.

Ramos comes through again: Ramos continues to play at a high level this season as the Nats' third-best offensive player. His homer was his second in the last seven games and he's now batting .359 with a .398 on-base percentage. It has only been 25 games, but The Buffalo is putting up the best numbers of his career.

Rivero bad, Kelley good: Felipe Rivero had another uneven outing, as he allowed a run in the seventh inning on a Martin Prado single. That was the 10th earned run Rivero has surrendered in just 17 2/3 innings of work this season. He now holds an ugly 5.09 ERA. The lefty did, however, get a big strikeout against Yelich before he exited. That was when Shawn Kelley took over and he quickly got Giancarlo Stanton to strike out and Justin Bour to retire on a groundout. Kelley, in contrast to Rivero, has been excellent this season and has yet to allow an earned run through 17 appearances.

Werth's best day in a while: Jayson Werth has been one of the Nats' streakiest hitters this season, but on Saturday he came through with two hits including an RBI single to contribute to a three-run first inning rally for the Nats. It was Werth's first multi-hit game since May 3 and just his second of the month through 12 games. Before Saturday Werth had two hits in 22 at-bats in his previous five outings. 

What's next: The Nationals and Marlins play the second game of their doubleheader at 7:05 p.m. Tanner Roark (2-2, 2.03) will face off against 24-year-old Kendry Flores, who is making his 2016 season debut.

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

Quick Links

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

usatsi_9977852.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm