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Zim gets much-needed day off; Escobar returns to Nats lineup

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Zim gets much-needed day off; Escobar returns to Nats lineup

The Nationals lineup for Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Chicago Cubs featured Yunel Escobar for the first time in two days, but missing was Ryan Zimmerman. The veteran first baseman is going through an extended slump and is taking the day off to recharge.

The Nationals are also off on Monday before they head to New York to face the Yankees, giving Zimmerman a rare 48 hours off to clear his head.

"It's kind of a two-for-one. It gives me a chance to physically recoup. I'll be ready to go on Tuesday," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman is batting .213 on the season and has just one hit in his last six games, a stretch of 21 at-bats. His season on-base percentage is an unsightly .270, well below his .348 career mark.

Zimmerman admits he is struggling, but is not ready to worry with 10 years of MLB experience under his belt.

"I've been through this before plenty of times. I think when you try to start changing things, then that kind of prolongs it. Ultimately you'll get back to what you've done your whole career. You just gotta stick with that and go for it," he said.

Zimmerman has been dealing with a minor case of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but said it is not hampering him enough to use it as an excuse for his recent play.

"It bugs you. Just like everyone else in here, they all have something that bugs them while they play as well," he said. "It's just part of the season. Nobody ever feels good when they play. Everyone always has something that they deal with. That's not an excuse. It it was at a point to where it was hindering me, then I shouldn't play."

Zimmerman's recent struggles have coincided with a tough stretch for the Nationals' lineup overall. The Nats have scored three runs or less in 13 of their last 16 games.

Zimmerman is confident that he will break out of his current slump, and he's confident in the team as well.

"We just went like 20-6 or something like that. I guess we haven't played well this past week, but a month before that we played fine. We haven't even played consistently yet and we're in a good spot in our division. With three-and-a-half months left I don't think there's any reason to worry or make anything out of anything that's going on right now," he said.

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.