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Juan Soto sets his career high of 23 home runs at a historic rate

Juan Soto sets his career high of 23 home runs at a historic rate

Nationals' leftfielder Juan Soto has had an incredible year this season and it keeps getting better each game.

In the first inning of the Nats' evening faceoff with the red hot New York Mets, Soto unleashed this two-run shot to tally homer number 23 on the year - a new career-high. 

Soto hit 22 home runs in 116 games last season. This year, he captured his 23rd in just 106. 

Once again Soto finds himself in the company of legends as he becomes the third all-time MLB player to hit 45 home runs hit through the age 20. 

The other two names on that list: Mel Ott and Tony Conigliaro.

Soto is also slugging .636 (70 total bases in 110 ABs) on elevated pitches this season; that ranks 5th best in MLB.

He's been absolutely phenomenal this season and for the Nat's sake, hopefully he continues to rewrite his personal bests. 

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The forgotten home run: Kurt Suzuki’s go-ahead blast in Game 2 of the World Series

The forgotten home run: Kurt Suzuki’s go-ahead blast in Game 2 of the World Series

The Nationals and Astros were in the midst of a pitching duel between two all-time greats.

Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander had each tossed six frames with just two runs allowed. Verlander took the mound for the top of the seventh to face the bottom of the Nationals’ lineup. 36-year-old catcher Kurt Suzuki stepped up the plate 1-for-2 with a single on the night.

On his 100th pitch, Verlander threw a 1-0 fastball over the heart of the plate and Suzuki got every bit of it. With a smooth uppercut, Suzuki sent a pitch 381 feat off the facing of the brick wall above the leftfield seats at Minute Maid Park. It silenced the crowd of 43,357 and gave Washington the momentum it so desperately needed.

It was a moment that could’ve lived in Nationals lore forever, had the team gone on to win a nail-biter. But the Nationals’ offense exploded, scoring nine more runs over the next three innings to blow out the Astros 12-3 in front of their home crowd. Adam Eaton and Michael Taylor joined the home run parade. Every starter not named Victor Robles ended up reaching base at least twice.

Three months later, Suzuki was at the Nationals’ annual WinterFest event at their home stadium. He sat down with NBC Sports Washington’s Nationals Talk crew and reflected on his big moment getting buried under the offensive onslaught his team brought upon Houston.

“Honestly, I was hoping we’d score a ton of runs because I didn’t want to play a nerve-wracking game,” Suzuki said. “I wanted it to be a nice, easy win, go right back into it and to tell you the truth, when I hit that home run it was just like—I was just so in shock that I was just like, ‘Oh, I just hit a home run. Cool, we’re winning. Like, what?’

“You weren’t just really like, ‘Ahh, this is so exciting.’ You’re just kind of in shock that I’ve hit a home run in the World Series and it gave us the lead in the seventh inning. It was pretty neat.”

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO KURT SUZUKI'S FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

It may not be an iconic moment in Nationals history, but Suzuki’s home run brought the team one step closer to winning the World Series. It was without a doubt the biggest hit of his career.

"It feels great," Suzuki told reporters after the game. "I've waited 13 seasons for this moment to be able to play in the World Series. I kind of joked with a lot of the guys, Anthony [Rendon] in the training room, 'Now I've got energy now.' This is the last series of the season now, no matter what. We're playing for it now. If you can't get up for these games, I think you're in the wrong sport, you should retire or something, because this is it."

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Mets to hire Luis Rojas to replace Carlos Beltran as manager

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Mets to hire Luis Rojas to replace Carlos Beltran as manager

The New York Mets are finalizing a deal to make quality control coach Luis Rojas their new manager, GM Brodie Van Wagenen said Wednesday.

Rojas, 38, will replace Carlos Beltran, who stepped down as manager last week after his involvement in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal was revealed. Beltran had been hired in November to replace the ousted Mickey Callaway.

Rojas, the son of the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals’ all-time winningest manager Felipe Alou and brother of former Expos player Moises Alou, has been with the Mets organization since 2007. He joined Callaway’s staff last year to coach in the majors for the first time.

“I think it’s the fit,” Van Wagenen said. “It’s where the team is. I think it’s the culture we’re trying to create.

“He has a good finger on the pulse of this team.”

Rojas had minor league stints with both the Orioles and Nationals/Expos organizations as a player from 2000-05. His dad was 691-717 as manager of the Expos from 1992 to 2001, and his brother was an All-Star with the team in 1994, playing under their father.

After coaching for New York in the Dominican Summer League in 2007, Rojas got his first managerial role with the Mets’ rookie-level team in 2011. He also coached at Class-A and Double-A. The Mets had previously interviewed him for the big league job before hiring Beltran.

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