Nationals

Quick Links

Middling Anibal Sanchez and quiet bats do Nationals in against Marlins

anibal-sanchez-nats-marlins-loss-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Middling Anibal Sanchez and quiet bats do Nationals in against Marlins

The Washington Nationals lost to the Miami Marlins, 3-2, Friday night to drop back to 9-9. Here are five observations from the game...

1. For all the offseason efforts at improvement, winning the National League East could come down to its one member which is trying to lose.

The four spenders each play Miami 19 times. By the end, going 11-8 against the in-the-tank Marlins may become a lamentable part of some team’s 2019 legacy. They either brought in a marquee pitcher, a generational outfielder or a former MVP third baseman. But they didn’t do enough against the Marlins, costing themselves the single, taut playoff spot that emerges from the division. It’s a viable storyline to project.

The Nationals took their first negative step toward that fate Friday in a 3-2 loss to the Marlins.

The situational hitting was poor -- Washington left 10 runners on base. The starting pitching was so-so -- Anibal Sanchez took the loss. The bullpen made one dire mistake -- Matt Grace’s first pitch hit left-hander Curtis Granderson with the bases loaded, forcing in the decisive run. The luck wasn’t great -- Caleb Smith, a quality left-hander marooned in Miami as the staff’s best pitcher, was on turn. Anticipate him representing Miami at the All-Star Game this season.

Brian Dozier homered. Mark that in the positive column. Joe Ross pitched two innings of quality relief. Put him next to Dozier.

Otherwise, the loss was sigh-worthy for a team trying to lurch forward, ending its up-and-down run of the first three weeks.

2. Another day, another hit for Anthony Rendon.

His sixth-inning double extended his hitting streak to 17 games, the longest in Major League Baseball this season. It’s also an extension of a personal best for Rendon.

Rendon’s 15 extra-base hits in 17 games is a Nationals/Expos record.

Who is he chasing for the organization’s hit streak record? Hall-of-Famer Heinie Manush, who hit safely in 33 consecutive games back in 1933.

Manush played for the Senators from 1930-1935. He hit .336 when he set the Washington record for consecutive game with a hit. He led the league in triples (17) and hits (221) that season.

Manush won a batting title in 1925 when he hit .378 for Detroit. Rendon is currently hitting .377 in the opening weeks of the season.

3. Sanchez was ok. Not great, not terrible. Just ok.

He lasted 5 ⅓ innings, allowed five hits, three earned runs, walked four and struck out six. His ERA is 4.91.

Regression for Sanchez this season was expected. His 2.83 ERA in Atlanta last season came strongly against the current of his previous pitching. Sanchez had a 5.67 ERA over the three prior seasons.

However, this has been a leap back, a full two runs in arrears of last season’s ERA. More troubling than the ERA is Sanchez’s path through lineups. His walk rate is up, his strikeout rate down.

As the season moves along, a comparison point for Sanchez will be the results of left-hander Wade Miley in Houston. The Nationals made a multi-year offer to Miley which was better than the offer he eventually settled on with the Astros, according to a source. Miley ended up signing for just one year in Houston because the free agent market went south, and Washington quickly pivoted to Sanchez. Keeping track of the two via ERA-plus (which accounts for park factors) during the season will be a fun exercise. Coming into Friday, Miley was by far the better pitcher in that department, 129 to 95. Another bloated outing from Sanchez only increased that gap.

4. The Nationals hoped to play a different brand of offense this season. They wanted to deploy more athleticism, using speed and contact to produce runs.

They took the idea to the extreme Friday. Adam Eaton and Victor Robles both bunted for hits. Eaton scored Washington’s first run after reaching base via his drag bunt up the first base line.

Robles stole second and ended up on third following his bunt in the same direction in the third inning.

Creative work at the plate for both.

5. Another bullpen twist hit Friday. Austen Williams was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a sprained right AC joint. Austin Adams was called up to replace him.

Williams had a disastrous outing Wednesday in the Nationals’ 9-6 win over the Giants. He allowed four earned runs -- on two home runs -- after the Nationals entered the ninth inning with a 9-2 lead. Williams’ inability to get an out in the ninth eventually forced closer Sean Doolittle into a game he never should have entered.

Doolittle’s entrance also complicated the current series in Miami. He pitched back-to-back games to close the series against San Francisco. His Friday availability was in question because of that, though the Nationals didn’t end up needing him.

The right-handed Adams, 27, joins the team from Triple-A Fresno. He struck out 12, allowed a hit and didn’t give up an earned run in his six innings with the Grizzlies.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: 

 

Quick Links

New York governor Andrew Cuomo says pro teams can resume training

yankee-stadium-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

New York governor Andrew Cuomo says pro teams can resume training

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says teams in his state can return to their facilities for training after a pause of more than two months.

"Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps," the Democratic governor said during a news conference Sunday.

The New York City area was one of the hardest-hit parts of the U.S. by the coronavirus pandemic, but COVID-19 deaths and new infections in the state have been trending downward.

Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL are discussing the resumption of their seasons with their players' unions.

"I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena -- do it! Do it!" Cuomo said. "Work out the economics, if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports. To the extent people are still staying home, it gives people something to do. It's a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible. And we'll work with them to make sure that can happen."

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE COVID-19 NEWS:

Quick Links

The state of MLB last May 24, when the Nationals hit rock bottom

The state of MLB last May 24, when the Nationals hit rock bottom

May 24 is a date that will forever hold significance in Washington, D.C. Despite entering that day last season with a 19-31 record, the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 12-10 to begin their improbable turnaround before claiming their first World Series title in franchise history.

And yet on that very day, no one knew it would be the start of something historic. Friday, May 24, 2019, was just an ordinary day with a full slate of baseball games being played. Players were signed, home runs were hit and nothing seemed to be too much out of the ordinary.

Knowing that things were far from ordinary that day, let’s take a look back at the state of baseball on May 24.

Standings

NL East

  1. Philadelphia Phillies (29-21)
  2. Atlanta Braves (28-23) / 1.5 GB
  3. New York Mets (24-25) / 4.5 GB
  4. Washington Nationals (19-31) / 10 GB
  5. Miami Marlins (16-31) / 11.5 GB

NL Central

  1. Chicago Cubs (29-19)
  2. Milwaukee Brewers (29-22) / 1.5 GB
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates (25-22) / 3.5 GB
  4. St. Louis Cardinals (25-24) / 4.5 GB
  5. Cincinnati Reds (22-27) / 7.5 GB

NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (32-18)
  2. San Diego Padres (26-24) / 6 GB
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks (25-25) / 7 GB
  4. Colorado Rockies (22-26) / 9 GB
  5. San Francisco Giants (21-28) / 10.5 GB

AL East

  1. New York Yankees (32-17)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (29-18) / 2 GB
  3. Boston Red Sox (27-23) / 5.5 GB
  4. Toronto Blue Jays (20-30) / 12.5 GB
  5. Baltimore Orioles (15-35) / 17.5 GB

AL Central

  1. Minnesota Twins (33-16)
  2. Cleveland Indians (25-24) / 8 GB
  3. Chicago White Sox (23-26) / 10 GB
  4. Detroit Tigers (18-30) / 14.5 GB
  5. Kansas City Royals (17-32) / 16 GB

AL West

  1. Houston Astros (33-18)
  2. Texas Rangers (24-23) / 7 GB
  3. Oakland A’s (26-25) / 7 GB
  4. Los Angeles Angels (22-27) / 10 GB
  5. Seattle Mariners (23-29) / 10.5 GB

LISTEN TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

Major headlines

- The Blue Jays called up prospect Cavan Biggio, son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, to make his MLB debut. Cavan joined Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the lineup to give Toronto the distinction of being the first team in MLB history to start a pair of teammates that were both sons of Hall of Famers.

- Giants center fielder Steven Duggar made the web gem of the day by securing a diving catch in the sixth inning of a game against the Diamondbacks despite his team trailing 11-2.

- Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich became the first player to reach 20 home runs. By doing so in just his 45th game of the season, he broke Prince Fielder’s team record set in 2007 for the fewest number of games needed to reach 20 homers. Yelich was the fastest of any player since Josh Hamilton did it in 44 games for the Rangers in 2012.

- Speaking of home runs, the Twins joined the 1999 Mariners to become only the second team in MLB history to hit at least 100 homers in their first 50 games. Minnesota would go on to lead the league in homers with 307, setting a new record for most home runs hit in a season

- The Mets gambled on a couple of veterans trying to dip into the fountain of youth, signing Matt Kemp and Ervin Santana to minor-league deals. Neither player would go on to suit up for New York in 2019.

- A’s designated hitter Khris Davis was placed on the 10-Day Injured List with a left hip/oblique contusion. Davis hurt his hip May 5 by running into a railing at PNC Park. He tried playing on it for a few weeks but ultimately needed some time off before he could play at full strength.

- It was Bartolo Colon’s birthday and he celebrated with one of the most elaborate baseball cakes that’s ever been made.

Where They Were: Nationals

Here is a list of what every player who appeared in a game for the Nationals last season was doing on May 24.

RP Austin Adams – After being traded to the Mariners on May 5, he was in Oakland but didn’t appear in the game for Seattle.

1B/OF Matt Adams – Batting fifth and playing first base, he went 2-for-5 with a home run in the Nationals’ 12-10 comeback win over the Marlins in D.C.

RP Kyle Barraclough – Despite an adventurous eighth inning, he was the pitcher of record for the Nationals in their win over the Marlins.

C Tres Barrera – He went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, who went on to beat the Reading Fightin Phils at home 11-2.

RP Aaron Barrett – He was with AA-Harrisburg but didn’t appear in its game against Reading.

RP Michael Blazek – Playing for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, he pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief before the team beat the Tacoma Rainiers on the road 9-6.

RP James Bourque – After being called up to the majors for the first time only a day prior, he was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

INF Asdrúbal Cabrera – Playing for the Rangers, Cabrera went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI as Texas beat the Angels in Anaheim 4-3.

SP Patrick Corbin – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

INF Wilmer Difo – Sent down from the majors less than a week prior, he went 1-for-5 for AAA-Fresno in Tacoma.

RP Sean Doolittle – He allowed three hits, including a leadoff home run to Jorge Alfaro, but still managed to secure his ninth save of the season in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

2B Brian Dozier – Batting sixth and playing second base, he went 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RF Adam Eaton – Batting second and playing right field, he went 1-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBIs in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RP Roenis Elías – Playing for the Mariners, he was in Oakland but didn’t appear in the game for Seattle.

SP Erick Fedde – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

C Yan Gomes – Batting eighth and playing catcher, he went 1-for-4 with a single and reached on an error in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RP Matt Grace – He pitched around a two-out walk to toss a clean sixth inning in relief for the Nationals in their win over Miami.

RP Javy Guerra – After being claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays four days prior, he was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

SP Jeremy Hellickson – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with a shoulder strain that ultimately ended his season.

RP Daniel Hudson – Playing for the Blue Jays, he was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) in Toronto’s 6-3 loss at home to the Padres.

RP Dan Jennings – He was a free agent after being released by the Nationals on May 22.

INF Howie Kendrick – Coming off the bench as a pinch hitter in the sixth, he went 0-for-1 with a strikeout in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

SS Carter Kieboom – He was in Tacoma but didn’t appear in the game for AAA-Fresno.

SP Kyle McGowin – He started for the Nationals that day, receiving a no-decision after going four innings and allowing five runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in their win over Miami.

RP Justin Miller – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with a rotator cuff strain that ultimately ended his season.

1B Jake Noll – Playing for AAA-Fresno, he went 2-3 with a double, walk, two runs scored and two RBIs in the Grizzlies’ win over Tacoma.

OF Gerardo Parra – Coming off the bench as a pinch hitter in the seventh, he grounded into a double play in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RP Tanner Rainey – Despite allowing the first two batters he faced to reach, he worked a scoreless seventh inning with two strikeouts in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

C Raudy Read – Playing for AAA-Fresno, he went 0-for-5 with an RBI in the Grizzlies’ win over Tacoma.

3B Anthony Rendon – Batting third and playing third base, he went 2-for-4 with a home run, double, walk, two runs scored and two RBIs in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

CF Victor Robles – Batting seventh and playing center field, he went 1-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RP Fernando Rodney – Playing for the Athletics, he was on the active roster for the team’s home game against the Mariners but didn’t appear in the contest.

RP Trevor Rosenthal – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with a viral infection.

SP Joe Ross – He pitched in relief for McGowin, allowing three runs on two hits and a walk in the fifth inning of the Nationals’ win over Miami.

INF Adrian Sanchez – In his first game back with AA-Harrisburg after a stint in the majors, he went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored in the Senators’ win over Reading.

SP Aníbal Sánchez – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with a left hamstring strain.

SP Max Scherzer – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

RP Tony Sipp – He gave up a leadoff double to Curtis Granderson in the eighth inning before being pulled for Kyle Barraclough in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

LF Juan Soto – Batting fourth and playing left field, he went 3-for-4 with a home run, walk, 3 RBIs and two runs scored in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

OF Andrew Stevenson – Playing for AAA-Fresno, he went 1-for-4 with a triple, walk, two RBIs and a run scored in the Grizzlies’ win over Tacoma.

SP Stephen Strasburg – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

RP Hunter Strickland – He was on the 60-Day Injured List with a right lat strain.

RP Wander Suero – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

C Kurt Suzuki – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

OF Michael Taylor – Coming off the bench as a pinch hitter in the fourth, he hit a double but was stranded at third in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

SS Trea Turner – Batting leadoff and playing shortstop, he went 2-for-5 with a double, RBI and run scored in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RP Jonny Venters – He was a free agent after being released by the Braves on May 18. (Washington signed him May 29.)

SP Austin Voth – He was in Tacoma but didn’t appear in the game for AAA-Fresno.

RP Austen Williams – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder that ultimately ended his season.

1B Ryan Zimmerman – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with plantar fasciitis.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: