Nationals

NFL Playoffs Capsule: Packers at 49ers

NFL Playoffs Capsule: Packers at 49ers

GREEN BAY (12-5) At SAN FRANCISCO (11-4-1)

Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE - 49ers by 3

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Green Bay 10-7, San Francisco 9-7

SERIES RECORD - Packers lead 34-27-1

AP Pro32 RANKING - Packers, No. 6; 49ers, No. 3

LAST MEETING - 49ers beat Packers, 30-22, Sept. 9

LAST WEEK - Packers beat Vikings 24-10; 49ers had bye.

PACKERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (13), RUSH (20), PASS (9)

PACKERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (11), RUSH (17), PASS (11)

49ERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (11), RUSH (4), PASS (23)

49ERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (3), RUSH (4), PASS (4)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Green Bay ranks No. 3 in league history with 30 postseason wins, while San Francisco ranks No. 4 with 26 playoff victories. ... Teams last played in divisional playoffs in 1996, with Green Bay winning 35-14. ... Packers have won four of five previous meetings against 49ers in playoffs, including two of three at Candlestick Park. Overall, Green Bay has won 13 of its last 15 games against 49ers, but dropped season opener at Lambeau Field 30-22. ... Franchises last met in postseason in wild-card game after 2001 season at Lambeau Field, 25-15 Green Bay win. ... Playoff meeting in the 2001 season was last time teams played where each had 11-plus wins - both with 12-4 records. ...Teams played each postseason from 1995-98. ... This marks sixth time these teams meet in postseason, tied for second most by Packers against one opponent and behind seven playoff matchups with Giants. ... Green Bay owns three-game road playoff winning streak dating to 2010 title run and is 3-1 on road in playoffs under coach Mike McCarthy. ... Packers are only NFC team to reach divisional playoffs each of last three years. ... Green Bay gave up 10 points to Vikings in wild-card game for fewest allowed in playoff game since 10 at San Francisco on Jan. 11, 1998. ... Packers QB and Northern California native Aaron Rodgers passed on by 49ers with No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005 as Alex Smith went first and Rodgers fell to 24. ... Rodgers has 110-plus passer rating in four of his seven career postseason starts. That's tied for fourth in league history behind Joe Montana (six in 23 starts), Brett Favre (five in 24 starts) and Tom Brady (five in 22 starts). ... Rodgers hasn't thrown interception in five straight games, 177 passes. ... Green Bay WR Greg Jennings has 19 receptions for 226 yards and three TDs over last three games. ... Packers have five turnovers in last six games. Meanwhile, they have held opponents to 20 or fewer points in nine of last 11. ... Packers went 4-4 away from home this season. ... 49ers 12-3 at home in divisional playoff games. ... 49ers didn't have three-game winning streak all season. ... San Francisco defense allowed only 36 drives to reach red zone all year, tops in NFL. ... 49ers TE Vernon Davis, having quiet year, has 16 catches for 351 yards and 4 TDs in four career games vs. Green Bay, including one touchdown in each game. ... San Francisco RB Frank Gore ran for 112 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown in season opener at Lambeau. Gore also had 130 yards on 18 carries and a TD against Packers on Dec. 10, 2006. ... WR Randy Moss' 14 touchdowns receiving against Green Bay are most by any player in NFL history vs. Packers. His 1,320 yards receiving against Packers rank No. 2 in league history. ... WR Michael Crabtree's first career touchdown catch came at Green Bay on Nov. 22, 2009 (38-yarder from Alex Smith). ... 49ers LB Aldon Smith went final three games without sack to finish with 19 1/2 and three shy of Michael Strahan's single-season record set in 2001 with Giants. ... DE/DT Justin Smith expected to play after he missed final two games with partially torn left triceps muscle. ... 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick makes first playoff start. ... San Francisco will use struggling veteran PK David Akers over newcomer Billy Cundiff. While Akers has been inconsistent making just 29 of 42 field goals, Cundiff missed potential tying 32-yarder that might have cost Harbaugh's big brother John's Baltimore Ravens trip to last season's Super Bowl in loss to New England for AFC championship.

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What to watch as Nats continue three-game series against Marlins

What to watch as Nats continue three-game series against Marlins

This is the Nationals’ first time in Miami this season, and the team finished with a 3-2 loss against the Marlins on Friday night. Here are a few things to look for as they enter the second game of the three-game series against the Floridians: 

  1. Friday night’s situational hitting was poor, NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas reported. The Nats left 10 runners on base in a 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins.However, the Nationals’ offense has changed this season. This was exemplified in Friday’s series opener against the Marlins, in which both Adam Eaton and Victor Robles bunted to get hits.
  2. Eaton singled on a bunt in the first inning, eventually scoring on a Juan Soto RBI single, while Robles also reached base safely in the third following Eaton’s strategy and then stole a base. These creative plays helped get men on base, but again, more often than not they stayed there. Brian Dozier hit his second home run of the season in the seventh inning, a solo shot which gave the Nats their second and final run of the night. Dozier had a rough start to the season, and after Friday’s game, he has just two RBIs – both via solo homers. He has a batting average of .182, and he’s lost playing time to Howie Kendrick as the season has moved forward. Kendrick has a batting average of .477, the highest on the roster.
  3. Anthony Rendon continued his hit streak, extending it to 17 games with a double Friday. This is the longest hitting streak in the MLB this season, as well as the third baseman’s personal record. Within the organization, Rendon is chasing Hall-of-Famer Heinie Manush’s record, which stretched to 33 consecutive hits in 1933. Can he get another on Saturday?

 

Download the MyTeams app for coverage from NBC Sports Washington of the Nationals/Marlins game on Saturday. The game broadcast will be at 6:10 PM ET on 106.7 the Fan and MASN2. 

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Middling Anibal Sanchez and quiet bats do Nationals in against Marlins

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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.

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