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After disastrous Nationals stint, Trevor Rosenthal earns first save in nearly three years

After disastrous Nationals stint, Trevor Rosenthal earns first save in nearly three years

Once one of the most dominant closers in the game, Trevor Rosenthal had gone 1,083 days without a save. That all changed on Thursday.

“It’s been a while,” Rosenthal said after a throwing a scoreless ninth inning to close out the Detroit Tigers.

Those nearly three years between saves were both physically and mentally taxing for the 30-year-old reliever, especially his short time with the Nationals. Coming off Tommy John surgery, Rosenthal made 12 appearances with Washington during the 2019 season. Rosenthal went 0-1 with a 22.74 ERA. That includes 16 walks issued, three batters hit and five wild pitches thrown in just 6.1 innings pitched.

“He put the work in, we put the work in, we tried to get him right and just things didn’t work out,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said at the time of Rosenthal’s release last season.

RELATED: NATS PLACE WILL HARRIS ON INJURED LIST

A short stint with the Tigers in 2019 didn’t go much better (7.00 ERA in 10 appearances), but things have been different with the Royals as manager Mike Matheny told The Detroit News.

“I think he just got back to what he knows works for him,” Matheny said. “Everything just looked timed-up right. I think he was allowing himself biomechanically to have that range to stay square to the plate. He was falling off a lot last year. I think a lot of it had to do with, maybe, a limited range (after Tommy John surgery). To me he looks extremely similar to what I’ve seen him when he’s been at his best.”

It’s just one save, but for Rosenthal the moment and the journey was not lost on him.

''I've just always focused on putting in the work,'' Rosenthal said. ''I've been fortunate that a lot of people have given me opportunities even when I've been struggling.''

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Chiefs star QB Patrick Mahomes becomes part owner of Kansas City Royals

Chiefs star QB Patrick Mahomes becomes part owner of Kansas City Royals

Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is joining the ownership group of the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals announced the addition of Mahomes, the star quarterback who led the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl title last season, on Tuesday. Mahomes was once a baseball prospect and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2014.

"I'm honored to become a part owner of the Kansas City Royals," Mahomes said in a statement. "I love this city and the people of this great town. This opportunity allows me to deepen my roots in the community, which is something I'm excited to do."

Mahomes' decision to focus on football certainly worked out for him, but his baseball ties run deep. His father Pat pitched in more than 300 big league games, mostly as a reliever.

"He loves football, but he also grew up loving the game of baseball," said John Sherman, principal owner of the Royals. "We look forward to many years of a winning partnership."

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How the last 10 defending World Series champions fared on Opening Day

How the last 10 defending World Series champions fared on Opening Day

It's been four months in the making, but the Nationals will finally be able to begin their World Series title defense.

On Thursday night against the Yankees, Washington will begin a 60-game sprint to the playoffs and what they hope to be another extended run through the postseason. Past defending champions haven't had as much luck going back-to-back, as the last NL team to do it was the 1975-76 Reds. 

But the playoffs aren't until October. As it went for every World Series winner before them, it all begins on Opening Day. So we looked back at how the last 10 defending champs did on Opening Day to see if we can find a template for the Nats to follow. 

2010 Yankees*: L 9-7 vs. Red Sox
2011 Giants: L 2-2 vs. Dodgers
2012 Cardinals*: W 4-1 vs. Marlins
2013 Giants: L 4-0 vs. Dodgers
2014 Red Sox: L 2-1 vs. Orioles
2015 Giants: W 5-4 vs. Diamondbacks
2016 Royals: W 4-3 vs. Mets
2017 Cubs*: L 4-3 vs. Cardinals
2018 Astros*: W 4-1 vs. Rangers
2019 Red Sox: L 12-4 vs. Mariners

* = Made the playoffs

As you can see, defending World Series champions have gone 4-6 to open up their title defense over the last 10 years. What's more troubling is only four of those 10 teams made the postseason, though all four of those teams made it as far as their league's championship series. 

The lesson to be learned here for the Nationals, and one they most likely already know, is that repeating is hard. Then when you consider a 60-game season without Anthony Rendon, and the challenges begin to mount for Washington. 

RELATED: WILL WEATHER POSTPONE OPENING DAY?

But since when was adversity a problem for this group? Last year, they started 19-31 and ended up winning the World Series. It's not like they can afford to do that again, but perhaps the difficulty this season will have on every team will give the Nats an advantage. 

Can the Nats break the trend of unsuccessful World champs? The best part is we don't have to wait very long to find out. 

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