Nationals

Quick Links

Around the NL East: Mets squander chance to bury Nats

usatsi_8752486.jpg

Around the NL East: Mets squander chance to bury Nats

ATLANTA BRAVES 

The Braves are on the outside looking in when it comes to the postseason, so the next month and a half we'll take stock of how their rebuilding process is going. As the club heads to San Diego, one surprise bright spot will take center stage for Atlanta in Cameron Maybin. At the time of the trade that sent Craig Kimbrel to the Padres and Maybin, Carlos Quentin and others to Atlanta, most believed the 28-year-old center fielder was an afterthought in the deal. Instead, he's thrived in his new home, setting career highs for home runs (10) and RBI (53) while maintaining a .280 batting average. Seeing Maybin succeed has to make the Padres' disappointing season hurt that much more. 

MIAMI MARLINS   

The Marlins got good news (something they surely need) when manager Dan Jennings said recently that slugger Giancarlo Stanton has begun hitting for the first time since being placed on the disabled list on June 27 with a fractured hand. It's not certain when Stanton will return, but the sooner the better. Miami is just about out of positive developments this season as they're fighting to avoid the distinction of having the worst record in baseball. And to no one's surprise, it looks like they'll be in the market for a new manager come the end of the season, too. 

NEW YORK METS 

As weird as it is to say, if the Nationals wind up winning the division, they may look back on this past weekend as a reason why. No, nothing about their dreadful west coast swing is a sign that things will turn around soon. But the Mets, who had a solid 4 1/2 game lead in the division, squandered an opportunity to put the nail in Washington's coffin after being swept by the Pirates. They could have very well been up 5 1/2 or 6 1/2 games by this point, which would have made the Nats' outlook even more bleak. 

The losing skids of each club just goes to show you how mediocre the NL East has been all season long. Whoever winds up winning this division will likely have the worst record in the NL of any playoff team, and whoever that finishes second has little-to-no shot at a wild card spot. 

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES 

With Cole Hamels being dealt to the Rangers, trade rumors have now been swirling around Chase Utley as contenders are trying to find a veteran bat before the waiver deadline. But GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters recently that Utley is unlikely to be dealt, despite the buzz out there that he'd be moved. Of course, that doesn't preclude him from being traded in the offseason. 

Quick Links

Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The rain was heavy and relentless. As the puddles grew deeper on the tarp at Nationals Park, the Baltimore Orioles were left to wonder if their bid for a rare road victory would be thwarted by, of all things, the weather.

During a season in which very little has worked in their favor, the Orioles withstood a long rain delay to beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night.

Baltimore led 2-0 after four innings when play was stopped. After a wait of 2 hours, 43 minutes, the game resumed with a few hundred fans from the announced crowd of 32,153 sprinkled around the lower seating bowl.

Mark Trumbo homered for Baltimore, and Andrew Cashner and four relievers combined on a five-hitter in a game that ended long after midnight.

"It was nice," Trumbo said. "I'm glad that we actually kept the game going. Had we not been able to, it might have been a wash. But it ended up being pretty big for us."

Baltimore ended a six-game losing streak to Washington that began last May, won for only the fourth time in 20 games and improved the majors' worst road record to 10-28.

This one was worth the wait.

"It's never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark," Trumbo said. "Then you have to restart. It's almost two games in one, so, great job by our guys tonight."

The Nationals managed only two hits following the delay, both in the ninth inning.

"It happens. You can't do anything about the rain," manager Dave Martinez said. "You've got to come out and get yourself ready to play. I'm not going to make any excuses."

The rain delay cut short a solid pitching performance by Cashner, who allowed three hits and no walks over four innings in his return from an 11-day stay on the disabled list with back spasms.

Miguel Castro (2-2) followed with two hitless innings, Darren O'Day pitched a perfect seventh and Zach Britton got four outs.

Brad Brach allowed the Nationals to load the bases with two outs in the ninth before striking out Mark Reynolds .

Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Gio Gonzalez (6-4), and for a while it appeared the drive would be washed out by the rain.

"One pitch. That was the whole game," Gonzalez lamented. "That was it."

Indeed, it all ended well for the Orioles, who added a run in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled off Shawn Kelley and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia .

MORE NATS NEWS:

Quick Links

The Nationals have had their eyes on Kelvin Herrera for years

The Nationals have had their eyes on Kelvin Herrera for years

On Monday, in the middle of their game with the Yankees, Mike Rizzo did a very Mike Rizzo thing and added another strong arm to the Nationals' bullpen well before the trade deadline.

In a trade with the Kansas City Royals, the Nats dealt prospects Kelvin Gutierrez, Blake Perkins and Yohanse Morel for relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera.

Herrera, who's in his eighth season, has walked only two batters in the last 27 games and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. 

"We just thought that it was a good idea to strike early," Rizzo said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington.

"We thought the closer to the deadline we get, the more competition we'll have for Kelvin [Herrera]. We were able to strike a deal with Dayton Moore quickly and [we] couldn't be happier about it."

But Mike Rizzo didn't just come across Herrera by chance, he's had his sights on him for years.

"He was one of the guys that we kind of kicked the tires on [last year] and obviously the price for Kelvin at that time with a year and a half of control was a lot different than it was with four and a half months of control."

"We did have our eyes on him for years. He's been a great reliever for years. He's one of the guys we talked about when we talked about improving our bullpen." 

Herrera has spent all of his eight seasons in the big leagues with the Royals, even winning a World Series. Trades can bring both joy and angst, but Rizzo knows Herrera is excited to get back to playing meaningful baseball.

"This guy is such a competitor; World Series tested and playoff tested. He's happy to be playing meaningful games. He talked about what it takes to win a World Series, and you know, our guys were all ears. I think he's really thankful for getting the opportunity to get after it again and get another ring."

"At the same time, you know, it's hard for those old relationship to die and to move on, but he was very excited about being with us. I spoke to him after we made the trade and he [was] a little shocked, but really fired up about it. And when he got to the clubhouse, [he] met some of his old teammates - Timmy Collins and Ryan Madson -  and was welcome with open arms by not only the bullpen guys but everyone on the team." 

Herrera will join Sean Doolittle, Brandon Kintzler, and Ryan Madson to make about as deep of a bullpen as any in baseball right now.

MORE NATS NEWS: