Nationals

Quick Links

Gonzalez struggles as Nationals fall to Rays 6-1

usatsi_8625652_141983962_lowres.jpg

Gonzalez struggles as Nationals fall to Rays 6-1

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Erasmo Ramirez pitched six scoreless innings and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Washington Nationals 6-1 on Monday night.

Ramirez (6-2) won for the sixth time in his last seven starts following a winless stretch of 25 games that included 15 starts.

Tampa Bay won for the 12th time in 16 games. The Rays have held opponents to two or fewer runs in 32 of 65 games.

Tampa Bay slugger Evan Longoria left with a bruised left wrist after being hit by a Taylor Hill pitch in the fifth. X-rays were negative.

Gio Gonzalez (4-4) gave up five runs and eight hits over 3 1-3 innings for the Nationals.

Washington slugger Bryce Harper returned to the lineup and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and a walk as the designated hitter. He got hit on the inside of his left leg above the knee in the ninth inning Saturday by a 95 mph fastball from Milwaukee reliever Michael Blazek and didn't play Sunday.

The Nationals got a bases-loaded RBI single from Yunel Escobar in the ninth before Harper lined into a game-ending double play.

The Rays chased Gonzalez in the fourth when Longoria had a sacrifice fly and Logan Forsythe added a run-scoring single to make it 5-0.

Tampa Bay went up 3-0 with a two-run third as Forsythe had an RBI single that went off Gonzalez's heel and Jake Elmore hit a sacrifice fly.

Kevin Kiermaier's hustle helped the Rays take a 1-0 lead in the second. Running hard out the box, Kiermaier turned what looked a routine single to center into a double. He then stole third and scored on Rene Rivera's sacrifice fly.

Brandon Guyer had a fifth-inning RBI triple for the Rays.

Harper drew a two-out walk in the third to load the bases, but Ramirez got out of the jam by getting a grounder from Wilson Ramos. Clint Robinson lined out to first with the bases loaded to end the fifth.

Tampa Bay's Steven Souza Jr. tied a team record with walking five times. Strangely, he was left stranded on base all five times.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Escobar got hit on the right hand by Ramirez's pitch in the third, but remained in the game.

Rays: LHP Matt Moore (elbow ligament replacement surgery) had his third rehab start for Class A Charlotte postponed by rain.

UP NEXT

Rays RHP Alex Colome (3-2) and Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (2-2) are Tuesday night's scheduled starters. Colome has gone six or more innings three times this season and is 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in those outings.

MORE NATIONALS: Strasburg to make rehab start Wednesday

Quick Links

Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

rob_manfred.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

For a long time, Major League Baseball had the best, most exciting trade deadline among the four major sports. In recent seasons, that excitement has been eclipsed by the popularity of the NBA, but baseball still stands ahead of football and hockey in terms of in-season movement.

In an effort to shake things up a bit, baseball’s trade deadline underwent some changes in the offseason.

Notably, while July 31 has always been deadline day, in past years it was a bit of a misnomer. July 31 was technically just the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline in years past. The month of August has always allowed trades to be made as long as players pass through waivers. If a player is claimed off waivers, his team can either pull him back, let him go for nothing, or negotiate a deal with his claiming team only.

This obviously made for much more limited movement in August, but it was always an option. 

Not anymore. Now? July 31 the *only* deadline.

The August revocable waivers trade deadline was always a bit convoluted, and it never made much sense to have more than one deadline. So it’s logical to think the powers that be would want to simplify things for the league.

Reportedly, Major League Baseball is hoping the change will not only help simplify in-season moves, but also help jumpstart offseason activity. The thinking is if teams have even just one fewer option to improve their roster midseason, then contenders will be forced to get aggressive in the offseason.

It remains to be seen if that will come to fruition, but one forthcoming change does seem pretty obvious. The singular trade deadline should make for a much more active July.

Both buyers and sellers have to commit to a direction earlier in the season now. Last year, for example, the Nationals executed their mini-firesale in mid-August, once it had become clear they were not going to compete for the postseason. At the end of the July they were still undecided, which is why they held onto Bryce Harper.

Considering how long it can take major deals to come together, teams have to essentially decide by the All-Star break if they are in or out on competing for October. It will be especially difficult for teams to read the writing on the wall when they are hovering around .500.

As of this writing, there are 10 teams within six games of .500 in either direction, and that doesn’t include organizations like the Red Sox, Nationals and Athletics who have quality records but are way behind runaway division leaders. Will they want to trade away controllable assets for a shot at a one-game Wild Card berth?

General Managers who can forecast their team’s likelihood of competing, and respond accordingly, will be rewarded under the new system. Orioles GM Mike Elias already began his team’s sell-off, trading Andrew Cashner away weeks before the end of July. By contrast, in 2018 both Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman were moved by the Orioles with under an hour to go on deadline day.

It’s hard to perfectly predict all the ways rule changes can affect a sport, but in the case of the singular trade deadline, it’s obvious that teams are now required to commit earlier, with fewer games of information from which to work.

That’s exciting for a sport that could use some more player movement-related excitement.

MORE ORIOLES NEWS:

Quick Links

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

anibal_sanchez_nationals_pitching_usat.jpg
USA Today

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

ATLANTA—Anibal Sanchez outpitched Mike Soroka and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, Matt Adams homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Saturday night.

Second-place Washington pulled within 5 games of the NL East-leading Braves, improving to 33-14 since May 24, best in the majors over that span. Atlanta has dropped four of five.

Sanchez (6-6) got a big assist in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Trea Turner turned a bases-loaded double play, leaping to nab Nick Markakis' liner and throwing to first to beat Josh Donaldson back to the bag.

Soroka (10-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He had won 10 straight decisions, best by an Atlanta pitcher since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux had a 10-decision streak in 2001.

Sean Doolittle got the last five outs, facing the minimum, for his 21st save in 25 chances. He struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. with a runner at second to end the eighth and breezed through the ninth.

Washington went up 4-1 in the fifth when Sanchez reached on an infield single to third, took second on Donaldson's throwing error and scored on Turner's double. Turner took third on Adam Eaton's single and scored on Anthony Rendon's single. Eaton scored on Juan Soto's single.

The Nationals took a 5-3 lead in the eighth off A.J. Minter as Turner singled, stole second and scored on Eaton's single.

Adams went deep for the 15th time, an opposite-field homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center and into the stands to tie it at 1-all in the fourth.

Sanchez, who pitched for the Braves last year and helped them win the division, allowed three runs and six hits and has a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts.

Atlanta led 1-0 in the first when Acuna reached on an infield single, stole second base, advanced on a flyout and scored on Freddie Freeman's single.

Brian McCann's ninth homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, chased Sanchez and cut the lead to 4-3.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

 

NBC Sports Washington's Michael Stearman contributed to this Associated Press story.