Nationals

Quick Links

Instant analysis: Phillies 4, Nats 1

Instant analysis: Phillies 4, Nats 1

Game in a nutshell: Needing to come up big to avoid only their fourth series sweep of the season, the Nationals instead dropped their fourth straight game, this one in unusual fashion. Jordan Zimmermann, who has cruised all afternoon, gave up three runs in the fifth on a double by pitcher Cliff Lee and a subsequent homer by Jimmy Rollins. Laynce Nix then homered off Tom Gorzelanny in the sixth. The Nationals tried to mount a rally, but Adam LaRoche's apparent two-run homer in the seventh was correctly ruled a double, leading to a bizarre play in which LaRoche was tagged out. The lineup then went silent against the Phillies bullpen, resulting in a stunning series sweep at Citizens Bank Park. The Nationals' lead in the NL East (which stood at 7 on Wednesday) is now down to 5 with the Braves still playing tonight in San Francisco.

Hitting lowlight: Stifled all afternoon by Lee, the Nationals finally appeared to deliver a big blow against the veteran left-hander when LaRoche launched what appeared to be a two-run homer to right in the top of the seventh. Except the ball struck the top of the railing above the fence and bounced back into right field. First-base umpire Gerry Davis immediately signaled the ball in play, but neither LaRoche nor Jayson Werth (who started on second base) noticed. So both runners coasted, assuming a home run. LaRoche wound up getting tagged out, with Werth stuck on third, and that's how they remained after the umpires reviewed video of the play. They did manage to score one run when Tyler Moore doubled, but that gaffe cost them at least one run and possibly more. It was a bad moment for two veterans who should have known better.

Pitching lowlight: Zimmermann looked absolutely fantastic for four innings, carving up the Phillies lineup with ease. Then he gave up an RBI double to Lee in the fifth and melted down. Rollins followed with a two-run homer to right, putting the Nationals in a 3-0 hole and spoiling what could have been a solid outing by Zimmermann. Remember when he could be counted on to go six innings every single time out? (He did that in his first 21 starts of the season.) Well, Zimmermann now has failed to complete six innings in four of his last five starts. Is his shoulder barking? His velocity remains high, but only Jordan knows the answer.

Key stat: LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman have combined to hit one home run over the Nationals' last 20 games.

Up next: The Nationals were originally supposed to fly to Miami following today's game, but with Hurricane Isaac closing airports in South Florida, they decided to spend another night in Philadelphia and travel on their off-day. Assuming the storm passes through, their series with the Marlins will open at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, with Stephen Strasburg facing Ricky Nolasco.

Quick Links

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

usatsi_10847206.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

Quick Links

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

screen_shot_2018-05-21_at_7.52.30_pm.png
@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.