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Jayson Werth goes after home plate umpire CB Bucknor after horrendously blown call in ninth inning almost costs Nationals

Jayson Werth goes after home plate umpire CB Bucknor after horrendously blown call in ninth inning almost costs Nationals

Jayson Werth was so fed up with homeplate umpire C.B. Bucknor at the end of last night's game against the Braves that he had to be held back from going after Bucknor as the umpires walked off the field. 

Werth was disgruntled the entire game because of how bad Bucknor's strike zone was. 

But what really sent Werth over the top was the final play of the game. With the Nationals clinging to a 3-1 lead (and trying to avoid another bullpen meltdown) with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, reliever Shawn Kelley appearded to have struck out Braves catcher Chase d'Arnaud as he swung and missed at a breaking ball. However, Bucknor said that d'Arnaud foul tipped the pitch and that the game was not over. 

The thing about it was d'Arnaud wasn't even close to tipping the pitch. Check it out for yourself. 

The play was even more bizarre because Bucknor didn't immediately or confidently make the call. He kind of signaled that it was a foul ball, and then kind of signaled that d'Arnaud was out. Then all the umpires came together and ruled that it indeed was a foul ball. A foul tip, by the way, is not reviewable under MLB's instant replay. Bucknor, a 20-year veteran umpire completely botched the call, and he got blasted by the Nationals Radio announcers Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler. Slowes called it a horrible job by the umpires, and Jageler called it embarrasing and that it would have been disgusting if the Braves had benefited from the call. 

During the umpire's conference on the field, the Nationals dugout had emptied as they were going through their normal handshake line after a win. Even the grounds crew thought the game was over as they were all out on the field. So after the Nationals players went back to the dugout, both team's relievers went back to their respective bullpens, and the groundscrew left the field, Kelley had to get d'Arnaud out AGAIN. Kelley threw him a nearly identical breaking ball, and d'Arnaud again swung and missed, so the Nationals held on for their 3-1 win. 

But what if the Braves had tied the game, or won the game after that? The thought of that is what had Werth so mad after the game that he ran in from left field to get in Bucknor's face. 

After the game, Werth of course was very critical of Bucknor. 

While Werth is 100 percent right about Bucknor, don't be surprised if he has a hefty fine or a suspension coming down the pike for the way he went after the umpire, or for his comments after the game. 

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Carter Kieboom has a mentor at spring training: veteran Asdrúbal Cabrera

Carter Kieboom has a mentor at spring training: veteran Asdrúbal Cabrera

With Trea Turner at shortstop and Starlin Castro at second base, the Nationals have two reliable veterans at the two positions Carter Kieboom has always played. 

So now, the Nationals' top prospect is competing for the starting third base job with seasoned veteran Asdrubal Cabrera. Once one of the best shortstops in baseball, Cabrera has fallen off defensively and has limited range nowadays, though he was still a key contributor to the Nationals' World Series championship in 2019. 

Instead of viewing Kieboom as just his competition and doing everything he can to win the job, Cabrera has taken on the role of mentor for the 22-year-old infielder.

“(Cabrera) takes ground balls with (Kieboom) every day,” Martinez said, according to MASN's Pete Kerzel. “I’ve asked him, ‘Hey, you need to take ground balls at second, too, and short sometimes.’ Religiously, for the purpose of being with Carter, he stands with Carter, helping him with his throws, making sure he understands that footwork is important when he’s throwing. ... He talks to him all the time about a bunch of different things, how to play positions, not take your at-bats to the field. He’s been unbelievable with him, he really has. It’s been good for Carter.”

Kieboom has struggled with errors through the early days of spring ball, which is to be expected considering he's a young player at a position he's never played regularly on the professional level. While a bunch of errors in February are nothing to get too concerned over, Kieboom will have to cut those down in March if he wants to win the job. 

Cabrera is seen as the backup plan at third if Kieboom can't secure the job during spring training. The 34-year-old is entering his 14th season and would probably be better maximized if he didn't have to play every day. 

If Kieboom isn't ready though, it wouldn't be the best idea for the Nationals to force it. So over the course of the next three weeks, we'll see just how much Cabrera can help the youngster. 

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Jayson Werth explains why he 'always thought' Bryce Harper could end up with Phillies

Jayson Werth explains why he 'always thought' Bryce Harper could end up with Phillies

During Phillies spring training on Friday, Jayson Werth visited his old team and former Nationals teammate Bryce Harper. It just so happened he had arrived on the one-year anniversary of Bryce Harper deciding to leave Washington to sign a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies. 

Werth spent six seasons sharing an outfield with Harper but before his days in Washington, he helped the Phillies win the World Series in 2008. His play in Philadelphia earned him a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals in 2011. 

Harper's exit from DC is a sore subject for Nationals fans, even though a World Series championship definitely helped numb the pain. Werth explained in a story by NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury that he always had a hunch Harper could end up in Philly. 

"I always thought this would be a possible destination for him, even way back when, for a bunch of reasons," Werth said. "Kind of where the team was, the money was right, the owner was right, the town's right.

"But more than anything else," Werth added with widening eyes, "Citizens Bank Park is just an awesome place to hit. We always talked about that."

Werth clarified he doesn't want anyone to think he was pushing Harper to Philadelphia, just that as players they naturally had plenty of conversations about other ballparks. And it's hard to argue with that. 

Before he played a single game for the Phillies, Harper was Citizens Bank Park's all-time leader in slugging percentage. In 2019, Harper hit the second-most homers of his career (35) and his second-highest slugging percentage as well.

Werth even enjoyed a nice bump hitting in Philadelphia. During his time with the Nats, Werth his .291 with a .922 OPS to go along with 15 home runs and 45 RBI in 52 trips to Citizens Bank Park. 

Between the 81 games in a hitters ballpark and a $330 million contract without the deferred payments the Nationals reportedly offered to Harper last year, it makes a decent amount of sense he decided to take his talents north. 

But hey, the Nationals won a World Series the following season, and in epic fashion I might add, while there's no guarantee the Phillies get there any time soon. I mean, have you seen their pitching staff outside of Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler?

So Bryce is happy and Nats fans are happy. Everyone wins, right? 

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