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Nats backing Storen after his tough weekend

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Nats backing Storen after his tough weekend

Life as a late-inning reliever is such that whenever a miscue occurs -- however rare it might be -- it'll tend to be remembered far more often than a long stretch of dominance.

That's very much the case these days for Drew Storen, whose back-to-back tough outings against the Colorado Rockies has already begun to induce panic for parts of the Nationals fanbase. For sure, the 27-year-old right hander had an off weekend, surrendering a lead Friday night on an eighth inning go-ahead grand slam by Carlos Gonzalez and yielding a two-run single from DJ LeMahieu Sunday afternoon that broke a 4-4 tie.

But when gauging the clubhouse reaction to his struggles, it's clear that Storen has had the kind of season that has given him the benefit of the doubt among his teammates.

"He's still great. He's an amazing pitcher," Anthony Rendon said after Sunday's loss. "He's had like, two [bad] games? He has what, 30 saves? You're going to quit on him already?"

Indeed, prior to the Rockies series, Storen had retired 15 of the first 16 hitters he faced since becoming the team's setup man. Going back to before the trade for closer Jonathan Papelbon, he hadn't allowed a run in 14 straight appearances before his blown save/loss Friday night vs. Colorado.

"Drew’s fine," said Ryan Zimmerman. "To go a whole year without having any sort of rough patch or a couple bad games is unheard of for relievers most of the time. He’ll be fine. He’s the least of our worries."

It's a valid point that over the course of a 162-game season, it's pretty difficult to avoid a rough patch of some kind -- no matter who you are. But unfortunately for the Nats, Storen's dry spell comes at the worst possible time, with the club scuffling as a whole in the midst of a pennant race with the NL East-leading New York Mets.

"We have bad games," Rendon said. "It's not like we go out there saying 'oh, we're going to give it up today' or 'I'm going to strike out three times today'. It's baseball. Sometimes you get a hit, sometimes you strike out."

While this past weekend could wind up being no more than a blip on the radar, the Nats know they need Storen to quickly return to being the lockdown eighth-inning option he must be in order to maintain what the team believes can be a dynamic back-end of the bullpen.

"I think that's it important for us to realize where Drew has been and how important he's been for us," said manager Matt Williams, "and to continue to show the confidence we have in him. It's important for us to do that as a team."

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The history of Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier's beef, explained

The history of Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier's beef, explained

Ever since they were teammates in Chicago on the White Sox, Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier haven't gotten along. Here's a breakdown of Eaton and Frazier's beef, and how it boiled over during Monday's 5-3 loss to the New York Mets.

2016

Eaton and Frazier started their tenure with the White Sox on bad terms. The team was in the midst of a full rebuild, and Adam LaRoche retired after his son, Drake, was no longer allowed in the clubhouse.

With what appeared to be a vacuum in leadership, Eaton tried stepping up but it fell on deaf ears, particularly Frazier's.

Frazier, whose locker was next to Eaton's, called him out for being a phony according to 670 the Score. That spat led to a locker room fight.

Eaton's locker was then moved across the room from Frazier's, and the two were both eventually traded for picks and prospects.

2018

During the Nationals' visit to New York on August 26, Eaton slid hard into second base, injuring Phillip Evans on the play. The Mets challenged the play as a violation of the slide rule, but Major League Baseball's review determined the slide was allowed.

The Mets didn't take kindly to it. Pitcher Zack Wheeler drilled Eaton, and as he trotted to first base, Frazier chirped him on his way there and Eaton responded.

 “When he usually talks or chirps, usually he says it just loud enough that you can hear him but you can’t understand him," Eaton told MASN after the game. "So I’ll just leave it at that.”

2019

That brings us to Monday's 5-3 loss against the Mets. In the bottom of the third inning, as he was jogging to the dugout, Eaton got an earful from Frazier.

Eaton jawed back at Frazier, and other Nats players were ready to come to Eaton's defense before first base umpire Mike Estabrook impeded Eaton's progress toward Frazier.

After the game, Eaton unloaded. 

"I ignored him a couple times chirping coming across, but I had it to the point where I’m not going to say the saying I want to say but you got to be a man at some point," Eaton explained. "So, I turned around, had a few choice words with him. It’s funny, I was walking towards him, he didn’t really want to walk towards me but as soon as someone held him back then he was all of a sudden he was really impatient, like trying to get towards me. Just being Todd Frazier. What’s new?”

While Frazier kept quiet after the game, Tuesday he noted that Eaton should go "pay off your mortgage."

Before game time tonight, Eaton called the beef "high school stuff"

Will tonight's beef escalate during the game? Tune in at 7 p.m. to find out.

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Have the Nationals missed their opportunity to re-sign Anthony Rendon?

Have the Nationals missed their opportunity to re-sign Anthony Rendon?

Despite numerous conversations and GM Mike Rizzo's assurances that a deal will get done, the Nationals and third baseman Anthony Rendon still have not come to an agreement on a new deal.

But that stalling might have cost the Nationals. According to Grant Paulsen on Tuesday's Grant & Danny show on 106.7 The Fan, the Nats have missed their opportunity to re-sign him. Rendon becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

"Here's something I heard from someone who recently talked to Scott Boras," Paulsen said. "Apparently, he told that person that the Nationals already missed the boat on getting a deal done with Anthony Rendon." 

"Now, that's up to Anthony Rendon, not Scott Boras. And I think that's probably an agent starting to float (interest in Rendon)," Paulsen continued. "If I'm Scott Boras, I would want people to think it's too late. But he is at least already telling people the Nationals missed the boat."

The optics of losing Rendon and outfielder Bryce Harper in back-to-back seasons is something that fans are already thinking about.

"What would it look like if he walked within a calendar year of Bryce walking?" Paulsen said. "And this is an organization that was a division winner year in year out, a playoff team, precipice of a World Series run perhaps. And in a span of two off-seasons, you could have lost your two best players."

"The history says already this team doesn't pay their own guys a lot of money," Paulsen noted. "I would wonder and worry about the health of the fan base, baseball in D.C. as a growing entity and as this beloved organization if the Lerner's allowed Anthony Rendon to walk."

One place Rendon could end up would be in his home state of Texas should he choose to walk.

"A team with immense money is the Texas Rangers," Paulsen explained. "Anthony Rendon is from Texas. That would make a lot of sense."

Paulsen's position is the Nats need to sign Rendon soon before he hits free agency.

"If I'm the Nats, Grant Lerner, I'm putting a $250 million offer in front of the guy today."

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