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Plenty of contributors in Nats' comeback win over Mets


Plenty of contributors in Nats' comeback win over Mets

As if it wasn't clear already, the second-inning departure of Yunel Escobar due to injury gave the Nats yet another reminder that if they are to win games these days, they are going to have to do so without the contributions of some of their biggest names. 

Escobar exited with a left wrist injury, another scary moment in a season full of them. But afterwards, it was the bottom of their lineup, Michael Taylor and Danny Espinosa who stepped up to secure a series victory over the rival New York Mets.

Taylor had two RBI singles to drive in three total runs. Ian Desmond, who batted seventh, scored twice and had two hits and two walks. Eight-hole hitter Matt den Dekker scored the fourth run in their 4-3 win and ended with a single and three walks. Espinosa drove in the go-ahead run.

That is certainly not the way the Nationals drew it up before the season but, hey, they'll take it.

"Opportunity. That's what they're looking for, the opportunity to show us and everybody else what they can do," Matt Williams said. "They've stepped up. It wasn't the plan, for sure, but nonetheless they've contributed and we're at where we're at."

The Nats surely planned to have Desmond be a big contributor this season, but up until lately he hadn't produced much of anything. Now Desmond has reached base in seven out of his last 10 plate appearances.

"That's the key with Desi. If he sees it well, then he lays off the bad pitches and he's able to do stuff like that," Williams said. "Hit balls over the fence, get basehits and walk and cause havoc on the bases as well. I like where he's at right now. He's seeing the ball well."

Taylor brought Desmond home twice, first in the fourth inning and again in the eighth. The second hit also scored den Dekker and tied the game at 3-3. 

Afterwards he described his approach to the at-bat against Mets reliever Bobby Parnell.

"I just tried to step out of the box and take my time more than I probably would normally. I'm looking for a certain pitch in that situation, so just have to try to be as patient as possible," Taylor said. "That was a big change in the game."

Taylor has an unusual split this season based on whether runners are on base. With no runners he is hitting .198 (32-for-162). With runners he is batting .389 (21-for-54) with 30 RBI.

"For me, when he gets in those situations he doesn't try to do too much," Williams added. "He's not looking for a three-run homer, he's looking for a basehit."

"It’s heart. I think he wants it more than the next guy. It’s been fun to watch. Hopefully there’s a lot more of it," Desmond said.

Espinosa - another fill-in due to injury - delivered the game-winning hit against Parnell in the next at-bat. He roped a double down the line and into the corner in left field. That scored Taylor from second, after the rookie stole a base following his 2-RBI hit.

The clutch hits from Taylor and Espinosa represented a breakthrough for the Nats on this particular day. Before the eighth inning they were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and had left 10 stranded on-base.

The Nats kept pushing forward and came away with an important victory in the NL East.

"The fact that we had a chance to come back in this game shows that we don't give up," Williams said. "We create opportunities for ourselves and we can come through. If we don't have those [10] runners, then we can't strand them. That's a good sign for us that we have guys on the basepaths. That's what we want."

"We got a team built on character guys and today was a perfect example of that," Desmond said.

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Beats by Scherz: Why Scherzer chose Dr. Dre song as his walk-up music

Beats by Scherz: Why Scherzer chose Dr. Dre song as his walk-up music

NEW YORK – A few constants remain during this wayward Nationals season. One is Max Scherzer.

Scherzer comes into Tuesday leading the National League in innings pitched and strikeouts. He's second in strikeouts per nine innings and third in strikeout-to-walk ratio. Scherzer's 3.72 ERA is well above his average of 2.71 since arriving in Washington in 2015. However, his FIP (fielding-independent pitching) is a league-leading 2.45, showing he has been victimized by bad defense more than bad pitching.

He hopped on a pop-up edition of The Racing Presidents podcast Tuesday in New York. Sitting in the visitors dugout a day ahead of another matchup with 2018 Cy Young Award Jacob deGrom, Scherzer touched on lighter topics, like his selection of Dr. Dre's "Still Dre" as his walkup song, and addressed who is responsible for the Nationals being seven games under .500 the last year-plus.

We're all responsible," Scherzer said. "When you wear a hat and jersey that says Nationals on it, we're all in the same position. It's frustrating to not have a winning record. It's frustrating not to be winning as a team. [Since] I've been here, we've won a couple division titles and you know that feeling of what it's like to win. You know you have the core group of players who have won here in the past that can win here again. It's just a matter of figuring out what the right chemistry is and going out there and getting it done."

Scherzer is in his 12th major-league season. He's made at least 30 starts for 10 consecutive seasons. One of the reasons for his lack of injuries and durability is not because he goes through extensive recuperation during the offseason. Instead, Scherzer keeps pushing both his arm and body. 

"I try to find a way to continue to do more, to take more on my body even as I age," Scherzer said.

And, about that walkup song, which is part-protest, part-comeback song? He was out to dinner with reliever Aaron Barrett when it popped on and Barrett suggested it as this year's entrance music.

So, click below to listen to everything Scherzer had to say in our exclusive interview. Also, don't forget to download, rate and subscribe to The Racing Presidents podcast. We're with you after every game and with marquee interviews and insight you can't find elsewhere.


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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.


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.


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.”


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.