Author Archive

With pope in town, Nats could use blessing

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — Entering Tuesday’s action the Nationals were 6 ½ games behind the Mets in the National League East race with 13 games to go. With Pope Francis arriving in DC on Tuesday, Nationals manager Matt Williams was asked if he wanted the Pope to bless the Nationals. What was Williams’ response?

“I would like for us to win tonight’s game and we go from there,” Williams said.

Williams said he doesn’t expect Pope Francis to visit Nationals Park, “but he is the Pope, so you never know.” he said.

September 22: Orioles @ Nationals

Teams: Washington Nationals (77-71, -6.5 in NL East), Baltimore Orioles (73-76, -12.5 in AL East)

Streaks: Nationals: W3, Orioles L1

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.

Watch & Listen: MASN, MASN 2 / 105.7 The Fan, 106.7 The FAN

WSH Lineup: Rendon 2B,Escobar 3B, Harper RF, Werth LF, Robinson 1B, Desmond SS, Taylor CF, Lobaton C, Gonzalez P

BAL Lineup: Reimold LF, Machado 3B, Davis 1B, Pearce RF, Schoop 2B, Joseph C, Hardy SS, Lake CF, Jimenez P

Transactions: None.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JacobEmert.

September 21: Orioles @ Nationals

Teams: Washington Nationals (77-71, -7.0 in NL East), Baltimore Orioles (73-76, -12.0 in AL East)

Streaks: Nationals: W3, Orioles L1

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.

Watch & Listen: MASN, MASN 2 / 105.7 The Fan, 106.7 The FAN

WSH Lineup: Rendon 2B,Escobar 3B, Harper RF, Werth LF, Robinson 1B, Desmond SS, Taylor CF, Lobaton C, Gonzalez P

BAL Lineup: Reimold LF, Machado 3B, Davis 1B, Pearce RF, Schoop 2B, Joseph C, Hardy SS, Lake CF, Jimenez P

Transactions: None.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JacobEmert.

Moore trying to take advantage of playing time

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON – Nationals first baseman Tyler Moore doesn’t play often, but he took advantage of the playing time he received the last two games against the Marlins.

Starting because of the oblique injury to Ryan Zimmerman, Moore went 3-for-8, with two home runs and four RBIs.

“It’s great to help these guys a little bit, get a couple of knocks and kind of get things going,” Moore said.

Moore has been in and out of the Major Leagues the last three years. It’s one of the reasons he is out of Minor League options. When he is with the Major League team, playing time is scarce. Don’t look for Moore to complain about that, though.

“There are some things you can’t control,” Moore said. “One thing you can control is the attitude. You just try to come every day and be a light to this locker room, keep my mouth shut and just do my work. That’s what they need from a bench guy.”

September 20: Marlins @ Nationals

Teams: Washington Nationals (77-71, -7.0 in NL East), Miami Marlins (64-85, -19.5 in NL East)

Streaks: Nationals: W2, Marlins L2

First pitch: 1:35 pm ET

Watch & Listen: MASN / 106.7 The FAN

WSH Lineup: Taylor CF, Escobar 3B, Harper RF, Werth LF, Desmond SS, Ramos C, Moore 3B, Turner 2B, Strasburg RHP

MIA Lineup: Gordon 2B, Ichiro RF, Yelich LF, Bour 1B, Ozuna CF, Dietrich 3B, Rojas SS, Tellis C, Nicolino LHP

Transactions: None.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JacobEmert.

Clint Robinson doesn’t mind facing aces

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — In the bottom of the second inning of Friday’s 5-4 win over the Marlins, the Nationals’ Clint Robinson walloped a Jose Fernandez fastball into the second deck of the right-field seats at Nats Park.

The solo shot continued an amazing trend for Robinson, who continually has risen to the challenge when facing the toughest competition this season. Entering 2015, the 30-year-old had tallied a total of 14 Major League plate appearances, three hits and no home runs, but after making the Nats’ roster as a longshot, check out his success against some of the top starting pitchers in the league:

  • Madison Bumgarner* (SF) …. 2-for-3, 2B
  • Gerrit Cole (PIT) ……………. 1-for-3, 2B
  • Jacob deGrom (NYM) ……… 1-for-5, RBI
  • Zack Greinke (LAD) ………… 3-for-6
  • Matt Harvey (NYM) ………… 3-for-8, 2B, BB, 3 RBI
  • Jose Fernandez (MIA) …….. 2-for-3, HR, RBI
  • Clayton Kershaw* (LAD) …… 1-for-3
  • Francisco Liriano* (PIT) ……. 1-for-2, 2B, BB
  • Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) …….1-for-3

*Left-handed pitcher (Robinson bats lefty)

Totals: 15-for-36 (.417) with 2 BB, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Opponents have hit .241 against Cole, which ranked 48th in the Majors among starters with at least 45 innings, entering Friday. The other eight pitchers all had opponents averages of .227 or below, ranking in the top 21.

Obviously, Robinson’s numbers here are a small sample size, though they include most of his encounters with upper-level starters. But while it doesn’t mean that Robinson has some special talent for hitting aces, it’s still impressive what he has accomplished against them, given his limited big league experience.

“I do the same thing I do no matter who’s on the mound,” he said. “Most of the time those top-of-the rotation guys, they’re strike throwers, so that’s always good when you get them in the strike zone and do something with it. Just try to approach every at-bat the same, go up there and not do too much and let whatever happens once you hit the ball happen. There’s nothing really special about it.”

Nats manager Matt Williams pointed to Friday’s home run, which came on a 94-mph fastball, as an example of how Robinson has succeeded in those spots.

“I just think it’s a short swing,” Williams said. “So somebody like Jose, if he throws you a fastball, he’s going to provide all the power you need, and a short, level, compact swing will do the trick. He didn’t swing hard at that ball, and it went in the upper deck.”

And it’s not like Robinson has only hit against top-of-the-rotation starters. He’s been a surprisingly solid contributor for the Nats all season, especially since Ryan Zimmerman’s first disabled-list stint in June opened up some regular playing time.

While Robinson’s numbers as a pinch-hitter are modest, he is batting .299/.386/.457 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 64 starts.

Not bad for a 30-year-old rookie.

Follow Andrew Simon on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

September 18: Marlins @ Nationls

Teams: Washington Nationals (75-71, -8.0 in NL East), Miami Marlins (64-83, -19.5 in NL East)

Streaks: Nationals: L1, Marlins W3

First pitch: 7:05 pm ET

Watch & Listen: MASN / 106.7 The FAN

WSH Lineup: Rendon 2B, Escobar 3B, Harper CF, Werth RF, Robinson 1B, Desmond SS, den Dekker LF, Lobaton C, Scherzer RHP

MIA Lineup: Gordon 2B, Yelich CF, Prado 3B, Bour 1B, Dietrich LF, Realmuto C, Ichiro RF, Rojas SS, Fernandez RHP

Transactions: None.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JacobEmert.

September 17: Marlins @ Nationals

Teams: Washington Nationals (75-70, -7.5 in NL East), Miami Marlins (63-83, -20 in NL East)

Streaks: Nationals: W4, Marlins W2

First pitch: 7:05 pm ET

Watch & Listen: MASN / 106.7 The FAN

WSH Lineup: Anthony Rendon 2B, Yunel Escobar 3B, Bryce Harper RF, Jayson Werth LF, Clint Robinson 1B, Ian Desmond SS, Wilson Ramos C, Michael Taylor CF, Tanner Roark RHP

MIA Lineup: Dee Gordon 2B, Christian Yelich CF, Martin Prado 3B, Justin Bour 1B, Marcell Ozuna RF, Derek Dietrich LF, Jeff Mathis C, Miguel Rojas SS, Jarred Cosard RHP

Transactions: None.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JacobEmert.

September 16: Nationals @ Phillies

Teams: Washington Nationals (74-70, -8.5 in NL East), Philadelphia Phillies (56-90, -27.5 in NL East)

Streaks: Nationals: W3, Phillies L2

First pitch: 7:05 pm ET

Watch & Listen: MASN2 / 106.7 The FAN

WSH Lineup: Anthony Rendon 2B, Yunel Escobar 3B, Bryce Harper RF, Jayson Werth LF, Clint Robinson 1B, Ian Desmond SS, Jose Lobaton C, Michael Taylor CF, Gio Gonzalez LHP

PHI Lineup: TBA.

Transactions: None.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JacobEmert.

September 15: Nationals @ Phillies

Teams: Washington Nationals (73-70, -9.5 in NL East), Miami Marlins (56-89, -27.5 in NL East)

Streaks: Nationals: W2, Phillies L2

First pitch: 7:05 pm ET

Watch & Listen: MASN2 / 106.7 The FAN

WSH Lineup: Anthony Rendon 2B, Yunel Escobar 3B, Bryce Harper RF, Jayson Werth LF, Clint Robinson 1B, Ian Desmond SS, Wilson Ramos C, Michael Taylor CF, Stephen Strasburg P

PHI Lineup: Darnell Sweeney LF, Freddy Galvis SS, Odubel Herrera CF, Andres Blanco 2B, Cody Asche 3B, Darin Ruf 1B, Brian Bogusevic RF, Carlos Ruiz C, David Buchanan P

Transactions: None.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JacobEmert.

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