by Jacob Emert | MLB.com
Teams: Washington Nationals (58-57, -4.5 in NL East), San Francisco Giants (62-53, -2.5 in NL West)
First pitch: 10:05 pm ET (7:05 PT)
Watch & Listen: FS1, MASN 2 / 106.7 The FAN
WSH Lineup: Michael Taylor (CF), Anthony Rendon (2B), Bryce Harper (RF), Yunel Escobar (3B), Clint Robinson (1B), Ian Desmond (SS), Jayson Werth (LF), Jose Lobaton (C), Gio Gonzalez (LHP)
SF Lineup: Gregor Blanco (CF), Matt Duffy (3B), Brandon Belt (LF), Bust Posey (1B), Hunter Pence (RF), Brandon Crawford (SS), Kelby Tomlinson (2B), Hector Sanchez (C), Jak Peavy (RHP)
- Harper’s 30th HR made Friday night’s game close, but it wasn’t enough to erase Scherzer’s rough start (link)
- Scherzer blames faulty arm slot for struggles (link)
- Harper is first in National League to 30 homers, but he expects more (link)
- Saturday’s preview for Nationals vs. Giants (link)
Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com Follow me on Twitter @JacobEmert.
By Bill Ladson
SAN FRANCISCO — Since the All-Star break, the Nationals are 10-17 and hitting .224 with a .295 on-base percentage.
Manager Matt Williams decided to make a few changes to the lineup Friday, sitting left fielder Jayson Werth, second baseman Anthony Rendon and catcher Wilson Ramos and replaced them with Clint Robinson, Danny Espinosa and Jose Lobaton, respectively.
Williams said he wanted some lefties in the lineup to face right-hander Matt Cain. The moves are not permanent. Werth and Rendon could be back in the lineup Saturday against San Francisco. Ramos most likely will not start that day because Lobaton is Gio Gonzalez’s personal catcher.
Werth and Rendon have been rusty since coming off the disabled list. Werth is 8-for-56 with a homer and six RBIs since July 28th, while Rendon is 15-for-67 [.224] with a homer and two RBIs since July 25.
“Jayson is still coming back from a wrist injury. It’s probably going to be a process from now until the end of the season,” Williams said. “That being said, Anthony has been heavy on his legs, too, and he is coming off a quad injury. We have to find him days [off], too.”
Ramos has been healthy all season, but he has not performed well with the bat and behind the plate. In fact, Lobaton is considered a better catcher because of his pitch framing and game calling.
To Williams, Ramos is not swinging at the right pitches. Williams gave Thursday’s game as an example of how badly Ramos has been going at the plate.
“We had the bases loaded [in the first inning],” Williams said. “He got ahead, 1-0, and then swung at the one he didn’t want to hit. He grounded out. It’s a little bit of that. His pitch selection [at the plate] could be a little better. He is fighting himself in pitcher’s counts.”
by Jacob Emert
Washington’s offensive woes continued last night, as the Nationals scored only one run on a first-pitch home run by Yunel Escobar. Stephen Strasburg allowed two runs in the first inning, but settled down after that. In the past three games, Washington has scored just the one run.
Max Scherzer will take the ball for the Nationals tonight in game two of the four-game series against the Giants. Below are tonight’s lineups, accompanied by each batter’s hard hit percentage, per FanGraphs.
Washington Nationals (58-56)
Michael Taylor – CF (30.8)
Yunel Escobar – 3B (26.7)
Bryce Harper – RF (40.7)
Ryan Zimmerman – 1B (34.7)
Clint Robinson – LF (28.3)
Ian Desmond – SS (27.1)
Danny Espinosa – 2B (27.0)
Jose Lobaton – C (26.0)
Max Scherzer -RHP (11-8, 2.44)
San Francisco (61-53)
Gregor Blanco – CF(20.4)
Matt Duffy – 3B (28.3)
Brandon Belt – 1B (42.3)
Buster Posey – C (34.6)
Hunter Pence – RF (34.7)
Brandon Crawford – SS (33.8)
Justin Maxwell – LF (32.7)
Ehire Adrianza – 2B (17.1)
Matt Cain – RHP (2-3, 5.59 ERA)
by Jacob Emert
The Nationals couldn’t figure out Clayton Kershaw last night, and the Dodgers took the series two games to one. Tonight, Washington and the Giants start a four-game series in San Francisco.
Below are the lineups for tonight’s game, accompanied by each players’ batting average.
Washington Nationals (58-55)
Yunel Escobar – 3B (.308)
Anthony Rendon – 2B (.265)
Bryce Harper – RF (.330)
Ryan Zimmerman – 1B (.229)
Jayson Werth – LF (.188)
Ian Desmond – SS (.223)
Wilson Ramos – C (.235)
Michael Taylor – CF (.244)
Stephen Strasburg – RHP (6-5, 4.76)
San Francisco Giants (60-53)
Gregor Blanco – CF (.287)
Matt Duffy – 3B (.304)
Brandon Belt – 1B (.272)
Buster Posey – C (.331)
Hunter Pence – RF (.285)
Brandon Crawford – SS (.267)
Justin Maxwell – LF (.220)
Kelby Tomlinson – 2B (.250)
Ryan Vogelsong -RHP (7-8, 4.26)
SAN FRANCISCO — After the 2015 baseball season come to an end in October, Nationals defensive coordinator Mark Weidemaier will continue working on the baseball field, this time in the Mexico Pacific Winter League for Mazatlan Vernados. The team is managed by Miguel Ojeda.
Weidemaier, who is in his second season with the Nationals, has enjoyed 28 years in Latin America having scouted or coached Winter Ball from 1985 to 2013 in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Joe Ross threw the shortest outing of his career last night in a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers. The loss tied the series at one game apiece. Below are tonight’s lineups for the deciding game three, accompanied by each starter’s career stolen base numbers.
Washington Nationals (58-54)
Yunel Escobar – 3B (32)
Anthony Rendon – 2B (18)
Bryce Harper – RF (35)
Ryan Zimmerman – 1B (37)
Jayson Werth – LF (123)
Ian Desmond – SS (118)
Wilson Ramos – C (0)
Michael Taylor – CF (14)
Jordan Zimmermann – RHP (8-7, 3.44)
Los Angeles Dodgers (63-50)
Carl Crawford – LF (472)
Enrique Hernandez – SS (0)
Adrian Gonzalez – 1B (6)
Yasmani Grandal – C (3)
Yasiel Puig – RF (23)
Alberto Callaspo – 3B (22)
Joc Pederson – CF (3)
Jose Peraza – 2B (0)
Clayton Kershaw – LHP (9-6, 2.51)
By Bill Ladson
LOS ANGELES — Nationals right-hander Doug Fister made his first relief appearance of the season in an 8-3 victory over the Dodgers on Monday night.
Fister pitched the ninth inning and allowed a three-run homer to Carl Crawford. In fairness, Fister should have been out of the inning, but shortstop Ian Desmond made a throwing error that forced Fister to get an extra out.
Fister felt a sense of relief after he made his first appearance out of the bullpen. He was taken out of the rotation last week in favor of Joe Ross because Fister had problems keeping the ball down. In fact, he allowed 13 homers this year.
“The first one is over. I haven’t done it for a while. So I wasn’t real sure what it takes with all the little details,” Fister said. “It went smoothly, being able to warm up and being ready. I felt good last night. I feel like I’m back on track of where I need to be. Yeah, Crawford got to it. It was a decent pitch. But I have to tip my cap to him.”
Fister plans to keep a positive attitude about his new role, work hard in the bullpen and in games. He said being negative doesn’t solve anything.
“It doesn’t do anybody any good if I’m negative,” Fister said. “If I’m hiding in the corner, that doesn’t help anybody else. We are a team here. The ultimate goal is to win the World Series.”
Fister will be a free agent after the season, but hasn’t thought about how his role in the bullpen will affect him on the open market. Fister is not expected to be back with Washington next year.
“I figure that will take care of itself,” Fister said. “If I can get back on track and pitch well, where I fall is where I fall in the free-agent market. There is nothing I can do to change it, but pitch better.”
by Jacob Emert
Below are the lineups for tonight’s game, accompanied by each player’s career home run total.
Washington Nationals (58-53)
Yunel Escobar – 3B (76)
Anthony Rendon – 2B (29)
Ryan Zimmerman – 1B (193)
Clint Robinson – RF (5)
Jayson Werth – LF (189)
Ian Desmond – SS (105)
Wilson Ramos – C (55)
Michael Taylor – CF (11)
Joe Ross – RHP (3-3, 2.80 ERA)
Los Angeles Dodgers (62-50)
Jimmy Rollins – SS (227)
Alberto Callaspo – 3B (52)
Adrian Gonzalez – 1B (284)
Andre Ethier – LF (157)
Yasmani Grandal – C (39)
Yasiel Puig – RF (43)
Joc Pederson – CF (21)
Enrique Hernandez – 2B (8)
Zack Greinke – P (11-2, 1.71 ERA)
By Bill Ladson
LOS ANGELES — The Nationals signed outfielder Tony Campana to a Minor League deal, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com.
Campana, 29, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and will report to Viera Fla., the team’s Spring Training facility.
When healthy, Campana can provide speed off the bench. He had a career high 30 stolen bases for the Cubs in 2012. Besides the Cubs, Campana spent time with the Angels, Diamondbacks and White Sox.
By Bill Ladson
LOS ANGELES — In the first inning of Monday’s 8-3 victory over the Dodgers, Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton injured his hand because of a back swing from Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
Nationals manager Matt Williams and Athletic trainers Lee Kuntz came to Lobaton’s aid, but Lobaton stayed in the game. Lobaton ended up going 0-for-3.
“[Rollins] clipped Lobby’s finger nail and pulled some of it off,” Williams said. “It was unintentional, a freak random thing. … That’s a painful thing.”