September 14: Nationals @ Phillies

Teams: Washington Nationals (72-70, -9.5 in NL East), Miami Marlins (56-88, -26.5 in NL East)

Streaks: Nationals: W1, Phillies 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, Jordan Zimmermann RHP

PHI Lineup: Odubel Herrera CF, Freddy Galvis SS, Brian Bogusevic RF, Aaron Altherr LF, Ryan Howard 1B, Darnell Sweeney, Cody Asche 3B, Mike Rupp C, Aaron Nola RHP

Transactions: None.

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

September 12: Nationals @ Marlins

Teams: Washington Nationals (71-69, -8.5 in NL East), Miami Marlins (60-81, -20 in NL East)

Streaks: Nationals: L4, Marlins W3

First pitch: 7:10 pm ET

Watch & Listen: MASN/ 106.7 The FAN

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

MIA Lineup: Dee Gordon 2B, Christin Yelich LF, Martin Pardo 3B, Justin Bour 1B, Derek Dietrich LF, J.T Realmuto C, Ichiro Suzuki RF, Miguel Rojas SS, Jose Fernandez RHP

Transactions: None.

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

September 11: Nationals @ Marlins

Teams: Washington Nationals (71-68, -7.5 in NL East), Miami Marlins (59-81, -20 in NL East)

Streaks: Nationals: L3, Marlins W2

First pitch: 7:10 pm ET

Watch & Listen: MASN 2/ 106.7 The FAN

WSH Lineup: Jayson Werth RF, Anthony Rendon 2B, Bryce Harper RF, Yunel Escobar 3B, Ian Desmond SS, Wilson Ramos C, Michael Taylor CF, Tyler Moore 1B, Gio Gonzalez LHP

MIA Lineup: Dee Gordon 2B, Christin Yelich LF, Martin Pardo 3B, Justin Bour 1B, Marcell Ozuna CF, T.Y. Realmuto C, Ichiro Suzuki RF, Miguel Rojas SS, Jarred Cosart P

Transactions: Nationals recalled RHP Taylor Jordon.

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

Healthy Strasburg deals, but it’s not enough versus Mets

by Jacob Emert | MLB.com

In his first start after missing a turn in the rotation with back tightness, Stephen Strasburg quelled any questions about his health, tossing eight strong innings in the series finale against the Mets.

Strasburg struck out 13 in Washington’s 5-3 loss to the Mets, but saw his night come to a rough end after entering the eighth inning with a 2-1 lead. He allowed a game-tying pinch-hit home run to Kelly Johnson and was pulled after surrendering a single to Curtis Granderson. Granderson scored on a two-run Yoenis Cespedes home run off Drew Storen.

“I went out there and battled,” Strasburg said. “It was a tough one, a tough one to swallow. But we fought to the very end.”

Strasburg was pulled from his Aug. 30 start after four innings with discomfort in his back, an injury linked to body issues that placed him on the disabled list two times prior this season. On Wednesday, he was back to his electric stuff, using a high-90s fastball and a filthy curveball to take advantage of New York’s batters.

“Stephen threw the ball extremely well tonight,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “Went to his changeup late. Usually, he shows his changeup a little earlier, but tonight he only threw a few of them. But he threw the heck out of his curveball and he was locating his fastball. Coming off the year that he’s had, that was a big-time performance tonight.”

With the loss, the Nationals fell seven games back of the Mets in the National League East.

September 9: Mets @ Nationals

Teams: Washington Nationals (71-67, -6.0 in NL East), New York Mets (77-61, +6 in NL East)

Streaks: Nationals: L2, Mets: W2

First pitch: 7:05 pm ET

Watch & Listen: ESPN, MASN 2/ 106.7 The FAN

WSH Lineup: Jayson Werth RF, Danny Espinosa 2B, Bryce Harper RF, Anthony Rendon 3B, Clint Robinson 1B, Ian Desmond SS, Wilson Ramos C, Matt den Dekker LF, Stephen Strasburg RHP

NYM Lineup: Curtis Granderson RF, Yoenis Cespedes CF, Daniel Murphy 2B, David Wright 3B, Lucas Duda 1B, Travis d’Arnaud C, Michael Conforto LF, Wilmer Flores SS, Jacob deGrom RHP

Transactions: None.

Stay informed: 

  • ‘Pen fizzles as Nats fall 6 back of Mets in East (link)
  • Nationals moves backfire in wild 7th (link)
  • Nats left frustrated trying to build rally in 9th (link)
  • Wednesday’s preview vs. the Mets (link)

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

Werth: ‘It’s not over ‘til it’s over’

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — With 24 games to go in the regular season, the Nationals find themselves six games behind the Mets in the National League East race.

On Tuesday, Washington blew a six-run lead and lost a heartbreaker to New York, 8-7, and Jayson Werth realizes that time is running out. He knows his team has to win almost every game if it wants to win the division crown for the second year in a row.

“Well, it’s going to be tough,” Werth said. “We have to win tomorrow. I come from the school of never say die. It’s not over ‘til it’s over. We’re not out ‘til we’re out. But this one is tough to swallow.”

To keep that postseason dream alive, the Nationals must win Wednesday’s game against the Mets.

“I mean, you know the guys at this point really well,” Werth said. “You’ve spent a lot of time with them. It’s a resilient group, resilient bunch. Obviously this is a tough one. This is probably the toughest loss … I’m not going to say in my career, but it’s right up there. So we’re going to have to find a way. We’re going to have to fight back. It’s going to be a long, hard road for us. There’s a lot of games left in the season and like I said It’s not over ‘til it’s over.”

September 8: Mets at Nationals

Teams: Washington Nationals (71-66, -5.0 in NL East), New York Mets (76-61, +5 in NL East)

Streaks: Nationals: L1, Mets: W1

First pitch: 7:05 pm ET

Watch & Listen: MASN 2/ 106.7 The FAN

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

NYM Lineup: Curtis Granderson RF, Yoenis Cespedes CF, Daniel Murphy 2B, David Wright 3B, Lucas Duda 1B, Travis d’Arnaud C, Michael Conforto LF, Wilmer Flores SS, Matt Harvey RHP

Transactions: None.

Stay informed: 

  • Nats fall silent after bursting out in 5-run frame (link)
  • Ramos’ slam doesn’t hold as Nats fall in race (link)
  • Bullpen unable to pick Scherzer up in seventh (link)
  • Tuesday’s preview vs. the Mets (link)

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

Nats’ Scherzer has rough outing vs. Mets

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — After Monday’s 8-5 loss to the Mets, Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer said he was going to have a sleepless night trying to figure out why he has allowed so many home runs lately.

“I think it’s frustrating because everybody thinks they could have done something better today. It starts with me,” Scherzer said. “I know I can pitch better. I give [the Mets] credit for what they were able to accomplish. I’m not taking anything away from them. … When I’m up, they were able to punish me. I accept that. I’m not here to shy away from that.”

The Mets were able to get to Scherzer early by taking a 3-0 lead after 3 1/2 innings. All three runs came on solo home runs by Michael Conforto, Kelly Johnson and Yoenis Cespedes. In fact, Scherzer has allowed 14 home runs and three homers in a game three times during the second half of the season.

Scherzer then was given a 5-3 lead in the fourth inning, thanks to the grand slam by Wilson Ramos and RBI double by Jayson Werth. But Scherzer couldn’t hold on to the lead.

Curtis Granderson had an RBI double an inning later to make it a one-run game in favor of the Nationals. After Cespedes led off the sixth inning with a double, Scherzer balked Cepedes to third and that allowed Travis d’Arnaud to tie the score with a sacrifice fly.

Scherzer acknowledged he was disappointed that he couldn’t hold on to the lead.

“I was making mistakes in the zone,” Scherzer said. “I’m leaving the ball thigh-high instead of getting the ball down in the knees. That’s something that has been systematic in the second half. That’s something I have to get better at. I have to get the ball down in the zone, getting it back at knee level. That’s what is going to keep me up late tonight. I have to figure out how to do that.”

Harper, Nats heating up at the right time

by Jacob Emert | MLB.com

Bryce Harper seems to be in the midst of one of those stretches. Harper went 2-for-4 with a home run in Sunday’s 8-4 win, his third consecutive game with a home run.

In the past seven games, Harper is 9-for-17 with 11 walks, three home runs and six RBIs.

“I think it’s one, his stroke is under control as evidenced by the last couple of games,” manager Matt Williams said. “Granted, the balls are going out of the ballpark. But the telling at-bat is the one to left in the last at-bat today.”

In the eighth-inning, Harper stayed on a 96-mph fastball from Atlanta’s Edwin Jackson and stroked a single to left field.

“He’s under control,” Williams said. “He’s seeing it well. He’s got good knowledge of the strike zone. If he gets the proper pitch then he has a chance to hit it over the fence. But if you try to force it, it doesn’t happen very often.”

The recent stretch has come at an opportune time for the Nationals, who are set to begin a vital three game series with the Mets over the next three days.

It’s not only Harper, though. Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon, all key cogs in Washington’s offense who missed much of the season with respective injuries, seem to finding their strides.

“Our whole team is swinging the bat right now,” Harper said. “One through nine, I think everybody is really having good ABs and doing what we need to do as a team. I’m just out there trying to help out and do the things I can to win ballgames. That’s all I care about.”

The Nationals enter the series four games back of the Mets in the NL East after gaining 2.5 games on New York in the past four days.

Nats’ Zimmerman scratched with sore foot

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — Nationals manager Matt Williams told team broadcaster Dave Jageler that first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was scratched from Sunday’s lineup against the Braves because of a sore left foot.

Zimmerman has been dealing with a sore foot since June. In fact, he spent almost a month on the disabled list because of plantar fasciitis.

Williams is hoping that Zimmerman can return to the lineup Monday afternoon against the Mets, who are in first place in the N.L. East by five games entering Sunday’s action.

Zimmerman has been the Nationals’ hottest hitter. Since August 23, Zimmerman is 20-for-51 [.392] with seven home runs, 25 RBIs.

With Zimmerman out of the lineup, Tyler Moore received the start at first base and is hitting eighth in the lineup.

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