September 2012

What to Watch For: 9/30

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Washington Nationals (96-62) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (85-73)

LHP Ross Detwiler (10-7, 3.28) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (17-7, 3.69)

With their extra-inning victory Saturday night, the Nationals inched within a single win or Atlanta loss of clinching the National League East. They look to do so – and to win the series against the Cardinals – this afternoon with St. Louis native Ross Detwiler on the hill, pitching in his hometown as a Major Leaguer for the first time.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

From catcher Kurt Suzuki, on his two-out, two-run, game-winning hit in the 10th inning following an intentional walk to Danny Espinosa:

“You want to be in those situations…you want to go up there and make them pay.”

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Detwiler LHP

THE NEXT MAGIC MOMENT

Having clinched a spot in MLB’s postseason, the Nationals now turn their attention to winning the NL East…Washington’s magic number to clinch the NL East is ONE game.

OCTOBER BASEBALL

The Nationals – via a 4-1 home win over Los Angeles on September 20 – have assured The Nation’s Capital of its first postseason October baseball since the 1933 AL Nationals lost a five-game World Series to the Giants. Those AL Nationals also won AL pennants in 1924 (World Champions) and ‘25. This mark’s the second post-season trip for the franchise, as Montreal lost to the Dodgers in the five-game ‘81 NLCS.

96 CURLY W’s IN THE BOOKS

With four games remaining, Washington has already established a franchise best with 96 wins and needs three wins to match the best mark by a D.C.-based team (‘33 Senators). The Nationals are the first ballclub from the Nation’s Capital to eclipse the 90-win plateau in 79 years or since the pennant-winning 99-win ‘33 AL Nationals. This is the ninth 90-win campaign posted by a D.C. baseball team…from 1913-33, the AL Nationals posted eight 90-win seasons: 1933 (99 wins), 1925 (96), 1930 (94), 1932 (93), 1931 (92), 1924 (92), 1912 (91), 1913 (90).

- FOLLOW NATIONALS VS. CARDINALS LIVE -

Two Swings, One Number

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Baseball is a sport of routines, of countless situations played over and over again. It is a game that, more often than not, rewards those teams that are able to consistently take advantage of the opportunities afforded them to score runs and win games. However, one of the greatest parts about baseball is the likelihood of seeing something you’ve never seen before in each and every game. There are so many different ways for any given situation to unfold that no two games would ever play out exactly alike, even if – by some miracle – the box scores looked identical.

This anachronism played true to form on Saturday night, when the Nationals needed just two swings to take control of their fate, beating the host Cardinals in 10 innings to lower their NL East magic number to one. The first swing happened with no bat and no ball, and was a first for everyone in the ballpark, no matter how much baseball their eyes had seen. Michael Morse stepped into the box with the bases loaded and drove a ball the other way, clearing the right-field wall before caroming off the electronic billboard behind it and back into play. Initially ruled a single on the field, confusion reigned among the Nationals runners on the base paths, with Morse eventually being tagged out sliding back into first. Following a review, the umpires determined correctly that the ball had in fact cleared the wall for a grand slam.

Home runs have been overturned before in baseball since the advent of replay, but none have played out quite the way this one did. Morse, who had stayed at first base during the review, began running the bases when home plate umpire Cory Blaser gave the home run signal. However, he was ordered to go back to the base where he started when the play began. Initially he circled back around second to first, but was eventually sent back to home plate, with Bryce Harper – who began the play at third base and had been in the dugout for several minutes after scoring – summoned to return to the field as well. Upon arriving back at the batter’s box, Morse, not knowing what to do, took a phantom swing, then went into his home run trot, even tossing in his trademark helmet slap as he rounded the bases. Fittingly, a full moon rose from behind the outfield bleachers the next inning, looming over the spot where the ball had left the yard.

The Nationals would not score again until the 10th inning, after the Cardinals had come back to tie the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth. This time, they did so on a play that baseball lifers have seen time and time again, one that anyone who has been following the Nats closely down the stretch over the past few weeks could see coming a mile away. Adam LaRoche, who led the inning off with a single, stood at second base with two outs following a Roger Bernadina sacrifice bunt and an Ian Desmond fly out. With Danny Espinosa at the plate, Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny elected to intentionally walk Espinosa, rather than let his reliever, Fernando Salas, face him.

Kurt Suzuki’s clutch double brought the Nationals to the brink of history.

In theory, the move was a shrewd one. Espinosa had found success against Salas in the past. Perhaps he remembered Espinosa’s triple off Salas on April 20 last season. He almost certainly had images of Espinosa’s three-run, walk-off home run that Salas served up in Washington a couple months after that. Perhaps it was as simple as wanting a righty-righty matchup instead of letting a left-handed batter (or switch-hitter, batting left) beat him. But Kurt Suzuki has not been just any right-handed hitter of late.

Since August 25, the Nationals trade acquisition has batted .322 (29-for-90) with a .522 slugging percentage and 20 RBI in just 27 games. He has supported the “Kurt Klutch” nickname he earned at Cal State Fullerton, where his two-out, RBI-single in the bottom of the seventh inning led the Titans to a 3-2 victory and College World Series title in 2004.

While the intentional walk can serve many purposes in the game, a two-out intentional walk means only one thing from the opposing manager: “I’ll take my chances against you.” Better not to do so facing a guy with a “Klutch” nickname. Suzuki ripped a two-run double to the base of the fence in left-center, providing the decisive blow.

The culmination of the two swings have left the Nationals on the brink of their first-ever National League East title which they could wrap up as soon as today. They need a single win (or Atlanta loss) to make it official here, fittingly, on the home field of the defending World Series Champions.

What to Watch For: 9/29

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Washington Nationals (95-62) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (85-72)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 2.90) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.77)

The Nationals look to bounce back behind Jordan Zimmermann after dropping the opening game of the series in St. Louis last night. They will face Cardinals righty Kyle Lohse, against whom they scored five runs in 5.2 innings in on September 1 in Washington.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

From manager Davey Johnson on how aware the team will be of the results in Atlanta, with the NL East Magic Number down to two:

“We’ll probably do a little more scoreboard watching than usual. But it’s real easy to scoreboard watch now, they’ve got it plastered all over every stadium you’re in.”

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

95 CURLY W’S IN THE BOOKS

With five games remaining, Washington has matched a franchise best with 95 wins (‘79 Expos) and needs four wins in its final six games to match the best mark by a D.C.-based team (‘33 Senators). The Nationals are the first ballclub from the Nation’s Capital to eclipse the 90-win plateau in 79 years, or since the pennant-winning 99-win ‘33 AL Nationals. This is the ninth 90-win campaign posted by a D.C. baseball team. From 1913-33, the AL Nationals posted eight 90-win seasons: 1933 (99 wins), 1925 (96), 1930 (94), 1932 (93), 1931 (92), 1924 (92), 1912 (91), 1913 (90).

KEEPING SCORE ON THE SEASON

The Nationals currently pace the Major Leagues in run differential. MLB’s top three: Washington (+137), New York (AL) (+113), St. Louis (+112). The Nationals have allowed the fewest runs (575) in the NL.

C-NOTE

Just one RBI shy of the century mark, Adam LaRoche looks to become just the third player to record a 100-RBI season in a Nationals uniform, joining Ryan Zimmerman (‘06, ‘09) and Adam Dunn (‘09-10). LaRoche would match a career high with his next RBI and has already equaled his career plateau with 32 home runs this season.

- FOLLOW NATIONALS VS. CARDINALS LIVE -

A Golden Celebration

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Ryan Zimmerman has put together a tremendous 2012 campaign, posting a .327/.391/.590 line with 24 doubles, 21 home runs and 72 RBI in just 85 games since June 24. But his defense will always be his trademark, as he has delivered another Gold Glove-worthy season in the field. In honor of the third baseman’s 28th birthday, we’ve compiled our 10 favorite defensive moments from Zim this season. Enjoy them all again and vote for your favorite in the poll at the bottom of the post.

4/15 vs. CIN: Stick the Landing

Zim snags this bunt attempt out of mid-air on a headlong dive.

5/11 @ CIN: Substance Over Style

Zim knocks down the grounder to third, then traps Brandon Phillips off third and applies the tag as the runner tries to leap back over him.

5/19 vs. BAL: Learn the Hard Way

Zim ranges to the hole, spins and throws home to gun down J.J. Hardy trying to score from third.

7/7 vs. COL: Jump Stop

Watch Zim go into foul ground, spin and throw for a force at second base, all in one motion.

7/21 vs. ATL: Sorry Blue

With runners at the corners, the Nats go 3-2-5 for the double play, with Zim taking out the home plate umpire after tagging Prado coming home.

7/23 @ NYM, Bare-ly Got Him

On a slow dribbler, Zim charges, barehands the ball, throws from an awkward angle and nabs Valdespin at first base.

8/3 vs. MIA: Fish Fry

Charging into foul territory, Zim throws a strike across his body to LaRoche at first.

8/17 vs. NYM: Too Fast for Torres

Zim ranges to his backhand and throws across his body, beating the speedy Torres to first.

8/22 vs. ATL: Chopped

Zimmerman charges Tyler Pastornicky’s chopper off the plate, transfers the ball in one motion and fires to first in time for the out.

9/19 vs. LAD: Tumble and Tag

This heads up play by Zimmerman ended the inning and should have saved the Nats a run.

What to Watch For: 9/28

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Washington Nationals (95-61) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (84-72)

RHP Edwin Jackson (9-10, 3.77) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (13-13, 4.02)

The Nationals six-game road trip continues to its second city, after Washington took the final two games to win the series in Philadelphia. Edwin Jackson returns to St. Louis for the first time since winning the 2011 World Series with the Cardinals as he opposes Adam Wainwright in the opening game of the series.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

From reliever Drew Storen, upon watching fellow bullpen-mate Tom Gorzelanny catch Michael Morse’s second home run Thursday night in his cap, as to which part of the play was more exciting:

“Well, they both were. We’re just happy anytime something happens out there.”

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Jackson RHP

95 CURLY W’S IN THE BOOKS

With six games remaining, Washington has matched a franchise best with 95 wins (‘79 Expos) and needs four wins in its final six games to match the best mark by a D.C.-based team (‘33 Senators). The Nationals are the first ballclub from the Nation’s Capital to eclipse the 90-win plateau in 79 years, or since the pennant-winning 99-win ‘33 AL Nationals. This is the ninth 90-win campaign posted by a D.C. baseball team. From 1913-33, the AL Nationals posted eight 90-win seasons: 1933 (99 wins), 1925 (96), 1930 (94), 1932 (93), 1931 (92), 1924 (92), 1912 (91), 1913 (90).

X MARKS THE SPOT

Edwin Jackson enters tonight’s start with nine wins, looking to join teammates Gio Gonzalez (21 wins), Stephen Strasburg (15), Jordan Zimmermann (12) & Ross Detwiler (10) in the 10-win club. Washington would join the Giants as MLB’s only teams with five 10-game winners this season. In franchise annals, only the ‘79 Expos had at least five pitchers with 10 or more wins: Bill Lee (16 wins), Steve Rogers (13), Ross Grimsley (10), Rudy May (10), David Palmer (10), Dan Schatzeder (10). Only Lee and Rogers logged at least 10 wins in starts.

WORTH NOTING

The Nationals are 10-3 in their last 13 games at home against the Cardinals. However, since the beginning of the 2008 campaign, Washington is just 1-10 at the newest version of Busch Stadium. Washington has won six of the last nine one-run games in the series. Pitching in a starting role, Sean Burnett bested the Cardinals on June 29, 2004 at PNC Park to pocket his first big league win. Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein is the older brother of former Cardinals SS David Eckstein, who was named World Series MVP in 2006. MASN’s Bob Carpenter is a St. Louis native who spent 10 seasons broadcasting Cardinals baseball on radio and TV. WJFK’s Charlie Slowes began his broadcasting career at St. Louis’ KMOX, where he performed various on-air duties during broadcast of the Cardinals, the NFL Cardinals, the Blues and St. Louis University basketball from 1984-86.

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 28, 2010: The last of 76 home runs hit by Adam Dunn as a National is a game-ending solo blast off Jose Contreras and finalizes a 2-1 victory over the visiting Phillies.

September, 28 2011 — Washington wraps up its season with a 3-1 win at MIA, as Stephen Strasburg picks up his first win after coming back from Tommy John surgery. Drew Storen picked up his 43rd save with a clean 9th inning.

- FOLLOW NATIONALS VS. CARDINALS LIVE -

On the Postseason Train

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

With Thursday night’s 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Nationals reduced their magic number to three with six games to play in the regular season. But Washington already punched its first postseason ticket since the franchise’s relocation to the Nation’s Capital, marking the first playoff team in Washington D.C. since 1933. Keep an eye out for the video below throughout the 2012 Postseason as the Nationals look to ride this train as far as it will take them.

What to Watch For: 9/27

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Washington Nationals (94-61) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (78-77)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (20-8, 2.84) vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (2-1, 3.86)

After splitting the first two of the three-game set, the Nationals look to take the series from the Phillies with Cy Young contender Gio Gonzalez on the mound. The southpaw has won four of his last five and seven of his last nine starts, but one of those two losses came here in Phladelphia.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

From Ian Desmond, asked if his 25th home run on Wednesday night (on the same night that Bryce Harper hit his 20th) had any particular significance to him:

“No, I’m just trying to distance myself from the 19 year-old.’”

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

GIO TRYING TO CATCH THE D-TRAIN

Gio Gonzalez will go for his 21st win of the season tonight vs. Philadelphia, in an attempt to become the first NL East left-hander to win an excess of 20 games since 2005 (Dontrelle Willis, 22). Note that Gio never faced Philadelphia before 2012, but was a part of their organization in 2006 when he spend the year at Double-A Reading. Against the Phillies this year, he is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA (4 ER/19.0 IP) in three starts.

DR. DREW

Although it was not technically a save situation, Drew Storen finished off last night’s 8-4 victory over the Phillies with a perfect ninth inning, collecting one strikeout. In 20 appearances since August 17, Storen has walked one and struck out 16 while posting a 0.53 ERA (1 ER/17.0 IP) along the way. 

ACCORDING TO ELIAS…

Bryce Harper hit his ninth triple and 20th home run of the season in Washington’s win over Philadelphia on Wednesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, over the last 40 seasons (1973-2012), the only other rookie with that many triples and home runs in one season was Nomar Garciaparra (11 3B, 20 HR) for the Red Sox in 1997.

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 27, 1968: At Detroit‚ Frank Howard snaps a 1-1 tie with his 44th homer‚ and the Senators beat the Tigers‚ 3-1. Howard’s run is his 89th‚ and he’ll finish the year with that‚ compiling the most homers in history without scoring 90 runs.

September 27, 2006: The Nationals and Phillies played a marathon, 14-inning contest that lasted four hours and 53 minutes at RFK Stadium. Philly won the game, 8-7, in which the Nats employed the services of 23 players (15 position players, 8 pitchers).

- FOLLOW NATIONALS VS. PHILLIES LIVE -

Stepping Up

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

The takeaway moment from Wednesday night’s Nationals-Phillies tilt in Philadelphia will undoubtedly be Jayson Werth’s final at-bat in the top of the ninth. After electing not to throw a foul ball that had made its way to him in the batter’s circle into the crowd, Werth instead paused and lobbed it into the Washington dugout. That sparked a reign of boos from the half-empty Citizen’s Bank Park, easily the most passionate reaction of the entire evening. After Danny Espinosa struck out, leaving runners at the corners with two outs for Werth, the crowd rose to a fever pitch as their former player dug into the batter’s box.

Jayson Werth’s reemergence atop the Nationals lineup has personified the power shift in the NL East.

The Phillies had fallen behind early, thanks to a trio of Washington home runs from Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond and Kurt Suzuki. Suzuki’s second-inning blast, the Nationals third in their first eight batters of the game, gave Washington 183 home runs on the season, as the club continued to distance itself from the previous franchise record of 178 set back in 2000 in Montreal. It also gave them a 5-0 lead at which the home team slowly chipped away. After single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, the advantage stood at just 5-4 in the top of the ninth as Werth dug in.

He lunged at the first pitch off the outside corner, fouling it away for strike one. He then got buzzed on a fastball up and in from Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus, to the rave reviews of everyone in the stands wearing a P on their foreheads. Werth then uncharacteristically chased a breaking ball off the plate away, swinging through it for strike two as the crowd again roared its collective approval. Lost in the drama of the moment, Kurt Suzuki took off on the next pitch, ball two, stealing second without a throw. The play would prove enormous, as Werth served De Fratus’ next offering straight past the pitcher, the ball bounding past a helpless Jimmy Rollins into center field, sucking the air out of the ballpark and plating both runners to open up a 7-4 advantage.

“That’s a big-time lineup over there,” said Werth of the Phillies, preferring to focus on the significance of the moment within the game rather than the fanfare surrounding it. “To push a couple across to extend the lead at this point in time in the season, emotions are running high, and I was just happy to get the runs across.”

John Lannan continued to be quietly effective, moving to 4-0 in 2012.

Harper would then drive Werth home on an RBI-triple to provide the final margin, but Jayson’s hit – and the crowd’s reaction to it – provided the highest drama of the evening. They also overshadowed the story that is quietly chugging along, that of John Lannan’s reemergence.

If it weren’t for a throwing error in the third and a bit of bad luck in the fourth, the Nationals lefty may well have carried a shutout into the sixth inning. As it was, he allowed just two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings of work to improve to 4-0 in his five starts since returning to the Washington rotation. And while every game in a pennant race is important, Lannan continues to find himself on some of the biggest stages, tasked with the challenge of leading the Nationals to victory when they need it most.

“I’ve been in that situation here so many times and come up short,” he explained after the game, acknowledging some his own personal struggles pitching in Philly. “I told myself I wouldn’t do that again.”

He described the game as an adrenaline rush from the first inning on, but clearly something about that pressure seems to bring out the best in his game.

“If you don’t want the ball in those situations, you’re in the wrong game.”

What to Watch For: 9/26

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Washington Nationals (93-61) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (78-76)

LHP John Lannan (3-0, 4.43) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (10-11, 3.89)

The Nationals send the second of three consecutive southpaws against the Phillies as John Lannan takes the mound at Citizens Bank Park opposite Kyle Kendrick. Washington has alternated wins and losses over its past eight games after dropping the series opener last night.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

From manager Davey Johnson on Steve Lombardozzi getting a shot to start at second base tonight for the first time in a while after starting regularly earlier in the year:

“He was probably playing as good as anybody. His playing time has diminished, but he can play.”

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Lombardozzi 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Lannan LHP

KEEPING SCORE ON THE SEASON

The Nationals currently pace the Major Leagues in run differential. MLB’s top 3: Washington (+139), Texas (+118) and New York (AL) (+106). The Nationals have allowed the fewest runs (556) in MLB.

SEPTEMBER NORM

Washington is 13-10 in September and remains MLB’s only team to have played winning baseball every month this year: August (19-10), July (17-9), June (15-10), May (15-13), April (14-8). Including a 17-10 mark in Sept. ’11, Washington has posted six straight winning months.

C-NOTE

Just two RBI shy of the century mark, Adam LaRoche looks to become just the third player to record a 100-RBI season in a Nationals uniform, joining Ryan Zimmerman (‘06, ‘09) and Adam Dunn (‘09-10)…the Nationals mark for RBI in a season was accomplished when Zimmerman drove home 110 as a rookie in 2006. Ryan Zimmerman needs just 6 to reach the 100-RBI plateau. After a slow start offensively, he has tallied 72 of his 94 RBI in his last 82 contests (beginning June 24).

- FOLLOW NATIONALS VS. PHILLIES LIVE -

All About the Matchups

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Whenever two good teams tangle for a series, the difference in the game often rides on the starting pitching matchups. Make no mistake – despite being eliminated from National League East contention last week and sitting on the brink of missing the postseason entirely, the Phillies are certainly a good team. Since bottoming out on July 13 at 37-51 following a 6-2 loss at Colorado, Philadelphia has gone 41-25. To put that in perspective, the Nationals are 43-27 over the same span, with the Braves coming in at 42-26 during that time. Arguably the biggest difference between the Phillies slightly above .500 campaign and the Nationals division leading season was Washington’s ability to weather early season injuries with its depth compared to Philadelphia’s inability to do the same.

The Nationals have 20-game winner and Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez looming in the series finale.

Behind Cole Hamels, the Phillies defeated the Nats 6-3 in the series opener on Tuesady night. While Ross Detwiler – who has pitched extremely well all season long, carrying a top 10 ERA in the National League into last night’s contest – shouldered the blame for the loss, Tuesday night’s game was arguably one the Phillies should have won. They had Hamels throwing, their best pitcher all season long, and perhaps their best overall at this point as he enters his prime and considering their other aces’ age. It was a matchup that, at least on paper, favored the home team.

Looking ahead at the series finale, the Nationals have Gio Gonzalez, their 20-game winner, ace and Cy Young candidate slated to pitch. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has yet to announce their starter, after pulling back Roy Halladay, who has struggled through an up-and-down season. Whomever they fill Halladay’s slot with will understandably be an underdog in a head-to-head matchup with Gonzalez. Which brings us to the swing game, tonight.

The Nationals will again turn to John Lannan in a big spot.

Now the series turns to John Lannan and Kyle Kendrick, two back-of-the-rotation starters in a nationally televised game (ESPN 2) that seems like a toss-up on paper. Kendrick has gone 1-1 in four appearances (three starts) against the Nationals this year. Meanwhile, Lannan faces off against the Phillies for the first time in 2012 after going just 2-4 against them overall in 2011, but winning two of the final three matchups, including his final victory of the year on September 21 at Citizens Bank Park.

Manager Davey Johnson prefers to throw left-handed starters, like Lannan, against the lefty heavy lineup that Philadelphia features. He reconstructed the rotation to start three consecutive southpaws for this series, knowing it might give him an edge. Hamels safely in the rear-view mirror, the focus is on what’s in front of the Nationals.

“We’ve just got to win tomorrow,” said Johnson Tuesday night. “It’s going to be a battle until the end.”

Up four games in the National League East with eight to play, a win would leave their Magic Number to clinch the division at no higher than four at night’s end. That’s how the Nationals have gotten where they are, winning the swing games of series, leading to overall series wins. It’s what has helped them go 30-11-8 in series play this season, including a 15-6-3 mark on the road.

Recently, the Nationals have traded wins and losses over their last eight games. They are hoping that trend continues for one more night to give them a chance at another series win on Thursday.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 541 other followers