September 2012

Standing Together

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The Nationals recently finished an 11-game homestand that saw the team go 8-3 as they continued their charge towards October baseball. Despite playing games every day during that stretch, Washington players and coaches made time in their busy schedules to continue to contribute behind the scenes to the D.C. community.

Storen, Clippard and Desmond visited with Nick Balenger over the last homestand.

Friday, August 31: Between his two-hit performances on August 30 and 31 in consecutive victories over the Cardinals, Ian Desmond joined teammates Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen along with Screech for a visit with patients of all ages at the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH). During the visit, the players participated in physical therapy exercises and activities with patients, playing catch with some of the adult patients – you could do worse than tossing a ball around with a trio of Major Leaguers for your rehab work. The crew also signed autographs and took pictures with patients, families and hospital staff.

“Obviously, any time we can go out and bring a little light into people’s lives, it’s our pleasure,” said Desmond after the visit.

One of the patients – Nick Balenger – stood out in particular. A local high school baseball player who recently suffered a tragic injury while on vacation, he is working his way back from partial paralysis to try to get back on the baseball field.  During the visit, the players delivered Balenger a personalized Nationals jersey signed by the entire team.

“He’s a Nationals fan and he lit up when we walked in there,” said Desmond of Balenger. “I guess he’s been following us pretty closely.”

Saturday, September 1: In between his victories on August 29 at Miami and September 3 at home over the Cubs, Ross Detwiler and the Nationals coaching staff took time to help out with the MedStar Youth Baseball Clinic. After Nationals coaches ran through drills with all those in attendance – including D.C. youth baseball teams, children of military families and guests of MedStar Health – Detwiler signed autographs for each and every participant on the Nationals Park concourse.

Ross Detwiler signs after the recent MedStar Clinic.

Friday, September 7: Three days after notching his second win of the homestand, Edwin Jackson hosted Edwin’s Entourage. For the second time in 2012, Jackson met with local children for well over an hour before the game. He hosted D.C. Dynasty, a non-profit organization that promotes the growth of youth baseball in the Washington D.C. community.

“The reason I’m here today is for you to get an up close and personal experience, to let you know that anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” Jackson told the group of youngsters as they chatted in the press conference room.

Jackson went around the room and had each attendee introduce themselves by their name and position on the diamond, then fielded questions about life, baseball and his own path to the Major Leagues, where he is just one victory away from his fourth straight double-digit win season.

Jackson shares a humorous moment with the D.C. Dynasty players.

The Ballad of John Lannan

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Perhaps the toughest personnel decision the Nationals faced all year long came well before the national spotlight shined upon their impressive run towards October baseball. Way back on March 31, after the Nationals finished their final exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox, manager Davey Johnson announced to the local press corps that the team had made the decision to keep hard-throwing lefty Ross Detwiler as the fifth starter in the rotation. With a top four that featured Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, that meant that John Lannan, the club’s Opening Day starter in both 2009 and 2010, was the odd man out. The man who led the team in wins the year prior would open the season at Triple-A Syracuse.

“It was definitely tough for him going down to Syracuse after being the Opening Day starter here two years in a row,” said Nationals outfielder Corey Brown, who played with Lannan much of the season with the Chiefs.

Amidst a trying season, Lannan delivered one of the Nationals biggest victories all year.

Lannan did not respond well at first to his new assignment. He gave up five runs in just two innings of work in his first start. While things slowly got better from there, he was still plagued by inconsistencies. But he put his head down and pushed forward, grinding through the long bus rides and small, sometimes rundown ballparks that are a way of life in the minors. When the Nationals faced a dire situation – needing an extra starter in a crucial July series against Atlanta – they called upon Lannan’s services for the first time. He watched the team build a 9-0 lead, only to let it slip away in an 11-10 series opening loss. The next day, the Nationals were shut out in the opening game of the doubleheader, cutting their division lead to a precarious 1.5 games. With the direction of their season at a crossroads, they handed the ball to Lannan.

He allowed a pair of first-inning runs, but shut the potent Braves lineup down the rest of the way, as the Nationals chipped away with single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to retake control of the game and the direction of their season. His work done, Lannan was shipped back to Syracuse after the game.

Two weeks later, the Nationals faced the same situation, needing the services of a sixth starter for a doubleheader, this time against the Marlins. Again Lannan allowed a first-inning run, then cruised as the Washington offense scored seven times in the first four frames behind him. For Lannan, it was a second crucial spot-start, a second win and a third option, back to Syracuse, to wait until September and the expansion of the rosters. But the pitcher who had gone a pedestrian 6-10 with a 5.24 ERA looked like a whole new player on the mound. He pitched to a 3-1 record with a 1.63 ERA in August, finishing his minor league season with consecutive shutouts before rejoining the big league club for September.

“He battled, he continued to pitch,” recalled Brown. “He had a rough little patch, but he finished well and that’s definitely going to help him leading up to today’s start.”

Tonight, Lannan takes center stage in his hometown of New York. While the national media may not get to enjoy their anticipated frenzy over Stephen Strasburg’s final start of the season, they will instead get an even better story, one of a man who has done as much to earn his place on the mound tonight as anyone in a Nationals uniform.

“It’s great to be able to come back and pitch in my hometown, where I grew up watching baseball,” said the Long Beach, NY native. “Just staying in the city, just being back in the city, it’s a good vibe.”

Humble and thankful, Lannan is eager to help the Nationals down the stretch.

Lannan could be bitter from his time spent back in the minors, but instead he seems calm and collected, happy to be back at the top of the game, pitching in the most important games of his professional career with a Nationals club that is competitive for the first time in its young history.

“It’s been great. I’ve battled with these guys the last four years,” Lannan says of his second chance. “They’re my teammates, they’re my friends.”

One of Lannan’s close friends and teammates, Ian Desmond, has been one of the most vocal in supporting him through a trying season. The two played together as they rose through the system as well as the last several years in the District.

“Any time you go through struggles, in life or in baseball, it makes you stronger,” said Desmond. “Once you go back to the Minor Leagues, you remember where you came from. When you get back up (to the majors), it brings that joy back to you, helps you overcome. It kind of puts everything in perspective. I know he’s already bounced back twice, and I hope he continues to come out, pitch to the best of his ability, and help us to the promised land.”

What to Watch For: 9/12

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Washington Nationals (88-54) vs. New York Mets (65-77)

LHP John Lannan (2-0, 3.46) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (3-4, 3.04)

The Nationals continued their winning ways Tuesday night, as Tyler Moore’s seventh-inning, pinch-hit, two-run home run turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead and an eventual 5-3 Washington victory. New York native John Lannan will make his first start since his September recall as the Nationals look for a three-game sweep of the Mets at Citi Field to open the road trip.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Bernadina LF

7. Suzuki C

8. Lombardozzi 2B

9. Lannan LHP

GREAT 8

With another RBI on Tuesday at Citi Field, Ryan Zimmerman has now plated at least one RBI in eight consecutive contests. That is the longest such streak posted by a Nationals player since the club landed in D.C. in 2005. Zimmerman is 21-for-65 (.323) with five home runs and 16 RBI during his 15-game hitting streak, which is tied with Kansas City’s Salvador Perez for the longest current streak in MLB.

LANNAN’S CANNON

John Lannan, a native of Long Beach, NY and a Chaminade High School graduate, will take on the Mets in his third start of the season for the Nationals. He is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in his two starts, with his last one coming August 3 in a 7-4 victory over the Miami Marlins. In his final two starts for Triple-A Syracuse, Lannan tossed complete-game shutouts August 25 at Gwinnett and August 30at Charlotte. Lannan has not pitched at Citi Field since earning the win there on April 10, 2010.

HARPER GETTING CLOSE TO THE HAMMER

After going 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI last night vs. New York, Bryce Harper now has 11 RBI against the Mets this season, the most by a rookie against the Mets since former National Josh Willingham posted 12 in 2006 as a member of the Florida Marlins.

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 12, 1962: At Memorial Stadium, 27 year-old Senator fireballer Tom Cheney sets a major league mark for K’s in a single game by striking out 21 batters in complete-game, 16-inning, 2-1 victory over the Orioles.

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What to Watch For: 9/11

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Washington Nationals (87-54) vs. New York Mets (65-76)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 2.99) vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (18-4, 2.64)

The Nationals won the opening game of the road trip, 5-1 over the Mets, for their 10th victory in their last 13 games. One of only four teams to have beaten R.A. Dickey this season, they will try to do so again tonight with Jordan Zimmermann on the hill.

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

STREAKS-A-PLENTY

With two more RBI on Monday at Citi Field, Ryan Zimmerman has now posted at least one RBI in seven consecutive contests. Since the club landed in D.C. in 2005, the only other National with an RBI streak to reach seven games was Cristian Guzman, July 24-Aug. 1, 2009. Zimmerman is also in the midst of a 14-game hitting streak, the longest hitting streak by a National this season and the longest active streak in the National League.

DESMOND SETS A NEW STANDARD

With his 22nd home run last night against New York, a two-run shot in the fourth inning off Collin McHugh, Ian Desmond established a new single-season high for home runs by a D.C.-based middle infielder, encompassing 79 years of modern baseball (1901-1971, 2005-present).

OH…YOU AGAIN?

Jordan Zimmermann faces off against his most frequent foe tonight, as he has made 10 career starts against the Mets. He is 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA (18 ER/55.0 IP) in those 10 starts. In his last outing, Zimmerman earned the win in Thursday’s 9-2 victory over the Cubs. He struck out nine in 7.0 IP, allowing two runs on five hits. The nine Ks were the most for J-Zimm since he struck out 11 on August 9 at Houston.

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 11, 1886 – At Washington’s Capitol Park, backstop Connie Mack makes his major league debut as the Nationals edge the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-3.

September 11, 2006 – Jose Vidro’s bases-loaded walk in the ninth plates the decisive run in a 7-6 victory at Arizona. The Nationals are out homered by the D-Backs, 4-0, but earn 10 walks to help offset the power differential. In the third inning, Alfonso Soriano becomes MLB’s first 40-homer, 30-stolen base, 20-outfield assist player by gunning down Orlando Hudson trying to stretch a single into a double. By season’s end, Soriano caps his lone season in a Nationals uniform with 46 long balls, 41 stolen bags and 22 outfield assists.

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A Day To Remember

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Baseball and the events of September 11th, 2001 are inexorably bound by history. The only sport that was active in its regular season with games scheduled the day of the attacks, the entire sport was brought to a standstill for a full week. The charters set to carry Major League clubs around the country for the final month of the regular season were grounded by the FAA, and the nation sat shocked, confused, and perhaps not yet ready to watch baseball. But like all aspects of daily life, the game returned, and the delay in schedule led to more memorable moments in the sport’s history, like the creation of Mr. November – a nickname that could only have come about with the adjusted schedule – and the most exciting World Series of a generation.

The ribbon boards displayed long before the gates opened at Citi Field.

Tonight, for the first time ever, the Nationals and Mets – the home teams of the two cities most directly affected by the national tragedy – will meet on the yearly observance of the events, at Citi Field in Flushing. Nationals Manager Davey Johnson spent the morning at Ground Zero, along with other athletes and dignitaries, helping raise money for Homes for Heroes, whose mission is to aid the military, police, firefighters and other first responders. Fittingly, the Nationals will wear their Patriotic Blue jerseys for the first time ever away from Nationals Park.

With the Citi Field ribbon board adorned with a “We Remember” banner around the ballpark, there will no doubt be a solemn feel to the crowd. However, in the streets of New York today, you wouldn’t have known it was different than any other day. Aside from the television and radio reports, tourists shopped and dined, locals commuted to and from work, and life marched on. And tonight, just as we did 11 years ago, we will pick up the bats and the balls and the gloves, and there will be baseball played all around the land. For many of us, the simple fact that this will be a normal Tuesday, one that will end with another edition of America’s pastime playing out in front of us, brings the most comforting sense of victory of all.

* * *

Before we look forward to tonight, here are a couple quick notes from Monday night’s series-opening win over the Mets. The Nationals took advantage of an early mistake, as just two pitches after Kurt Suzuki’s foul pop was dropped behind home plate in foul ground by Kelly Shoppach, he drilled a solo home run over the left-field wall to give Washington a lead it would never relinquish. The Nats played solid defense, Gio Gonzalez was slightly wild but still very effective, and the offense chipped in two more early home runs in a 5-1 finish.

Ryan Zimmerman and the offense are off to a powerful start to September.

Such seemingly easy victories can make losses like Sunday’s 8-0 shutout at the hands of Ricky Nolasco all the more frustrating, but sometimes those things happen in baseball. Certain pitchers own certain teams, just as certain batters own certain pitchers – it’s simply a part of the game. And the fact that the Nationals came right back from that lackluster performance to bury Collin McHugh with three homers in the game’s first four innings should be as reassuring as anything that Sunday’s game was the exception, not the norm. After all, the Nationals have now hit 27 home runs through their first 10 games of September, a full 11 more than the next closest team in the National League (Milwaukee, 16). Nats fans can also take comfort in the knowledge that Washington will not face Nolasco and the Marlins again until the 2013 season.

Tonight, R.A. Dickey will look to match Gonzalez’s 19 victories, matching up against Jordan Zimmermann. In a Mets season whose promise has gone by the wayside since the All-Star Break, Dickey’s stunning success in 2012 has given the New York fans something to cheer for down the stretch. He and Gonzalez are two of the front-runners for the National League Cy Young award, which will add some extra intrigue to how well the knuckleballer fares against the Nationals tonight, after Gonzalez handcuffed the Mets hitters on Monday.

What to Watch For: 9/10

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Washington Nationals (86-54) vs. New York Mets (65-75)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (18-7, 2.98) vs. RHP Collin McHugh (0-1, 3.27)

The Nationals finished their recent 11-game homestand 8-3 and begin a six-game road trip in New York against the Mets tonight. Southpaw Gio Gonzalez hopes to become the first pitcher in the majors to 19 wins this season as he opposes rookie Collin McHugh in the opener.

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

PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

Fresh off a season-long 11-game homestand, the Nationals rode the rails north to begin a three-game series tonight in their final visit of the season to Citi Field. During the 8-3 homestand, Washington outscored St. Louis (series win, 3-1), Chicago (series win, 4-0) and Miami (series loss, 1-2) by 30 runs (76-46) and out-homered their guests, 27-11. The Nationals also scored seven or more runs in a game eight times.

SEPTEMBERS TO REMEMBER

Gio Gonzalez toes the rubber tonight at Citi Field in the midst of a scoreless streak that has reached 16.0 consecutive innings over his last two starts. Gonzalez is 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA (10 ER/48.0 IP) in the month of September over the last two seasons (2011 and 2012).

NATS NOTES

The Nationals are 8-2 in one-run games against the Mets since the beginning of 2011. Washington has claimed two straight season series (2011 and ‘12) from New York after the Mets went 6-0-1 in the series from 2004-2010. Davey Johnson (595-417, .588) managed the Mets from 1984-90. Johnson remains the Mets winningest manager (in both wins and percentage) and he was inducted into the Mets Hall-of-Fame on August 1, 2010.

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 10, 1950: In an 8-1 victory over the Washington Senators, Yankee clipper Joe DiMaggio becomes the first major leaguer to hit three home runs in a game at Griffith Stadium.

September 10, 2009: Ian Desmond goes 2-for-4 with a double, homer and four RBI in his MLB debut, an 8-7 win vs. Philadelphia. Desmond, thus, became only the second player since 1920 (the first season RBI was regarded as an official statistic) to drive in at least four runs as a shortstop in an MLB debut. The first to turn the trick was, coincidentally, the Phillies Ted Kazanski, June 25, 1953 at Wrigley Field.

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Werth The Wait

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Threats of severe weather began circulating the Twittersphere around the top of the eighth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game, as Miami was adding a run to stretch their lead to 6-3 over the Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman, on his bobblehead day, drilled a two-run shot into the bullpen in the bottom of the frame to cut the margin to one, while reports of tornados in Northern Virginia began to spread. And shortly after Tyler Clippard shut the Marlins down in the top of the ninth to bring Washington up for a dramatic bottom of the ninth, the storm hit.

Wind blew dust and debris over the top of the upper deck down the third base line, as fans took shelter on the concourse. Then came the rain, which blew sideways, the air currents nearly strong enough to take the tarp (and a couple of grounds crew members) with it as it whipped through the lower bowl. Slowly, the storm dissipated and the rain died out, and after two-and-a-half hours, play resumed, with the top of the Nationals order due up against Marlins closer Heath Bell in a 6-5 game.

Jayson Werth, set to lead off, had been stalking around the clubhouse, rallying the team with the cry of, “Let’s get two!” to signify the runs needed to tie, then win, the ballgame. The Nationals got just 11 minutes of notice that the game was resuming, rather than the normal 20-30 in rain delay situations, with Werth getting the least amount of time to prepare. He fell behind 1-2, eventually fouling off three pitches as he worked Bell to a full count. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, he saw a fastball up and pummeled it to center field for game-tying home run, arguably his biggest hit since joining the Nationals last season.

The weather chased off most of the announced crowd of over 28,000, but the hearty souls that remained, probably less than a thousand in all, went nuts. In fact, they were living and dying on every pitch, chanting “Dreeewww” throughout the top of the 10th, when Drew Storen came on to strike out the side.

When Adam LaRoche led off the bottom of the 10th with a single, then raced around to third on Ian Desmond’s single, belly-flopping through the mud to bring the tying run to third with nobody out, they reached a fever pitch. After an intentional walk to Danny Espinosa and a force out at home against a five-man infield by Kurt Suzuki, recently-recalled Corey Brown stepped in with the bases loaded and one out, setting the stage for yet another set of late-inning heroics.

“I was just trying to get a ball to the outfield, hoping for a sacrifice fly,” Brown explained after the game.

Instead, his fly ball to left glanced off the mitt of a running Giancarlo Stanton for the game-winning single, as Desmond raced home and the Nationals walked off with a win nearly six hours after the first pitch of the game.

Ultimately, the game reiterated for each of us the mantra that has existed at Nationals Park since the home opener, when Zimmerman scampered home on a wild pitch in the 10th inning for a walk-off win: Don’t ever leave early, you never know what might happen.

What to Watch For: 9/9

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Miami Marlins (62-78) vs. Washington Nationals (86-53)

RHP Ricky Nolasco (11-12, 4.64) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (9-9, 3.63)

After a two-and-a-half hour rain delay stalled the game with Washington trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth, Jayson Werth homered in the ninth to tie the game, then Corey Brown won it in the 10th on a bases-loaded, RBI-single. The Nationals look to birthday boy Edwin Jackson (29) as they go for the series win over the Marlins and their ninth win of the 11-game homestand.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Lombardozzi 2B

2. Harper CF

3. Werth RF

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Tracy 3B

7. Espinosa SS

8. Suzuki C

9. Jackson RHP

HOMER, SWEET HOMER

With four home runs in yesterday’s 7-6, rain-delayed, extra-inning, come-from-behind victory the Nationals set a few notable marks. Werth’s game-tying blast in the ninth inning was the 165th home run of the season for Washington, the most a team has hit since baseball returned to D.C. in 2005. The previous high was 164 by the 2006 squad. In addition, the Elias Sports Bureau notes that the Nationals four home runs yesterday gives them 20 in their last five games. They’re the first team with 20 homers over five games since the Braves did it in July of 2006.

JACKSON GOES FOR 10 AND 5

Edwin Jackson take to the hill this afternoon against the Miami Marlins looking for his 10th win of the season, which would mark his fifth consecutive double-digit win campaign.

WE’RE GOING STREAKING

Ryan Zimmerman (13) and Danny Espinosa (10) have each built double-digit hitting streaks. Zimmerman is hitting .333 (19-for-57) with three doubles, a triple, four homers, 13 RBI, four walks and 10 runs scored during his streak. Espinosa is 15-for-40 (.375) with four doubles, two homers, six RBI, and seven runs scored over his stretch.

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AdaMVP

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The Nationals offense has done so much damage as a unit lately that individual performances have been largely assimilated into the mass of gaudy numbers. Washington bombed 15 home runs in outscoring the Cubs 31-9 over a four-game sweep and the Nats are averaging 8.8 runs per game through the first eight games of their current homestand. But one player in particular is posting even more absurd stats, laying legitimate claim to the nickname we gave him early this year: AdaMVP.

We began using the moniker back in early May, as Adam LaRoche carried a depleted Nationals offense through the early part of the season. His numbers eased back to earth as the rest of the lineup returned, piece by piece, to pick up the slack. But as the calendar has flipped to September, with a full complement of support around him, LaRoche has caught fire once again.

Adam LaRoche has slugged his way into the NL MVP discussion.

The veteran slugger has been impossibly hot through his first six games of the month, posting a line of .524/.583/1.381 (yes, a 1.381 slugging percentage) with six home runs, seven runs scored and 11 RBI. He homered in all four games against the Cubs, against whom he went deep a total of seven times in the seven games the two teams played against one another this season.

If that wasn’t mind-boggling enough, consider this: LaRoche is just the sixth player in Major League history to homer in all four games of a series, including at least one multi-homer performance. The other five guys? Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Hank Greenberg, Babe Ruth and Mike Schmidt. For those readers less well-versed in the annals of baseball history, yes, all five of those player are Hall-of-Famers.

The first baseman figures to be a lock for National League Comeback Player of the Year, but the quality of his season seems deserving of more than just that honor. He leads all National League first basemen in hits (130), home runs (29), RBI (92) and slugging percentage (.511) and needs just four more longballs and nine more RBI to set new career marks.

It is no surprise that LaRoche continues to thrive late in the year, as he has traditionally posted his best numbers after the All-Star break. He has gone deep 14 times in 53 games since the break, after hitting 15 longballs in 73 first-half contests. If he (and the Nationals) continues at this pace, the strongest offensive force for the team with the best record in baseball, he will warrant legitimate consideration as the Most Valuable Player in the National League.

What to Watch For: 9/7

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Miami Marlins (61-77) vs. Washington Nationals (85-52)

RHP Jacob Turner (1-3, 7.33) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (15-6, 2.94)

Washington’s offensive barrage continued, as the Nationals completed a four-game sweep of the Cubs with a 9-2 victory, their fifth win in a row and their eight in the last nine games. Stephen Strasburg makes his final scheduled home start of the season as Washington opens a three-game set with the Marlins to conclude an 11-game homestand.

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. Strasburg RHP

ADAM BOMBS

While homering in a career-best four consecutive games, Adam LaRoche became just the sixth player in MLB history to homer in every game of a four-game series, including at least one multi-homer effort, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. LaRoche joins the following Hall-of-Famers in accomplishing the feat: Johnny Bench, Lou Gehrig, Hank Greenberg, Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt.

STRAS

Stephen Strasburg faces his most frequent opponent tonight, the Miami Marlins. He is 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA in eight career starts against the Fish. By game’s end, he will have faced Miami nine times in 45 career starts (20%). In addition, he has worked 6.0 scoreless innings in five of eight career starts against the Marlins and has more wins (four) over Miami than any opponent.

FISH FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ryan Zimmerman’s 16 career homers against the Marlins are tied with Atlanta for the most he’s hit against another club. The Nationals won their final two series at Sun Life Stadium, but went 0-2-1 in first three visits to Marlins Park. Via a 10-8 mark in ‘07, the Nationals/Expos franchise has won only one season series from the Marlins since ‘98. With a 3-1 win on September 28, 2011, Stephen Strasburg (win) and the Nationals helped end Florida’s tenure at Sun Life Stadium. Roger Bernadina recorded the final hit and RBI in the venue’s 19-year MLB history.

DATE IN D.C. BASEBALL

September 7, 1907 – Walter Johnson pitches the first of 110 career shutouts, blanking the host Boston Americans, 1-0, at Huntington Ave. Baseball Grounds.

September 7, 2007 – Less than three months after being selected sixth overall in the First-Year Player Draft, out of Missouri State, Ross Detwiler makes his MLB debut at ATL and becomes the first member of the 2007 draft class to appear in a big league contest. Detwiler struck out one (Willie Harris) in 1.0 scoreless inning, but Atlanta won the game, 7-1.

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