July 2014

Nationals Game Notes — July 31 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Game No. 106: Washington Nationals (58-47) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (47-61) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.56 ERA) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (4-5, 3.78)
Neither Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (Reading, ‘06) or Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cliff Lee (drafted by MON) ever pitched for their opponents tonight, despite once being members of their minor-league systems.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN2
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • Denard Span has reached base safely via a hit or walk in 25 straight games, dating to June 28. He’s gone 35-for-97 (.361) with four doubles, two RBI, 18 walks, 20 runs scored and seven stolen bases in that stretch. His 25-game on-base percentage: .461. Span has also reached base safely in the first inning 14 times in 23 July contests with one double, eight singles and five walks.

Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (58-47)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 2B
28 Jayson Werth RF
40 Wilson Ramos  C
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
20 Ian Desmond SS
19 Kevin Frandsen 1B
8 Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
47 Gio Gonzalez LHP

PHILLIES (47-61)

2 Ben Revere (L) CF
11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
3 Marlon Byrd RF
51 Carlos Ruiz C
24 Grady Sizemore (L) LF
18 Darin Ruf 1B
4 Andres Blanco (S) 3B
33 Cliff Lee (L) LHP

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Nationals acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from Indians in exchange for Zach Walters

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by Amanda Comak

In a move that bolsters their infield defense and gives manager Matt Williams an additional lineup option, the Washington Nationals acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and cash considerations from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for infielder Zach Walters on Thursday afternoon.

Cabrera, a veteran shortstop who has started 149 games at second base, is a career .270 hitter (933-for-3460) with 211 doubles, 82 home runs, 290 walks and a .331 career on-base percentage in 914 games, spent exclusively with the Indians.

A two-time All-Star, Cabrera, 28, represented the Indians in the 2011 and 2012 Mid-Summer Classics. His initial All-Star selection came in his finest offensive season, when he hit .273 and established career highs with 25 home runs, 60 extra-base hits and 92 RBI to garner a 2011 AL Silver Slugger award. His on-field contributions have twice helped the Indians qualify for the playoffs (2007, 2013).

A switch-hitter, Cabrera’s numbers are fairly even against both left and right-handed pitching. Although Cabrera’s hit more than three times as many home runs against right-handed pitching (62 to 20), he owns a higher career OPS against left-handers (.753 vs. left, .737 vs. right).

Cabrera has hit 11 home runs in 73 career games in against National League teams.

Cabrera was batting .246 with 33 extra-base hits, including 22 doubles, at the time of the trade. With nine homers, he is just one home run shy of registering his fourth consecutive double-digit homer campaign.

Walters, 24, has hit .234 with three home runs and six RBI in 40 Major League games over the last two seasons. Also a switch hitter, Walters was originally acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in another deadline deal, coming to the Nationals on July 30, 2011 in exchange for right-hander Jason Marquis.

Frank Thomas becomes first Hall of Fame player signed by Mike Rizzo

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by Amanda Comak

For nearly 20 minutes on a spectacular Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, NY, Frank Thomas stood in front of thousands of fans, friends, family, and those he could now call his contemporaries: fellow Hall of Famers. For nearly 20 minutes, the man the baseball world came to know as ‘The Big Hurt,’ delivered an emotional, touching speech.

Seven minutes into that speech — one littered with the thanks he had for those who’d helped him on his way to becoming one of the most feared right-handed hitters of a generation — Thomas uttered the name of Washington Nationals President of Baseball Operations and GM, Mike Rizzo.

“I would like to thank the Chicago White Sox organization for drafting me into professional baseball,” Thomas said. “Special thanks to Jerry Reinsdorf, Eddie Einhorn, Larry Himes, Al Goldis, (Howard) Pizer and Mike Rizzo, for taking a chance on a kid from a small town with many big dreams.”

Sunday was an exceptional day for Frank Thomas, along with the rest of the 2014 Hall of Fame class. But it was an exceptional day for so many others, too, who’d had a hand in helping to get those transcendent talents to this point. When it comes to Thomas, count Rizzo among that group.

“It’s a very proud day for me,” Rizzo said Sunday morning on MASN. “He’s a player who is very near and dear to my heart. He was the first big leaguer that I ever signed, and obviously the first Hall of Famer I ever signed. I’m just so happy for him. He was a guy a lot of people doubted when he was coming up and Frank played with a little chip on his shoulder. I think that drove him to be the player he (became) — and what a special player.

“In my opinion he’s one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time, and certainly the greatest right-handed hitter I ever signed.”

The moment the White Sox selected Thomas with the No. 7 overall pick in the 1989 draft was obviously a seminal one for the organization, as well as Thomas. But it served as one for Rizzo, too.

Rizzo was a young area scout then, and White Sox GM and Scouting Director, Himes and Goldis, respectively, put their faith in Rizzo’s scouting abilities by trusting his recommendation and taking Thomas. It wasn’t without pushback from other scouts, who wondered about Thomas’ speed and defensive abilities. But Rizzo was clear: This guy can hit. He will hit.

“The debate was ‘Do you take a first baseman with the seventh overall pick in the draft?'” Rizzo recalled. “Any scout will tell you the toughest thing to scout when you’re in the amateur game of scouting is the hit tool. Everyone can see velocity. There’s a radar gun for that. You know when a guy can run fast because there’s a stopwatch for that. There’s no instrument to judge if the guy can hit or not. It’s something that’s really in the eye of the beholder — and when you’re taking a first baseman as big as Frank, who doesn’t possess great defensive skills and speed, but a guy who’s going to have to hit for a living, it’s much more difficult.

“But Larry Himes and Al Goldis both had some hitting background and expertise and to sell them on a guy we should take seventh and if he doesn’t hit he doesn’t play, it was challenging. It was something I was really hell-bent on (though) because I really did think he was an impact bat. And at the end of the day they trusted my judgment.”

Himes and Goldis also afforded Rizzo the opportunity to negotiate Thomas’ contract — and that was perhaps the first step on Rizzo’s path to becoming a Major League GM, and now President of the Nationals’ Baseball Operations.

Rizzo signed Thomas for $175,000 — less than the amount Himes and Goldis had given him as a maximum to work with.

Twenty-five years later, on an idyllic Sunday in upstate New York, Thomas became a Hall of Famer. And Rizzo could take a lot of pride in that.

Nationals recall Zach Walters, place Ryan Zimmerman on 15-day DL

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by Amanda Comak

Milwaukee Brewers v Washington NationalsThe Nationals placed Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-Day Disabled List on Wednesday afternoon with a right hamstring strain, and recalled infielder Zach Walters from Triple-A Syracuse.

Walters, 24, rejoins the Nationals for his second Major League stint of the season. In 60 games at Triple-A this season, Walters is hitting .300 with a .358 on-base percentage and a .608 slugging percentage. While racking up 38 extra-base hits, Walters has clubbed 15 home runs and collected 48 RBI.

In his last 10 games with Syracuse, Walters has hit .475 with a .523 on-base percentage and a .608 slugging percentage.

From April 13 – May 24, Walters appeared in 27 Major League games (two starts) and hit .182 (6-for-33) with all three of his home runs coming off the bench.

Zimmerman, 29, hits the DL for the second time this season after missing 44 games with a right thumb fracture earlier in the year. The Nationals’ third baseman/left fielder is hitting .282 on the season with five home runs, 19 doubles and 36 RBI.

In the month of July, Zimmerman has collected 21 hits in 58 at-bats (.362 AVG), posted a .418 on-base percentage and a .569 slugging percentage, courtesy of eight extra-base hits (six doubles, two home runs).

When Zimmerman has been in the Nationals’ starting lineup this season, they are 33-19 and average 4.9 runs per game. In the 46 games they have played without him, the Nationals averaged 3.5 runs per game and went 22-24.

Nationals Game Notes — July 20 vs. Milwaukee Brewers

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Game No. 96: Washington Nationals (52-43) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (54-44) | 1:35 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 3.56 ERA) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.68)
Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez is 4-0 with a 0.32 ERA (1 ER/28.0 IP) in four starts this season against National League Central foes.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN and WUSA9
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • Gio Gonzalez enters his start today with 995 career strikeouts (511 as an Athletic, 484 as a National). Only seven pitchers have pitched for the Nationals (2005 – pres.) and amassed 1,000+ strikeouts during their careers: Pedro Astacio, Miguel Batista, Dan Haren, Livan Hernandez, Edwin Jackson, Esteban Loaiza and Jason Marquis.

Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (52-43)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 2B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
11 Ryan Zimmerman 3B
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
20 Ian Desmond SS
59 Jose Lobaton (S) C
47 Gio Gonzalez LHP

BREWERS (54-44)

27 Carlos Gomez CF
23 Rickie Weeks 2B
8 Ryan Braun RF
16 Aramis Ramirez 3B
20 Jonathan Lucroy C
18 Khris Davis LF
7 Mark Reynolds 1B
9 Jean Segura SS
49 Yovani Gallardo RHP

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Nationals visit DC Public Libraries

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The Washington Nationals are honored to sponsor the DC Public Library’s Summer Reading program. And as part of that sponsorship, Denard Span, Drew Storen, Scott Hairston and Matt Williams were at local libraries on Saturday morning to read to kids.

The Nationals are honored to be a part of this program, and Span, Storen, Hairston and Williams were thrilled to participate. Here are a few photos from the events:

Nationals Game Notes — July 19 vs. Milwaukee Brewers

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Game No. 95: Washington Nationals (51-43) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (54-43) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Tanner Roark (8-6, 3.01 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Garza (6-6, 3.69)
Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark has never faced the Brewers but is 6-5 with a 2.34 ERA (23 ER/88.1 IP) when facing any team for the first time in a starting role (14 career starts).
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN and WUSA9
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • The Nationals’ 3.09 staff ERA leads Major League Baseball (Oakland is second) and Nationals pitchers rank among MLB’s top two in the following categories: fielding-independent pitching (first, 3.20), fewest earned runs allowed (first, 293), walks/9.0 inn. (first, 2.40), fewest walks (first, 228), SO/BB ratio (2nd, 3.34/1), homers allowed (2nd, 63), homers allowed/9.0 inn. (2nd, 0.66), stolen bases against (2nd, 30).

Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (51-43)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 2B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
11 Ryan Zimmerman 3B
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
20 Ian Desmond SS
40 Wilson Ramos C
57 Tanner Roark RHP

BREWERS (53-43)

27 Carlos Gomez CF
2 Scooter Gennett (L) 2B
8 Ryan Braun RF
16 Aramis Ramirez 3B
20 Jonathan Lucroy C
18 Khris Davis LF
24 Lyle Overbay (L) 1B
9 Jean Segura SS
22 Matt Garza RHP

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Nationals Game Notes — July 18 vs. Milwaukee Brewers

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Game No. 94: Washington Nationals (51-42) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (53-43) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Stephen Strasburg (7-6, 3.46 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (9-4, 3.26)
Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg has earned at least one win at the expense of 12 of the National League’s other 14 teams. Exceptions: Milwaukee/2 starts, St. Louis/4 starts)
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • Dating to May 30, the Nationals are 9-2-2 (win-loss-tie) in series play, and 26-15 (.634)overall. Three of their nine series wins in that span were sweeps (3-0 vs. Philadelphia, 2-0 vs. Houston, 3-0 vs. Colorado). (The Nationals’ home-and-home set with the Orioles is considered one series for this note.)

Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (51-42)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 2B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
11 Ryan Zimmerman 3B
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
20 Ian Desmond SS
40 Wilson Ramos C
37 Stephen Strasburg RHP

Brewers (53-43)

27 Carlos Gomez CF
2 Scooter Gennett (L) 2B
8 Ryan Braun RF
16 Aramis Ramirez 3B
20 Jonathan Lucroy C
18 Khris Davis LF
7 Mark Reynolds 1B
9 Jean Segura SS
26 Kyle Lohse RHP

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Nationals agree to terms with RHP Erick Fedde

Twitter: @Nationals | Facebook: Nationals | Instagram: @Nationals

by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Erick Fedde on Friday afternoon, the No. 18 overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

Fedde, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound junior out of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, is regarded as one of the top collegiate arms in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and is coming off a season in which he went 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA (15 ER/76.2 IP) and 82 strikeouts in 11 starts for the Rebels.

The 21-year-old was named the 2014 Mountain West Pitcher of the Year and to the All-Mountain West First Team after going 6-1 with league-leading 1.60 ERA (10 ER/56.1 IP) in eight starts in conference play. He was also named a Louisville Slugger Second-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and to the midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list.

Fedde entered the 2014 season rated as the No. 12 pitching prospect and the No. 17 overall prospect in collegiate baseball, according to Baseball America.

As a sophomore, in 2013, Fedde went 7-3 with a 3.92 ERA (42 ER/96.1 IP) in 15 starts. He led the UNLV staff and ranked fourth in the Mountain West with 83 strikeouts, and was named to the Spring Academic All-Mountain West team. Following the season, he was 3-1 with a 2.34 ERA for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League. He left the league after tossing a league-best 30.2 innings and recording 26 strikeouts, third-most in the league. Fedde joined the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team later in the summer.

The right-hander, who underwent “Tommy John” ligament replacement surgery on June 3, 2014, will report to Viera, Fla., to continue this rehab under the Nationals’ care.

Fedde is a graduate of Las Vegas High School where played alongside Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. He was also an all-state soccer player and helped lead LVHS to a soccer state championship in 2009. He was originally selected by the San Diego Padres in the 24th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, but he did not sign.

UPDATED – Social Fan Event No. 3: #InstaNats Photo Hunt

Twitter: @Nationals | Facebook: Nationals | Instagram: @Nationals

By Kyle Mann

We are thrilled that our third Social Fan Event of the season is nearly upon us, adding to the already palpable excitement of the day: Brewers-Nationals offers a match-up of two first-half first place teams, and Austin Mahone takes the NatsLive stage after the game for a FREE concert. We couldn’t think of a better backdrop to offer our most loyal Instagram fans some unique photography challenges and Nationals-related prizes and experiences!

If you’ve been to one of our previous Social Fan Events, you know we go all out on the prizes, so be on the lookout for batting practice passes and an opportunity to join the Nationals players on the field as part of the Starting 9!

Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, so be sure to stop by our table at Section 105 as soon as you arrive to give yourself the first crack at the best prizes. If you haven’t already, you can buy tickets that include $6 added value for use throughout the park here.

Throughout the game, you’ll be tasked with completing an #InstaNats Photo Hunt of creative Nationals and Austin Mahone-themed pictures for the opportunity to win even more great prizes. Here’s how it works:

  • You’ll receive your photo assignment shot sheet, comprised of five different “themes,” when you check in at our table at Section 105. We’ll also update this post with the shot sheet shortly before gates open on Saturday.
  • Explore the ballpark and snap your most creative pictures that match each theme.
  • Post your photos on Instagram and be sure to use the specific hashtag for each theme (you’ll find that on the shot sheet), #InstaNats and tag @nationals.
  • OFFICIAL RULES>>

 IMPORTANT: You must include #InstaNats, the specific theme hashtag AND @nationals in your post for it to be eligible.

At the end of the night, we will pick three finalists from those fans who post photos for all five themes (and use the proper hashtags and tag @nationals). All three winners will win experience prize packages at our fourth Social Fan Event on September 8, including the opportunity to deliver the Lineup Card, shout “Play Ball”, or watch batting practice from the field.

Remember, you must post all five photos and include #InstaNats, the specific theme hashtag and @nationals with each photo to be eligible for selection as one of the three finalists. 

Starting Monday, July 21, we’ll announce the three finalists’ and post their photo galleries at nationals.com, where all fans will have 48 hours to vote for their favorite. We’ll announce the winners as determined by the fan vote on Wednesday, July 23.

As always, keep your eye on the NatsHD scoreboard throughout the night where your #InstaNats photos may also appear.

To get your creative juices flowing, we’re proud to unveil the #MyNLEast Instagram video YOU helped produce back in June during the Braves series. Enjoy, and we can’t wait to see you and your best photos on Saturday!

UPDATED – Saturday, 7/19 at 4:15 pm

As promised, here is the official shot sheet for tonight’s #InstaNats Photo Hunt. Don’t forget to tag each of your photos with its specific hashtag (listed below) as well as @nationals and #InstaNats.

1. Our Racing Presidents have been known to wander around Nationals Park. Tag your picture with #RacingPresContest with your favorite one!

2. There are a lot of Curly Ws around Nationals Park. Show us your coolest Curly W shot and tag it with #CurlyWContest.

3. Today’s NatsLive FREE Postgame Concert performer @AustinMahone’s favorite dessert is ice cream. Here at Nationals Park, we have many delicious desserts. Post your best picture with your favorite dessert and tag it with #IceCreamContest.

4. This is your chance to be really creative. Post your coolest and most exciting pic from the ballpark tonight and tag it with #FansChoiceContest.

5. Post your best picture from @AustinMahone’s NatsLive free postgame concert and tag it with #NatsLiveContest.

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