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Adam LaRoche, Denard Span named Rawlings Gold Glove finalists

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by Amanda Comak

The finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced Thursday afternoon by Rawlings Sports, and for the third consecutive year the Washington Nationals have two players among the honorees.

First baseman Adam LaRoche and center fielder Denard Span were named as finalists at their respective positions, but they’ll have to wait until Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. ET, to find out if either will take home the prize.

LaRoche, who won his first Gold Glove following the 2012 season, faces stiff competition in his quest for a second trophy: Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau.

While LaRoche continued to make many of the outstanding plays that have come to be expected from him over the years, where he shines perhaps even more is in making the fielders around him better. LaRoche’s consistency makes it easier for the fielders he works with everyday to excel. That was evident each day he was in the lineup for the Nationals this past season.

Span, a finalist for a Gold Glove in 2013 and certainly considered by his teammates as one of the finest defensive center fielders in the Major Leagues, is also joined by elite company. He’ll be up against New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares and Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton for the 2014 honors.

An exceptional fielder, Span continued to make the extraordinary play seem routine this season, giving Nationals fans something to look forward to each night he patrolled center field.

Each manager and up to six coaches on each staff voted from a pool of qualified players in their league, and cannot vote for players on their own team. As in 2013, Rawlings also included a sabermetric component to the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process, as part of its recent collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

The SABR Defensive Index accounted for approximately 25 percent of the overall selection total, with the managers and coaches’ vote continuing to carry the majority.

The winners of the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards will be announced Tuesday night, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 in a special one-hour Baseball Tonight.

Nationals announce 2014 NLDS Roster

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals announced their 25-man roster for the 2014 National League Division Series on Friday morning, in advance of their 3:07 p.m. game vs. the San Francisco Giants.

The Nationals’ roster will be comprised of 12 pitchers (three left-handed, nine right-handed) and 13 position players (two catchers, seven infielders, four outfielders).

Here is the Nationals’ full roster:

Pitchers

LHP Jerry Blevins
LHP Gio Gonzalez
LHP Matt Thornton

RHP Aaron Barrett
RHP Tyler Clippard
RHP Doug Fister
RHP Tanner Roark
RHP Rafael Soriano
RHP Craig Stammen
RHP Drew Storen
RHP Stephen Strasburg
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

Catchers

C Jose Lobaton
C Wilson Ramos

Infielders

INF Asdrubal Cabrera (S)
SS Ian Desmond
INF Danny Espinosa (S)
INF Kevin Frandsen
1B Adam LaRoche (L)
INF Anthony Rendon
INF Ryan Zimmerman

Outfielders

OF Bryce Harper (L)
OF Nate Schierholtz (L)
OF Denard Span (L)
OF Jayson Werth

Jordan Zimmermann named NL Player of the Week

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by Amanda Comak

Washington NationalsOne day after throwing the first no-hitter in Washington Nationals history, right-hander Jordan Zimmermann was named the National League Player of the Week. Major League Baseball made the announcement this afternoon on MLB Network.

Zimmermann allowed one walk and struck out 10 Miami Marlins in a masterful performance to close the regular season with the first no-hitter thrown by a D.C. pitcher since Bobby Burke on Aug. 8, 1931.

In earning his second NL Player of the Week honors, Zimmermann allowed only five balls to leave the infield all afternoon and threw only 25 total balls to Marlins batters. He faced 28 batters, threw 23 first-pitch strikes and needed only 104 pitches to complete the historic achievement.

In the eighth complete game and fourth shutout of his career, Zimmermann almost certainly turned in the best pitching performance in Nationals history.

According to the Bill James Game Score, one metric for measuring dominant pitching performances, Zimmermann’s outing ranked as the best in Nationals (2005-present) history with a score of 96 – besting the 95 score earned in his shutout over the San Diego Padres earlier this season.

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This is the fourth NL Player of the Week honor earned by a Nationals player this season – including Zimmermann for the first week of June.  First baseman Adam LaRoche and OF Jayson Werth also took home the award this season.

Prior to 2014, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (periods ending July 22, 2012; June 13, 2010; August 21, 2011; August 5, 2007), right-hander Stephen Strasburg (June 13, 2010), outfielder Josh Willingham (Aug. 2, 2009), shortstop Cristian Guzman (Aug. 31, 2008), utility man Willie Harris (July 20, 2007) and first baseman Nick Johnson (June 6, 2005) earned NL Player of the Week hardware.

Nationals Game Notes — Sept. 23 vs. New York Mets

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Game No. 156: Washington Nationals (91-64) vs. New York Mets (76-80) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Tanner Roark (14-10, 2.85 ERA) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (14-12, 4.02)
Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark is 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA in four career starts against the Mets, and worked 3.1 innings of one-run relief in his lone bullpen appearance on Aug. 31, 2013.
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:

  • The Nationals currently own the National League’s top record and pace the NL East by a season-high 15.5 games over the Atlanta Braves. In the race for the NL’s top record, two clubs are within striking distance of the Nationals (91-64, .587): the Dodgers (-3.0) & Cardinals (-4.0). The Nationals’ magic number to clinch home field advantage through the NLDS & NLCS is three entering play on Tuesday night.

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

NATIONALS (91-64)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
3 Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
20 Ian Desmond SS
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
40 Wilson Ramos C
19 Kevin Frandsen 3B
57 Tanner Roark RHP

METS (76-80)

6 Matt den Dekker (L) RF
28 Daniel Murphy (L) 3B
15 Travis d’Arnaud C
21 Lucas Duda (L) 1B
4 Wilmer Flores 2B
3 Curtis Granderson (L)
9 Kirk Nieuwenhuis (L) CF
11 Ruben Tejada SS
40 Bartolo Colon RHP

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

Nationals reinstate Ryan Zimmerman

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by Amanda Comak

With the National League East Championship celebration in their rearview, and the promise of the postseason still ahead, the Washington Nationals became whole again on Saturday as they reinstated Ryan Zimmerman from the 15-Day Disabled List and returned him to their active roster.

Zimmerman, 29, rejoins the Nationals after missing 55 games with a right hamstring strain, suffered July 22 at Colorado.

And while the Nationals have done well to fill his void in the interim, Zimmerman’s return helps deepen their already dangerous lineup as they turn their focus toward the playoffs.

In 53 games this season, Zimmerman has hit .282 with a .345 on-base percentage and a .456 slugging percentage. While spending time at third base, first base and in left field, the Nationals’ veteran has clubbed 24 extra-base hits (five home runs) and driven in 36 runs.

This was the second Disabled List stint of the season for Zimmerman. After returning from a fractured right thumb on June 3, Zimmerman started 43 games for the Nationals, including a scorching hot month of July in which he hit .362 with a .418 on-base percentage and a .569 slugging percentage before his hamstring injury.

Zimmerman’s return gives the Nationals 35 players on their active roster, and Nationals manager Matt Williams said he expects Zimmerman to play all three positions in the season’s final eight games in preparation for the postseason.

Nationals featured on #MissionOctober Monday night

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by Amanda Comak

While the Washington Nationals open a three-game set in Atlanta on Monday night, Nationals fans would be wise to set their DVRs for Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. to ensure they don’t miss the Nationals episode of “Mission October.”

As part of the weekly all-access series put together by MLB Productions, Mission October crews joined the Nationals for their four-game series in New York this past weekend. With the Nationals’ Magic Number shrinking to four by the time they boarded their flight for Atlanta on Sunday night, the show will give fans an inside look at a pivotal series in their march toward the Posteason.

“‘Mission October’ takes an inside-access look at a different potential playoff team every weekend in September, and we’re very excited to spotlight the Nationals this week,” said on-field producer Jason Katz. “We had a great time filming with the Nats.

“The show will feature a very fun in game wire on Denard Span, an off-the-field element and in-game wire with Bryce Harper, Matt Williams and some of his coaches on their daily run, and much more.

Nationals fans won’t want to miss it.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos from the filming:

 

 

 

Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche named co-NL Player of the Week

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by Amanda Comak

Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was named the co-National League Player of the Week on Monday, sharing the honor with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. Major League Baseball made the announcement Monday afternoon on MLB Network.

LaRoche, 34, opened the month of September on a powerful tear at the plate as he helped guide the Nationals to two pivotal victories over the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.

In earning his first NL Player of the Week honors, LaRoche hit .333 (5-for-15) with a .421 on-base percentage, and a 1.133 slugging percentage. Over the course of five games (four starts), four of LaRoche’s five total hits were home runs. He drove in 10 runs, walked three times (one intentional) and was also hit by a pitch.

Wednesday, after being relegated to the Nationals’ bench with a tight back and flu-like symptoms, LaRoche clubbed a game-tying, two-run, pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium to give the Nationals new life. In a wild back-and-forth contest that would last 14 innings, LaRoche drove in five runs – becoming just the second player in the expansion era (since 1961) to enter a game in the ninth inning or later and drive in at least five runs. Harold Baines accomplished the feat on May 4, 1999 for the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Chicago White Sox.

In addition to his game-saving home run, LaRoche gave the Nationals the lead in the top of the 12th with a two-run single to left, and helped break a tie again in the 14th when he beat out a double play to allow Ian Desmond to score what would stand up as the game winning run.

LaRoche followed that performance up by staking the Nationals to an early lead on Friday, hitting his 21st home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning, and kept slugging through the weekend. On Sunday, facing Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, LaRoche homered in his first two at-bats, tying the game both times, for the 24th multi-homer game of his career and his second this season.

LaRoche is the 11th Nationals player to earn NL Player of the Week honors, joining RHP Jordan Zimmermann and OF Jayson Werth from this year’s club.

Prior to 2014, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (periods ending July 22, 2012; June 13, 2010; August 21, 2011; August 5, 2007), right-hander Stephen Strasburg (June 13, 2010), outfielder Josh Willingham (Aug. 2, 2009), shortstop Cristian Guzman (Aug. 31, 2008), utility man Willie Harris (July 20, 2007) and first baseman Nick Johnson (June 6, 2005) earned NL Player of the Week hardware.

Nationals announce 2015 schedule

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While the Washington Nationals’ 2014 season is headed for an exciting finish, the Nationals gave fans their first look at the 2015 slate on Monday with the release of next season’s schedule.

San Francisco Giants v Washington NationalsThe Nationals’ 81-game home schedule kicks off with Washington’s 82nd home opener since 1901 on Monday, April 6 vs. the New York Mets and is highlighted by 13 weekend series against, among others, the Phillies (three times), Braves (two times), Cubs, Pirates, Giants, Dodgers and Brewers.

Washington’s 2015 regular season both begins (see above) and concludes (Sunday, October 4 at Citi Field) against the NL East-rival Mets. The Nationals open 2015 by playing an NL East rival in 26 of their initial 32 contests, through May 10, before capping the year with 26 of its final 29 regular-season games against intra-divisional foes, September 3 – October 4.

While 29 of next season’s initial 50 contests will be played on the road, Nationals fans can experience the thrill of pennant-race baseball in the nation’s capital for themselves from August 21 – September 27, when Washington will host 26 games in 38 days within the friendly confines of Nationals Park.

The annual Battle of the Beltways Series between the Nationals and Orioles continues for a tenth consecutive season with both clubs hosting a three-game set. The Nationals welcome the Orioles to D.C. for three games, Sept. 21-23, in the latest Interleague series in the Nationals’ 11 seasons.

The Nationals will also square off with the American League East for 20 Interleague contests in 2015. Washington’s home interleague slate includes visits from the Yankees (two games, May 19-20), the Blue Jays (three games, June 1-3), the Rays (two games, June 17-18) and the aforementioned visit from the Orioles (three games, September 21-23). The Yankees’ visit to The District is their first since sweeping a three-game set at Nationals Park, June 15-17, 2012.

The Nationals will make Interleague road stops in Boston (three games), New York (two), Tampa Bay (two) and Baltimore (three games, July 10-12).

San Francisco Giants v Washington NationalsThe ‘15 home schedule also features the following holiday home games: Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10 vs. Braves), Father’s Day (Sunday, June 21 vs. Pirates), Independence Day (Saturday, July 4 vs. Giants) and Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7 vs. Mets).

Of the Nationals’ 12 homestands, only one will last 10 or more games, and Nationals Park will host 10 games in 11 days to close out the home slate from September 17-27 (Marlins, Orioles, Phillies).

September/October (17 games), August (16) and June (15) contain the most home games in a calendar month, while April hosts the fewest (10).

All dates and opponents on this schedule are subject to change.

For a limited time, fans who purchase a 2015 NATS PLUS Membership receive priority access for the Postseason. For more information or to purchase 2015 Memberships, visit nationals.com/2015, call 202.675.NATS (6287) or email at ticketinfo@nationals.com.

Nationals Game Notes — Sept. 7 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Game No. 141: Washington Nationals (79-61) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (66-75) | 1:35 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-9, 3.89 ERA) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (8-6, 2.50)
Both Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (3rd, 39) and Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cole Hamels (tied 4th, 33) rank among the top five National League left-handers in wins the last three seasons (2012 – pres.).
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:

  • With 21 home runs, Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche has recorded his ninth 20-homer campaign in the last 10 years (his lone exception: three HRs in injury-shortened 2011 season). LaRoche is one of only seven current players who can make this claim. He’s joined on the short list by:
    David Ortiz (all 10 years)
    Miguel Cabrera (all 10 years)
    Adam Dunn (11 HR, 2011)
    Albert Pujols (17 HR, 2013)
    Nick Swisher (8 HR in 2014)
    Mark Teixeira (3 HR, 2013)

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

NATIONALS (79-61)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
20 Ian Desmond SS
7  Scott Hairston LF
3 Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
59 Jose Lobaton (S) C
47 Gio Gonzalez LHP

PHILLIES (66-75)

11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
24 Grady Sizemore (L) LF
51 Carlos Ruiz C
3 Marlon Byrd RF
18 Darin Ruf 1B
7 Maikel Franco 3B
13 Freddy Galvis (S) 2B
19 Tony Gwynn Jr. (L) CF
35 Cole Hamels (L) LHP

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

Nationals Game Notes — Sept. 6 vs. Philadelphia

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Game No. 140: Washington Nationals (79-60) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (65-75) | 4:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Tanner Roark (12-9, 2.91 ERA) vs. RHP AJ Burnett (7-15, 4.40)
Philadelphia Phillies right-hander AJ Burnett joins Dillon Gee (2013), Josh Johnson (2009) and Derek Lowe (2009) as the only pitchers to make six starts against the Nationals in a single season.
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:

  • Denard Span joined the 1,000-hit club via a first-inning single on Friday off Jerome Williams, before he added two more hits later in the game. Span became the ninth player to tally a 1,000th career hit in a Nationals uniform. The initial eight: Jayson Werth (2013),Ryan Zimmerman (2012), Adam LaRoche (2012), Adam Dunn (2009), Aaron Boone(2008), Cristian Guzman (2007), Alfonso Soriano (2006), Jose Guillen (2005). Of Span’s 1,002 career hits, 333 came as a National and 192 occurred at Nationals Park.

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

NATIONALS (79-60)

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

PHILLIES (65-75)

2 Ben Revere (L) CF
11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
6 Ryan Howard (L) 1B
24 Grady Sizemore (L) RF
9 Domonic Brown (L) LF
21 Wil Nieves C
25 Cody Asche (L) 3B
34 AJ Burnett RHP

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

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