Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Jerry Blevins in Japan: Kabuki, ramen & a few innings of work

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

by Amanda Comak

The Major League All-Stars tour through Japan is about to hit the home stretch with five of the seven games they’re slated to play already in the books. And Washington Nationals reliever Jerry Blevins has not wasted a minute of his trip.

While he’s been enjoying sightseeing and soaking in the culture, Blevins has also been summoned to pitch three times in the five games. So far, he’s been superb.

Blevins has thrown three innings, allowing just one run (and no earned runs), off three hits and two walks with one strikeout.

He appeared on Sunday, Nov. 16, in a 6-1 MLB victory, on Friday, Nov. 14, in an 8-4 loss, and on Tuesday, Nov. 11, in an 8-7 MLB win.

Blevins has been keeping fans in the loop on his Asian adventure via his Twitter feed (which was listed by Sports Illustrated as one of the 100 must-follows).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kabuki-3Over the weekend, Blevins and Los Angeles Angels left-hander Hector Santiago visited a Kabuki Theater in Tokyo — and they got to take part in a bit of the performance.

Kabuki is a classical Japanese dance-drama performed in a highly stylized manner — from the dancing to the costumes and the makeup. It has been a significant theatrical form in Japan for almost four hundred years. And it looks like Blevins and Santiago were naturals.

The MLB All-Stars have two games left in Japan and they will return to the states following their finale on Nov. 20.

Nationals’ aces fill up NL Cy Young ballots

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

by Mike Feigen

It came as no surprise that Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers earned the National League Cy Young Award Wednesday, unanimously capturing all 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. After all, the southpaw led all of baseball in ERA, wins, complete games, WHIP and FIP (fielding independent pitching).

cyyoungHowever, down the writers’ ballots, another storyline emerged.

Three members of the Washington Nationals’ starting rotation — Jordan Zimmermann (5th), Doug Fister (8th) and Stephen Strasburg (T-9th) — finished in the top 10 of the voting, making them the only team in either league to achieve that distinction in the past three years.

Zimmermann, 28, went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 199.2 innings in 2014, concluding the season with the first no-hitter in Nationals history. The 6-foot-2 right-hander added a brilliant first-round performance in the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, surrendering just three hits in Game 2. In total, Zimmermann allowed a total of three hits to the final 62 batters he faced dating back to his September 20 start against the Miami Marlins.

Fister, acquired last offseason in a deal with the Detroit Tigers, lived up to his billing as a dynamic, big-game pitcher. Standing 6-foot-8, the lanky right-hander used his power sinker and array of off-speed pitches to keep hitters off balance all season. Fister led the Nationals in ERA (2.41) and wins (16) during the regular season, then added a victory in Game 3 of the NLDS against Madison Bumgarner and the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

If not for Zimmermann’s late-season heroics, Strasburg would have easily finished the season as the Nationals’ hottest pitcher. The 26-year-old righty went 7-2 in August and September, including a 3-0 record with a 0.00 ERA over his final three starts of the season. In those contests, the right-hander allowed 10 hits and three walks over 20.0 scoreless innings, striking out 19.

Including Tanner Roark (15-10, 2.85) and Gio Gonzalez (10-10, 3.57), the Nationals owned one of the finest starting rotations in all of baseball, with all five primary members deserving recognition for their excellent 2014 campaigns. Factoring in the excellent bullpen performances from relievers such as Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, the entire staff led baseball in ERA (3.03), FIP (3.18), fewest home runs per fly ball (7.5%) and lowest walk rate (2.15 per 9 innings). The team also set a Major League record by striking out 3.66 batters for every walk issued, the best ratio in history.

With Zimmermann, Fister and Strasburg all earning BBWAA votes, the result doubled the number of times Nationals pitchers have received Cy Young votes since baseball returned to the nation’s capital in 2005. Previously receiving tallies were Chad Cordero (5th, 2005), Gonzalez (3rd, 2012) and Zimmermann (7th, 2013).

Nationals 10th Anniversary Season celebrates longest-tenured fans

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

When the Washington Nationals and New York Mets open the 2015 campaign on April 6 at Nationals Park, the occasion will mark the 10th anniversary of Major League Baseball’s return to the nation’s capital.

2005 Livan HernandezThroughout the season, the Nationals will commemorate the top moments of the past 10 years — from Livan Hernandez’s historic first pitch in 2005, to the final out recorded in Jordan Zimmermann’s season-ending no-hitter in 2014.

As part of that greater celebration, the Nationals are also honoring their longest-tenured fans — those who have remained loyal to the team from the very beginning. Those fans have cheered along with the entire career of Ryan Zimmerman, witnessed the opening of a state-of-the-art new ballpark, supported the team through a rebuilding process, experienced the thrill of Stephen Strasburg’s debut and danced in the aisles after Jayson Werth’s walk-off home run in the 2012 NLDS.

Exclusive to 10-year Season Plan Holders, the Nationals are rolling out 10 Moments of Thanks, a series of 10 giveaways and experiences for those who have been with the club since Day One. These Moments include:

  • A chance to register for the opportunity to purchase tickets to the 2015 Bridgestone Winter Classic
  • An exclusive parade on the warning track prior to a game during the 2015 season
  • A special 10 Year Season Plan Holder logo pin
  • In-park signage featuring the names of all continuous 10 Year Season Plan Holders
  • Authenticated dirt from the field used on Opening Day 2015
  • A chance to win one-of-a-kind pregame on-field experiences
  • An exclusive opportunity to run the bases after a game during the 2015 season
  • A commemorative Opening Day 2005 printed game ticket
  • Access to special eCash campaigns featuring exclusive in-game concession and merchandise discounts and offers
  • A pregame VIP batting practice viewing from dugout box seats with front office executives and team officials

In addition, the Nationals will provide all fans with a multitude of memorable giveaways, theme nights and unique experiences throughout the home schedule, as the team defends its 2014 National League East Division Championship.

For more information on the 10 Moments of Thanks program, visit nationals.com/10moments.

Nationals Enjoy Visit to Diabetes Care Complex

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

by Matt Laux

On June 5, 2013, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation celebrated with Children’s National Health System as the ribbon was cut for the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex.

Washington NationalsBefore Friday’s game, Nationals Manager Matt Williams, All-Star pitcher Tyler Clippard, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Screech returned to the world-class pediatric complex to spend time with children living with diabetes.

Williams, who has often discussed his love for cooking, was stationed in the teaching kitchen. While preparing diabetic-friendly snacks, he talked to the kids about the importance of healthy eating. On the menu for the day were gluten-free pigs in a blanket, trail mix and tasty “Quick Pickles.” Each item prepared by Chef Williams was limited in carbohydrates but still allowed the children to enjoy ballpark-type fare.

Down the hall in one of the educational classrooms, Clippard sat down with the patients, discussing the importance of a healthy lifestyle and how it has played a role in his success. Having the unique opportunity to ask anything of a Major League baseball player, many of the kids were eager for advice on how they could become better athletes.

“It’s fun to have the opportunity to motivate them and offer advice that they can hopefully carry forward with them,” Clippard said after the visit.

Souza Jr., who played in a rehab game with Single-A Hagerstown the night before, joined the children in a circuit of fun and fitness. The exercise rotation was designed to keep kids fit and active while still monitoring their blood sugar levels. The highlight of the session came when Souza Jr. was defeated in a competitive game of Wii Baseball when Emma, a patient at the complex, hit a walk-off home run. When asked later if she was feeling well, Emma responded emphatically, “Of course! I just beat a pro baseball player!”

Washington NationalsThe Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex provides patients with the highest quality diabetes care through state-of-the-art equipment and a focus on developing lifestyles that includes proper nutrition and physical activity.

“The Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex offers a multi-disciplinary approach to supporting children with diabetes that helps us further our mission of helping kids and their health,” said Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, one of the Nationals Principal Owners and Chair of the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. “The whole family approach and the one-on-one attention of the dedicated staff is truly inspirational.”

The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation is committed to community partnerships that improve the lives of children and families with the core focus on children’s education, health and recreation.

●●

Want to try one of the recipes at home? Here’s the rundown for “Quick Pickles.”

“Quick Pickles”

Ingredients:

4 kirby cucumbers, cut into  1-inch slices on an angle

1/2 cup white vinegar

2 rounded teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon salt

1 clove cracked garlic

1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves, chopped or snipped

1 bay leaf

 

Instructions:

Heat small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt and garlic to the pan and cook until it begins to simmer and sugar dissolves. Toss the dill, bay leaf and sliced cucumbers together in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the simmering liquid over the cucumbers and stir to evenly coat. Allow to cool to room temperature or chill before serving.

Nationals Magazine Preview: Doug Fister; Rapid Fire

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

The following is an excerpt from the August/September issue of Nationals Magazine. To read the full story, visit nationals.com/publications to find out how you can subscribe. The August/September issue of Nationals Magazine is on sale now, can be purchased at the Main Clubhouse Team Store at Nationals Park and is also available inside Nationals Park on gamedays.

by Mike Feigen

In a game built upon one-on-one confrontations set at a methodical pace, Nationals starter Doug Fister has made an up-tempo style the centerpiece of his attack on the pitcher’s mound.

rapid fire fisterDoug Fister bounded off the mound toward the Nationals’ first base dugout, his work complete after eight masterful innings. The Nationals Park crowd of 40,677 roared in approval, standing to applaud its newest difference-making right-hander. Fister let the cheers wash over him, doffing his cap to the masses before receiving a hero’s welcome from this teammates.

It may have been just one game in the course of a long, 162-game season, but the 3-0 shutout of the rival Atlanta Braves on June 21 offered a breath of fresh air. The Nationals needed no reminder that they entered that night struggling against their divisional counterparts, but on this night, their 6-foot-8 sinkerballer breezed through a lineup that had given them fits in recent months.

The victory gave the Merced, Calif. native a perfect 4-0 record in his first four home starts with his new club, including wins over the Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies in late May and early June. Fister’s early success energized the team, justifying the move Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made to fortify the rotation with a veteran starter who had past postseason success.

Before he made his Nationals debut in early May, following a minor back ailment, Fister used the first six weeks of the season to assimilate himself into the Nationals’ clubhouse. He brought with him an impressive resume, with three straight division titles and three postseason victories to his name — one more than the entire Nationals franchise can boast in its brief nine-plus years of existence.

“So far, everything’s been good,” Fister said in late June. “The biggest thing for me is just being a teammate — the baseball side will take care of itself. I feel like I’m one of the 25 guys here, and it’s a great place to be.”

Mag3_CoverTo continue reading “Rapid Fire” on Nationals right-hander Doug Fister, along with more great content from Nationals Magazine, please visit nationals.com/publications, or pick up a copy at the Main Clubhouse Team Store at Nationals Park, as well as inside Nationals Park on gamedays.

Nationals Game Notes — Aug. 20 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

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

Game No. 125: Washington Nationals (71-53) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (53-73) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Tanner Roark (12-7, 2.93 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Cahill (3-8, 4.68)
Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark is 4-0 with a 0.56 ERA in five career games (four starts) against NL West competition, including seven one-run (unearned) innings against the Diamondbacks in the 2013 season finale.
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:

  • The Nationals have won a season-high eight consecutive games, the longest current winning streak in the Major Leagues. Of their eight straight wins, five have been of the one-run variety, five were comeback victories, and three were walk-off wins. Only one winning streak in Nationals history has lasted longer than their current eight-game stretch, a 10-game run from June 2-12, 2005.

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

NATIONALS (71-53)

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

Diamondbacks (53-73)

5 Ender Inciarte (L) CF
4 Cliff Pennington (S) 3B
6 David Peralta (L) RF
15 Mark Trumbo LF
26 Miguel Montero (L) C
2 Aaron Hill 2B
17 Alfredo Marte LF
1 Didi Gregorious (L) SS
35 Trevor Cahill RHP

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

Nationals Game Notes — August 15 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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

Game No. 120: Washington Nationals (66-53) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (64-57) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Tanner Roark (11-7, 2.86 ERA) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (5-1, 3.62)
Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark, who faces the Pirates for the first time, has allowed one earned run or fewer in 13 of his last 20 starts, dating to Apr. 21.
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:

  • Ian Desmond is one of just nine shortstops the last 40 years (1974 – present) to hit at least 20 home runs (exclusively as a shortstop) in at least three consecutive seasons:
    Cal Ripken Jr., 1982-1991
    Alex Rodriguez, 1996-2002
    Nomar Garciaparra, 1997-1999
    Rich Aurilia, 1999-2001
    Miguel Tejada, 1999-2006
    Hanley Ramirez, 2007-2010
    Troy Tulowitzki, 2009-2011
    JJ Hardy, 2011-2013
    Ian Desmond, 2012-2014

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

NATIONALS (66-53)

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

PIRATES (64-57)

5 Josh Harrison SS
25 Gregory Polanco (L) RF
55 Russell Martin C
18 Neil Walker (S) 2B
6 Starling Marte CF
23 Travis Snider (L) LF
15 Ike Davis (L) 1B
24 Pedro Alvarez (L) 3B
50 Charlie Morton RHP

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

A letter from Bill Taft

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

Dear Nationals fans,

The last time I was back home in Cincinnati, it was during “Bill and Teddy’s Executive Adventure” in February of 2013. So you could imagine my excitement when I found out the Reds were interested in bringing me and the rest of the Racing Presidents to town for the Nationals series this July!

I couldn’t wait to get on the road. The rest of the guys and I boarded the NatMobile at 6 a.m. on the morning of July 24 and headed west. It was about a nine hour drive, and we pulled into Great American Ball Park around 4 p.m. and got settled in at what would be our home for the weekend.

The following evening, during the first game of the series, I wanted to give my fans a real show — I just had to win! I could feel the adrenaline rushing as I took the field for our first race. As we neared the turn, it was just Teddy and me, and you may have seen what happened next. Teddy got a little too close, so he had to be taken out. Victory was mine!

10489655_10152527110045189_3456278069507952577_nSaturday morning, I decided to swing out to my boyhood home before the game. I was lucky enough to be greeted by Paula Marett from the National Park Service. I met Paula last year during the “Executive Adventure” and it was great to be able to reconnect with her. Even my bobblehead checked out the house, getting all kinds of pictures, which you may have seen posted on my Twitter account, @NatsBigChief27.

After two more successful races (and two Nationals wins in three games), we headed back home to Washington. Looking back, it was great to meet so many new friends and see old ones I had lost touch with. We met with many local fans and Nationals fans alike, and it was really impressive to see all the Nats fans that traveled to watch their favorite team and favorite Presidents. The trip confirmed that even though I have a lot of history in Cincinnati, my heart is here with the Washington Nationals.

I would also like to send a heartfelt thank you to the Cincinnati Reds organization for inviting us out and showing us what Midwest hospitality is all about! I look forward to visiting them again soon!

Sincerely,

“Bill”

P.S. Don’t forget to get your tickets now for MY bobblehead day, on Aug. 17 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates. The first 25,000 fans in attendance will get one!

In the meantime, you can also win my bobblehead, along with tickets to that game, as part of our Facebook contest! Click here for details!

Contest rules

Nationals and Harris Teeter host annual food drive

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

by Matt Laux

harristeeter01The Washington Nationals and Harris Teeter teamed up to host their annual Food Drive at Nationals Park on Aug. 2 and 3, benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB). Over the two-day span, the Food Drive collected a record total of 8,331 lbs. of food for the CAFB, which assists roughly 500,000 children, seniors and families struggling with hunger in the Washington metro area each year.

The first day of the Food Drive began extra early as the team accepted donations prior to the Nationals Season Plan Holder Event. As volunteers opened for business, they eagerly anticipated the possibility of surpassing last year’s 3,854-pound first-day total. The exceptional turnout aided in the 4,879 pounds donated. The event’s success continued on Day Two, as the Nationals and Harris Teeter received another 3,452 pounds in donations.

Fans who contributed three or more non-perishable food items earned two tickets to one of two future Nationals games, while supplies lasted. Additionally, the first 1,000 fans to donate three or more Harris Teeter Private Label canned goods each day of the drive were rewarded with $5 in Nats Bucks.

The campaign began in earnest on July 8, when relief pitchers Jerry Blevins and Craig Stammen worked with the Jubilee Housing Teen Renaissance at CAFB’s Kid’s Cafe. Blevins, Stammen and the children made “1-2-3 Salsa,” a healthy, budget-friendly snack, while raising awareness for the August Food Drive.

harristeeter02The annual Food Drive is just one of the many contributions Harris Teeter makes to the local community.

On top of the Food Drive, fans were able to donate at their local Harris Teeter stores. While this year’s total is still being counted, Harris Teeter raised an additional 2,145 pounds last year. Harris Teeter is also a proud supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as the Together In Education program.

Nationals visit DC Public Libraries

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

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:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 562 other followers