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Nationals Game Notes: April 29 at St. Louis

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Washington Nationals (14-7) at St. Louis Cardinals (12-10)
RHP Stephen Strasburg [3-0, 2.17] | RHP Mike Leake [0-2, 5.64]
Friday, April 29 l Game #22 / Road #10 l Busch Stadium l St. Louis, MO l 7:15 P.M. CT
Television: MASN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

THE ROAD TO BE TRAVELED
The Nationals begin a 10-game, three-city road trip that will take them from St. Louis, this weekend, to western Missouri to face the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals before heading to Chicago on Thursday to start a four-game series against the Cubs.

  • This is the first of two 10-game road trips for Washington in 2016…The Nationals will travel to San Diego (4 G), Los Angeles (3 G) and Milwaukee (3 G) from June 16-26.

ARMS RACE
Through the season’s first 21 games, the Nationals’ pitching staff, as a whole, leads Major
League Baseball with a 2.35 ERA and in opp. slugging percentage (.308) and ranks among
MLB staffs in opp. average (.209), opp. OBP (2nd, .278), opp. OPS (2nd. 586), hits/9.0 innings (2nd, 6.72), WHIP (2nd, 1.07), and HR/9.0 innings (2nd, 0.60).

  • The Nationals boast three starting pitchers in the top 10 in ERA in the National League: LHP Gio Gonzalez (4th, 1.42), RHP Tanner Roark (9th, 2.03) and RHP Stephen Strasburg (10th, 2.17)…Further, RHP Joe Ross whose 0.54 ERA would lead the NL, falls just short of qualifying to be among league leaders.

THE DEFENSE (NEVER) RESTS
The Nationals have committed the fewest errors (6) in Major League Baseball and their .992 team fielding percentage is the best in MLB ahead of KCR (.989) and SFG (.989)…The Nationals also rank sixth in the National League with 22 double plays.

  • According to Baseball Prospectus, the Nationals rank second (.740) in the National League and third in Major League Baseball in “Defensive Efficiency” (the rate at which balls put into play are converted into outs) behind only the Chicago Cubs (.749) and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (.741)…In comparison, the 2015 Nationals ranked 21st in MLB in Defensive Efficiency at .700.

 

Nationals manager, coaches and players visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Wednesday

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As part of the Nationals’ commitment to the military community, Nationals Manager Dusty Baker, coaches and players visited service members and their families at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Wednesday morning.

The team spent time with wounded veterans working on their physical therapy in the Military Advanced Training Center, listening to stories from the front lines and their individual journeys to recovery. Additionally, a group of players and coaches made a special trip to the pediatric cancer ward to surprise a few military children.

Afterwards, the team joined active duty service members and their families at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Bethesda for photos and autographs.

Nationals Game Notes: April 28 vs. Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Phillies (11-10) vs. Washington Nationals (14-6)
RHP Aaron Nola [1-2, 4.50] | RHP Tanner Roark [2-2, 2.63]
Thursday, April 27 l Game #21 / Home #12 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C. l 4:05 P.M.
Television: MASN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan / 99.1 & Nationals Radio Network

 

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A Madison Roark production for Take Your Kid To Work Day.

WHERE THINGS STAND
At 14-6 (.700), the Nationals boast the second-best record in the National League (Chicago Cubs, 15-5, .750), and they have matched the best start in franchise history through 20 games.

 

  • The 2012 Nationals also began the season 14-6, while the 1932 Senators boast the best record for a D.C.-based team through the first 20 games at 15-5.

500 CLUB
With a bunt single in the fifth inning Wednesday night, Nationals SS Danny Espinosa collected the 500th hit of his career…Espinosa joins Ryan Zimmerman (1427), Jayson Werth (1291), Stephen Drew (1050), Daniel Murphy (994), Ben Revere (736), and Bryce Harper (549) as current Washington Nationals who’ve eclipsed the 500-hit mark.

THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN AT THE PLATE
Nationals RF Bryce Harper ranks among
MLB hitters in home runs (T1st, 9), RBI (T1st, 24), slugging percentage (2nd, .823), OPS, (2nd, 1.252), intentional walks (3rd, 4), on-base percentage (8th, .434) an
d walks (T10th, 15).

  • When he gets the chance, Harper is making his opportunities with runners on base count in a big way thus far this season…He is 10-for-21 (.476) with nine extra-base hits (four home runs, five doubles) and eight walks (four intentional) when he steps to the plate with men on…During his 2015 NL MVP campaign, Harper batted .336 in those situations, which ranked fifth in MLB.
  • However, Harper often does not get the opportunity to do damage, as his four intentional walks rank third in the Major Leagues and second in the NL…His eight walks with runners on base are tied for fifth in the NL.

 

Nationals Game Notes: April 27 vs. Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Phillies (10-10) vs. Washington Nationals (14-5)
RHP Jeremy Hellickson [1-1, 5.21] | LHP Gio Gonzalez [1-0, 1.42]
Wednesday, April 27 l Game #20 / Home #11 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C.
Television: MASN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

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WHERE THINGS STAND
At 14-5 (.737), the Nationals boast the second-best record in baseball (Chicago Cubs, 15-5, .750), and they have matched the best start in franchise history through 19 games.

  • The 2012 Nationals also began the season 14-5, as did the 1932 Senators (the last D.C.-based team to start as well).

THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN AT THE PLATE
Nationals RF Bryce Harper leads Major League Baseball in RBI (24), slugging percentage (.844), and home runs (9)…Harper also paces the Major Leagues in OPS (1.274).

  • When he gets the chance, Harper is making his opportunities with runners on base count in a big way thus far this season…He is 10-for-21 (.476) with nine extra-base hits (four home runs, five doubles) and eight walks (four intentional) when he steps to the plate with men on…During his 2015 NL MVP campaign, Harper batted .336 in those situations, which ranked fifth in MLB.
  • However, Harper often does not get the opportunity to do damage, as his four intentional walks rank third in the Major Leagues and second in the NL…His eight walks with runners on base are tied for fourth in the NL.
  • Harper, who clubbed the first pinch-hit home run of his career on Sunday with a game-tying blast to leadoff the ninth, posted a career-best eight-game RBI-streak from April 14-21…The eight-game streak is tied for the second-longest in Nationals history (2005-pres.) behind Ryan Zimmerman’s nine-game streak, Sept. 3-12, 2012.

MASHIN’ MURPH
With a 1-for-3 performance on Tuesday night, Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy has now hit safely in 16 of his 18 games played, including an MLB-best 10 multi-hit efforts…He has also reached base safely in 35 of his 75 plate appearances (.465 OBP).

  • Murphy leads MLB in batting average (.394), ranks third in MLB (and the NL) in on-base percentage (.467) and is ninth in MLB (eighth in the NL) in slugging percentage (.636).
  • From April 7-20, Murphy posted a 12-game hitting streak, matching the longest single-season hitting streak of Murphy’s career, a 12-game run from Sept. 18-Oct. 3, 2015…Murphy does own a 14-game streak, which stretched from the end of the 2013 season (Sept. 19) to the start of 2014 (April 4).

Nationals Game Notes: April 26 vs. Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Phillies (9-10) vs. Washington Nationals (14-4)
RHP Vince Velasquez [2-1, 0.93] | RHP Max Scherzer [2-1, 4.32]
Tuesday, April 26 l Game #19 / Home #10 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C.
Television: MASN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

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MARATHON MEN
The Nationals topped the Minnesota Twins, 6-5, in a 16-inning affair on Sunday afternoon/evening at Nationals Park on the first walk-off home run of OF Chris Heisey’s career…The 5:56 game was the longest regular-season game (by time) in Nationals history (2005-pres.), and the 16 innings tied the longest regular-season game (by innings) in Nationals history, matching the Nationals’ 4-2 victory at Milwaukee, June 24, 2014.

  • Sunday’s wild game featured a little bit of everything for Washington, including the first leadoff home run of OF Matt den Dekker’s career, a game-tying, bottom-of-the-ninth, pinch-hit home run by Bryce Harper (the first pinch-hit home run of his career), and a near-perfect bunt from LHP Oliver Perez in his first plate appearance since 2010.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time a team won a game of 16 or more innings while hitting a leadoff home run and a walk-off home run since the 2009 San Diego Padres accomplished the feat in a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds, who were managed by none other than Dusty Baker.

NOW HE’S SEEN EVERYTHING
Nationals manager Dusty Baker was certain he had never seen anything like what transpired on Sunday, and he was pretty darn close to being right…Baker has won 1,685 games as an MLB manager, but this was his first victory ever in which his team trailed in the ninth inning and again in extra innings.

  • However, according to Elias, Baker had seen something like this before: the last time that an MLB team tied a game with a bottom-of-the-ninth home run and won it in the 15th-inning or later with another home run was May 25, 2008 when the Padres defeated Baker’s Reds, 12-9, in 18 innings… Scott Hairston hit a game-tying ninth-inning home run and Adrian Gonzalez cranked a walk-off home run off of Edinson Volquez.

OFF THE BLOCKS
At 14-4 (.778), the Nationals boast the best record in baseball, and they have matched the best start in franchise history through 18 games…The 2012 Nationals also began the season 14-4, as did the 1932 Senators (the last D.C.-based team to start this well).

Nationals Game Notes: April 24 vs. Minnesota

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Minnesota Twins (5-13) vs. Washington Nationals (13-4)
RHP Tyler Duffey [0-0, -.–] | RHP Stephen Strasburg [3-0, 1.25]
Saturday, April 24 l Game #18 / Home #9 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C.
Television: MASN l Radio: 99.1 WDCH & Nationals Radio Network

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WHISPERING SWEEP NOTHINGS

The Nationals go for their third sweep of the season this afternoon against MIN…A win today would also mark Washington’s first three-game sweep in Interleague play since April 9-11, 2013 when they swept the Chicago White Sox at Nationals Park…Prior to that, Washington completed back-to-back three-game road sweeps of Boston (June 8-10) and Toronto (June 11-13) during the 2012 season.

  • A win today would also mark the first sweep of the Minnesota Twins in both Nationals (2005-pres.) history and Nationals/Expos history.

ROARKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

RHP Tanner Roark struck out a career-high 15 batters in 7.0 innings of two-hit, shutout ball in Saturday’s 2-0 win over MIN…His 15 strikeouts were the most in a game by a Nationals pitcher this season and the third-most in a game in Nationals history (2005-pres.) behind RHP Max Scherzer (17, 10/3/15 at NYM and 16, 6/14/15 at MIL).

  • The 15 strikeouts were the second-most in a single game in Major League Baseball this season behind PHI RHP Vince Velasquez (16, 4/14/16 vs. SDP) and were the most by a starting pitcher against the Minnesota Twins since BAL RHP Mike Mussina struck out 15 on Aug. 8, 2000.
  • In addition to the 15 strikeouts, Saturday’s start was the second time in Roark’s career in which he tossed at least 7.0 shutout innings and allowed two hits or fewer…He also did it on Sept. 17, 2013 vs. ATL  (7.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 6 SO) as Washington beat Atlanta, 4-0.

18 K GOLD

  • Thanks to 15 strikeouts by RHP Tanner Roark and three more from the bullpen, the Washington Nationals set an all-time (2005-pres.) record for strikeouts in a 9.0 inning game (18) Saturday afternoon vs. MIN…The previous high was 17 on Oct. 3, 2015…The 18 strikeouts matched a Nationals/Expos franchise mark (9/10/80 vs. CHI).

 

Nationals Game Notes: April 23 vs. Minnesota

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Minnesota Twins (5-12) vs. Washington Nationals (12-4)
RHP Phil Hughes [1-2, 4.42] | RHP Tanner Roark [1-2, 3.71]
Saturday, April 23 l Game #17 / Home #8 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C.
Television: MASN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

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ABOUT LAST NIGHT
Behind multi-hit efforts from C Jose Lobaton (2-for-3, 3B, 3 RBI, BB, R), 2B Daniel Murphy (2-for-4, 2B, RBI, 2 R), SS Danny Espinosa (2-for-3, RBI, R, HBP) and LF Jayson Werth’s third home run of the year (and stellar defense), the Nationals topped the Twins, 8-4, in the first game of the weekend set.

  • LHP Gio Gonzalez earned his first win of the season, allowing two earned runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and just one walk in 6.0 innings of work…Gonzalez has worked to a 1.42 ERA (3 ER/19.0 IP) through his first three starts, his best start since he posted a 0.47 ERA (1 ER/19.0 IP) through his first three starts in 2011, when he was with OAK.

STATUS CHECK
At 12-4 (.750), the Nationals have the second-best record in baseball and their 12-4 start matches the best start in franchise history (Nationals/Expos)…The 2012 Nationals were 12-4 through the first 16 games of the season, as were the 1981 Expos.

  • The 12-4 start matches the best start of any D.C.-based club…The 1913 and 1932 Washington Senators both started 11-4.

HIT PARADE
With two hits Friday night against MIN, 2B Daniel Murphy has now hit safely in 14 of 16 games played, including nine multi-hit efforts…He has also reached base safely in 31 of his 64 plate appearances (.484 OBP).

  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Murphy is the second player in Nationals/Expos history to have nine multi-hit performances in his first 16 games with the franchise…C Ivan Rodriguez posted nine games with at least two hits in his first 16 appearances with the Nationals in 2010.
  • From April 7-20, Murphy posted a 12-game hitting streak, matching the longest single-season hitting streak of Murphy’s career, a 12-game run from Sept. 18-Oct. 3, 2015…Murphy does own a 14-game streak, which stretched from the end of the 2013 season (Sept. 19) to the start of 2014 (April 4).
  • Murphy leads MLB with a .411 batting average while his .483 OBP is good for third in MLB (and the NL) and his .679 slugging percentage ranks fourth in MLB (third in the NL).

 

Nationals Game Notes: April 22 vs. Minnesota

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Minnesota Twins (5-11) vs. Washington Nationals (11-4)
RHP Kyle Gibson [0-2, 3.57] | LHP Gio Gonzalez [0-0, 0.69]
Friday, April 22 l Game #16 / Home #7 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C.
Television: MASN / WUSA9 l Radio: 99.1 WDCH & Nationals Radio Network

4222016lineup.jpgSIGN ‘O’ THE TIMES
At 11-4 (.733), the Nationals have the second-best record in baseball and their 11-4 start matches the best start in Nationals history (2005-pres.)…The 2012 Nationals were also 11-4 through the first 15 games of the season.
The 11-4 start matches the best start of any D.C. based club…The 1913, 1925, 1930 and 1932 Washington Senators all started 11-4.
Only the 1981 Expos (12-3) posted a better record through 15 games in Nationals/Expos history.

THE ARMS OF ORION
Through the season’s first 15 games, the Nationals’ starting pitching staff has worked to a 2.31 ERA, behind only the Chicago Cubs (2.19) for the best in Major League Baseball.
Nationals’ starters also rank among MLB staffs in average against (2nd, .214), opp. slugging percentage (2nd, .310), hits per nine innings (2nd, 6.85), WHIP (4th, 1.09), home runs per nine innings (4th, 0.58) and opp. OBP (5th, .287).

I WANNA BE YOUR “GOLD” (G)LOVER
The Nationals, along with the New York Mets, have committed the fewest errors (4) in Major League Baseball and their .993 team fielding percentage is the best in MLB…The Nationals also rank tied for third in the National League with 18 double plays.
According to Baseball Prospectus, the Nationals rank third (.741) in the National League in “Defensive Efficiency” (the rate at which balls put into play are converted into outs) behind only the Chicago Cubs (.753) and Los Angeles Dodgers (.749)…In comparison, the 2015 Nationals ranked 21st in MLB in Defensive Efficiency at .700.

LET’S GO CRAZY
Nationals RF Bryce Harper leads Major League Baseball in OPS (1.255), RBI (22) and slugging percentage (.849) and his eight home runs are tied with COL SS Trevor Story for the MLB lead.
Harper extended his RBI-streak to a career-best eight games with solo home run on Thursday afternoon…The eight-game streak is tied for the second-longest in Nationals history (2005-pres.) behind Ryan Zimmerman’s nine-game streak, Sept. 3-12, 2012.
Harper is making his opportunities with runners on base count in a big way thus far this season…He is 8-for-15 (.533) with eight extra-base hits (four home runs, four doubles) and six walks (2 intentional) when he steps to the plate with men on…During his 2015 NL MVP campaign, Harper batted .336 in those situations, which ranked fifth in MLB (min: 200 such PA), per the Elias Sports Bureau.

Nearly 40 years after giving the very first high five, Dusty Baker still has reason to celebrate

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Dusty Harper

Much like Kal-El on Krypton or Peter Parker’s radioactive spider bite, one of the most widely-used celebrations in sports has an awesome origin story. And this one stars Nationals Manager Dusty Baker.

Heading into the last weekend of the 1977 season, Baker – then an outfielder for the Dodgers – was sitting at 29 home runs, needing just one more to join Ron Cey, Steve Garvey and Reggie Smith to become the first quartet of teammates to each hit 30 home runs in the same season. When Baker clocked No. 30 in Game 162, rookie Glenn Burke was on-deck and waited for him at home plate … with his hand raised.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Dusty

Thirty-nine years later, the high five is still around, but Baker’s diversified his celebrations to keep up with the times (he does have a teenaged son, after all). High fives, low fives, fist bumps … you name it, it’s in Baker’s repertoire of celebrations.

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Whether he’s dapping Danny Espinosa after a Nationals run, or hugging a starting pitcher after yet another early-season gem, one thing’s for sure: with 148 games left on the schedule, there will be plenty more reasons to celebrate.

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Nationals Game Notes: April 20 at Miami

Washington Nationals (10-3) at Miami Marlins (4-8)RHP Joe Ross [2-0, 0.60] | LHP Wei-Yin Chen [0-0, 5.56]

Wednesday, April 20 l Game #14 / Road #8 l Marlins Park l Miami, FL

Television: MASN2 l Radio: 99.1 WDCH & Nationals Radio Network

  TATERMEN!

The Nationals erupted for seven runs in the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s 7-0 win over the Miami Marlins, with all seven coming on four home run swings in two sets of back-to-back jacks…In the process, Washington set quite a few marks:

· According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team in Nationals/Expos franchise history had ever hit two sets of back-to-back home runs in the same inning before Jayson Werth-Wilson Ramos and Bryce Harper-Ryan Zimmerman did it Tuesday night…No team in the Major Leagues had accomplished the feat since 2010 when Milwaukee did so vs. Arizona, Aug. 11, 2010.

· It was also, via Elias, the only time in modern MLB history (since 1900) that a team hit two sets of back-to-back home runs in the same inning with one of the longballs being a grand slam (Harper).

· The last time Washington hit two sets of back-to-back home runs in the same game was July 10, 2013; Anthony Rendon-Ramos in the fifth, Zimmerman-Werth in the sixth.

· Tuesday’s seventh inning marked the first time in Nationals history (2005-pres.) the club had hit four home runs in a single inning, and the first time in franchise history (Nationals/Expos) since April 29, 1986 against CIN, when Andre Dawson, Hubie Brooks, Tim Wallach and Mike Fitzgerald all went deep…It also happened one other time, July 30, 1978 against ATL, courtesy of Dawson (2), Dave Cash and Larry Parrish.

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And starting all of Tuesday’s home run fun was Nationals LF Jayson Werth, whose solo shot with one out in the seventh clanked off the Marlins’ home run sculpture in center field, lodged behind a light in the piece of art, broke the scoreless tie and added Werth’s name to the 200-homer club.

· With the blast, Werth joined Alfonso Soriano (8/13/2006), Adam LaRoche (4/20/2013) and Ryan Zimmerman (9/02/2015) as the only players to hit their 200th career home run in a Nationals uniform, according to Elias…Zimmerman’s No. 201 came later in Tuesday’s seventh inning.

ANOTHER GRAND OCCASION FOR THE MVP

Through the first 99 home runs of his young career, Nationals OF Bryce Harper had never hit a grand slam…Thursday, Harper changed that and became the first player in MLB history to record his 100th home run and his first grand slam on the same swing…Harper then went a whole four games (and three more home runs) before recording the second grand slam of his career as his contribution to the Nationals’ homer parade, the first of the second set of back-to-backs on Tuesday, cleared the fence in right field with the bags full of Nationals.

· With 20 RBI in the season’s first 13 games, Harper now leads the Major Leagues in that category, along with slugging percentage (.867), and his seven home runs are second in MLB only to COL’s Trevor Story.

· RHP Stephen Strasburg (who went 2-for-3 in the fifth multi-hit game of his career) has now been on third base for both of Harper’s career grand slams. 

SETTING THE TONE

Through the season’s first 13 games, the Nationals’ starting pitching staff has worked to a Major League-best 1.98 ERA…Ahead of the Chicago Cubs (2.14) and New York Mets (2.87).

· Nationals’ starters have been exceptional of late, having allowed just eight earned runs in their last 56.1 innings, a 1.28 ERA.

· RHP Stephen Strasburg continued his strong start to the season with 8.0 shutout innings over the Marlins on Tuesday…Strasburg struck out 10 batters, his first 10-plus strikeout game of the season and 22nd of his career.

· Since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 8, 2015, Strasburg is 9-2 with a 1.74 ERA in 13 starts…In that span he has held opponents to a .180 average against and struck out 113 batters with just 15 walks (11.56 K/9.0 IP; 7.53 K/BB)…He has allowed more than 2 ER in a start only once in that stretch.

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