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
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).
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
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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).
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
SIGN ‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
2 0 0
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.
Washington Nationals (9-3) at Miami Marlins (4-7)
RHP Stephen Strasburg [2-0, 1.98] | LHP Adam Conley [0-0, 3.86]
Tuesday, April 19 l Game #13 / Road #7 l Marlins Park l Miami, FL
Television: MASN2 l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network
ABOUT LAST NIGHT
The Nationals suffered just their third defeat of the 2016 season on Monday night in Miami, falling 6-1 and moving their record to 9-3…RF Bryce Harper drove in Washington’s lone run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning…The RBI was Harper’s 16th of the season, tied for the Major League lead (with COL 3B Nolan Arenado).
- Owners of the second-best record in the Major Leagues (.750 winning percentage), the Nationals’ fast start has placed them into the record books: The 9-1 start was not only the best in Nationals history (2005-present), but it’s also the best in franchise (Nationals/Expos) history, and the best in D.C. baseball history…The 1974 Montreal Expos began the season 9-2 and the 1951 Washington Senators began 9-3…Both teams had held the previous best for the the franchise and D.C. baseball at 7-2.
Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy went 1-for-4 on Monday night to push his hitting streak to 10 games… Murphy has reached base safely in 24 of his 48 plate appearances this season with 17 hits (3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR), eight RBI and seven walks…He has hit safely in 11 of the 12 games the Nationals have played.
- Murphy leads the Major Leagues with a .415 batting average, is tied for second with a .500 on-base percentage, and ranks fourth with a .732 slugging percentage.
POP FROM THE TOP
Nationals OF Michael A. Taylor has reached base safely in six of his last eight games (seven starts), and went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored on Monday night in Miami…Taylor also has three multi-hit games in his last seven starts.
- Taylor launched his third career leadoff home run on Friday night when he sent Jeremy Hellickson’s second pitch of the game into the left field seats…It was the first game-opening home run for the Nationals this season and keyed a five-run first inning from which Washington did not look back.
Following a week in which he hit .346, notched the 100th home run of his career in grand fashion and tied a Nationals record for consecutive games with a homer, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was named the co-National League Player of the Week on Monday, along with Colorado’s Nolan Arenado.
Harper, who went 9-for-26 (.346), reached base at a .400 clip and slugged .846 for the week of April 11-17. He clubbed one double and four home runs in that span, driving in 12 total runs, walking three times, scoring six times, and stealing two bases. Harper tallied four go-ahead RBI last week, including three game-winning RBI.
It was a week of personal feats for Harper, who also helped the Nationals achieve the best start in franchise history (Nationals/Expos) as they posted a 9-1 record through the season’s first 10 games. Harper took a vicious swing on a bases-loaded 1-0 pitch from Julio Teheran on Thursday afternoon and became the first player in Major League history whose 100th career home run and his first career grand slam came on the same swing.
At 23 years, 181 days old, Harper became the eighth-youngest player in MLB history to reach the 100-home run mark, joining Mel Ott (22 years, 132 days), Tony Conigliaro (22 years, 197 days), Eddie Mathews (22 years, 292 days), Alex Rodriguez (23 years, 16 days), Andruw Jones (23 years, 62 days), Miguel Cabrera (23 years, 127 days), and Johnny Bench (22 years, 161 days). Harper was younger than Albert Pujols (23 years, 185 days), Hank Aaron (23 years, 191 days) and Ken Griffey Jr. (23 years, 206 days) when he hit the 100-homer mark.
But that was just the start of a power-filled weekend for Harper, who joined Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond as the only players in Nationals history (2005-present) to eclipse the 100-homer milestone in a Nationals uniform. He followed his 100th longball with three more, setting a new career high and matching a Nationals record with home runs in four straight games. He enters Monday sitting on the precipice of becoming the first player in franchise history to hit one in five consecutive contests.
With home runs in all three games the Nationals played in Philadelphia April 15-17, and dating back to 2015, Harper tied Ernie Banks (1955) as the only visiting players in MLB history to homer in six straight games in Philadelphia.
This is the fourth Player of the Week award of Harper’s career after he took home three during his 2015 NL MVP campaign (May 4-10, May 11-17, & Sept. 14-20, 2015), and his first of 2016. It is the 19th such honor for the Nationals organization.
Harper adds to the haul brought in by Max Scherzer (June 15-21 & Sept. 28-Oct. 4), Stephen Strasburg (Sept. 14-20, 2015 & June 7-13, 2010), Jordan Zimmermann (Sept. 22-28, 2014; June 2-8, 2014), Adam LaRoche (Sept. 1-7, 2014), Jayson Werth (June 30-July 6, 2014), Ryan Zimmerman (July 16-22, 2012; Aug. 15-21, 2011; July 30-Aug. 5, 2007), Josh Willingham (July 27-Aug. 2, 2009), Cristian Guzman (Aug. 25-31, 2008), and Nick Johnson (May 31-June 6, 2005) as honorees.
Washington Nationals (9-1) at Philadelphia Phillies (5-7)
LHP Gio Gonzalez [0-0, 0.00] | RHP Charlie Morton [0-1, 5.23]
Sunday, April 17 l Game #11 / Road #5 l Citizens Bank Park l Philadelphia, PA
Television: MASN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network
The Nationals pushed their winning streak to seven consecutive games on Saturday night with an 8-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, improving to 9-1 on the season…Owners of the best record in the Major Leagues, the Nationals’ fast start has placed them into the record books:
- The 9-1 start is not only the best in Nationals history (2005-present), but it’s also the best in franchise (Nationals/Expos) history, and the best in D.C. baseball history.
- Both the 1974 Montreal Expos and the 1951 Washington Senators began the season 7-2, the previous best.
- The 2015 Nationals’ longest winning streak stretched to eight games, which the 2016 Nationals could match this afternoon in Philadelphia.
…STARTS WITH STARTING STRONG
RHP Max Scherzer continued the Nationals’ strong stretch of starting pitching with 7.0 innings allowing just one run on Saturday, making it the fifth straight game a Nationals starter has allowed two earned runs or fewer.
- Through the season’s first 10 games, the Nationals’ starting pitching staff has worked to a Major League-best 1.93 ERA…The next closest team, the Chicago Cubs, has posted a 2.49 ERA.
- Nationals’ starters have been exceptional this last turn through the rotation, having allowed just three earned runs in their last 35.1 innings…Nationals starters have averaged 7.0 IP in this stretch and combined on a 0.76 ERA.
FEELING RIGHT AT HOME
Nationals OF Bryce Harper homered for the third consecutive game on Saturday night, his fifth straight game at Citizens Bank Park with a longball, dating to 2015.
- Harper now has at least two hits and at least one home run in his last five games at Citizens Bank Park…According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harper joins Jim Bottomley as the only opposing players in modern MLB history (since 1900) to have two hits and at least one home run in five straight games at PHI…Bottomley did so for the St. Louis Cardinals from July 5-9, 1929.
- Also via Elias, Harper is the fourth visiting player to homer in five straight games against Philadelphia, joining Bottomley (1929), Ernie Banks (1955), and current Phillies broadcaster Matt Stairs (2004-07), who came over to the Phillies’ side in 2008 and played for the Nationals in 2011…Only Banks extended his streak to six games.
- Harper’s current three-game home run streak ties the longest of his career, done three times before, all in 2015 (May 6-9, Sept. 4-6, Sept. 14-16)…Should he homer in Sunday’s contest it would be the longest consecutive stretch of games with a home run in his career.
Learn more about tonight’s match-up, including plenty of pitcher and hitter notes in today’s game notes: