A pregame chat with Adam LaRoche

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This is an excerpt from Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche’s interview with Charlie Slowes from the Nationals On-Deck pre-game radio show:

Washington NationalsCharlie Slowes: Welcome back to Nationals On-Deck. Our guest is the hero of (Monday) night’s win, with a walk-off home run, Adam LaRoche. You got a Gatorade Bath at home plate, but as we speak right now, you’re still wet. That’s not from last night though?

Adam LaRoche: No, it’s not, we just did the “Ice Bucket challenge” for ALS, which I think is an awesome thing. I was called out by Brian Keaton with the Wounded Warriors and also Willie Robertson with Buck and Duck Commander, so it was nice to knock that out. We accepted the challenge — myself, one of the wounded warriors, and then Desi (Ian Desmond) and Doug (Fister) joined me on that. So, yes, we are soaked and cold.

CS: You, Ian Desmond, and Doug Fister all at once?

AL: Yup, we were all challenged by various people, so we figured we’d knock it out on the field pregame.

CS: Well, you knocked it out of the park last night, off the facing of the second deck behind the bullpen in the bottom of the 11th inning. This was the 236th career home run for you, but your first career walk off?

AL: I don’t know what to say about that, I’ve been a little bit snake bit in those situations. As the years go by, you just kind of figure that it’s not meant to be. It seems like all my ninth inning or extra inning homers come on the road. Fortunately enough, last night I got that first one under my belt and hopefully it won’t be the last.

Washington NationalsCS: We hope so too. I’m sure Nationals fans would agree. A 3-1 breaking ball; I don’t know if you were looking for it, but I could tell when I watched the replay you recognized it immediately, almost before it was out of the pitcher’s hand.

AL: I wasn’t looking for it in that situation. Typically with no one on and a 3-1 count, the last thing they want to do is put the winning run on base, but I just happened to catch it just right coming out of his hand and hit it pretty good. (It’s been) a crazy stretch here to say the least, these last few days — they’re wins so we’ll take ’em, but we’ve put ourselves in those situations the last few days where we could have made it probably a little bit easier on ourselves and a little less stressful on our skipper. We’re going to carry this momentum as long as we can.

Nationals Game Notes — Aug. 19 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

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Game No. 124: Washington Nationals (70-53) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (53-72) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Stephen Strasburg (9-10, 3.53 ERA) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (7-4, 3.16)
With a National League-leading 194 strikeouts, Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg appears likely to eclipse his current career high of 197, set in 2012.
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:

  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Nationals have won three straight games despite trailing in the eighth inning or later for just the second time in their 10 seasons representing The District. In 2006, from Aug. 21 – Sept. 3, the Nationals won four straight games while overcoming late (8th inning or later) deficits. Coincidentally, three of those four comeback wins in 2006 came during a three-game home sweep of the Diamondbacks, Sept. 2-3.

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

NATIONALS (70-53)

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
3 Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
59 Jose Lobaton (S) C
37 Stephen Strasburg RHP

Diamondbacks (53-72)

5 Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2 Aaron Hill 2B
6 David Peralta (L) RF
15 Mark Trumbo LF
26 Miguel Montero (L) C
31 Jordan Pacheco 1B
19 Jake Lamb (L) 3B
1 Didi Gregorious (L) SS
57 Chase Anderson RHP

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

Nationals Game Notes — Aug. 18 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

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Game No. 123: Washington Nationals (69-53) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (53-71) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 2.92 ERA) vs. LHP Vidal Nuno (0-3, 3.92)
Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann entered this month with a 3.94 career ERA in August, but is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three August starts thus far this 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:

  • The Nationals swept both the Mets (3-0 at Citi Field) and Pirates (3-0 here in DC) last week, and in doing so, pieced together consecutive series sweeps for the first time since June 8-13, 2012 (3-0 at Boston, 3-0 at Toronto)

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

NATIONALS (69-53)

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
27 Jordan Zimmermann RHP

Diamondbacks (53-71)

5 Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2 Aaron Hill 2B
6 David Peralta (L) RF
15 Mark Trumbo LF
26 Miguel Montero (L) C
31 Jordan Pacheco 1B
19 Jake Lamb (L) 3B
1 Didi Gregorious (L) SS
54 Vidal Nuno (L) LHP

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

Nationals Game Notes — Aug. 17 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Game No. 122: Washington Nationals (68-53) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (64-59) | 5:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Doug Fister (12-3, 2.34 ERA) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (10-7, 3.67)
Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister got the nod and earned the win with 7.0 scoreless innings in Washington’s lone victory (W5-2, May 25) during a four-game visit to PNC Park in late May.
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 enter tonight’s series finale with a chance to do something they’ve never done: take the season series from the Pirates in spite of losing the first three match-ups between the teams. In 10 seasons in Washington, the Nationals have never won a seven-game season series after dropping the first three games to an opponent. 

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

NATIONALS (68-53)

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
58 Doug Fister (L) RHP

PIRATES (64-59)

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

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

Nationals Game Notes — Aug. 16 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Game No. 121: Washington Nationals (67-53) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (64-58) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-9, 4.00 ERA) vs. LHP Jeff Locke (4-3, 3.98)
Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 3.28 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates, and his clubs are a perfect 4-0 (3-0 as a National, 1-0 as an Athletic) in those games.
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 lead the National League (3rd in the Major Leagues) in run differential at +90 (504 for, 414 against). MLB’s top four teams in run differential: Oakland Athletics (+163), Seattle Mariners (+94), Washington Nationals (+90), Los Angeles Angels (+87).

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

NATIONALS (67-53)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
19 Kevin Frandsen LF
6 Anthony Rendon 3B
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
20 Ian Desmond SS
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
40 Wilson Ramos C
8 Danny Espinosa 2B
47 Gio Gonzalez LHP

PIRATES (64-58)

5 Josh Harrison SS
25 Gregory Polanco (L) RF
55 Russell Martin C
6 Starling Marte CF
17 Gaby Sanchez 1B
24 Pedro Alvarez (L) 3B
27 Jayson Nix 2B
23 Travis Snider (L) LF
49 Jeff Locke LHP

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

Nationals Game Notes — August 15 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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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!

Nationals Minor League Report

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Welcome back to the 2014 Minor League Report, a comprehensive collection of notes from the Washington Nationals PR staff that highlights the outstanding performers in the Nationals’ Minor League system through the last few weeks.

Here are the top headlines:

TOP PERFORMER: LUCAS GIOLITO —  In four starts dating to July 25, RHP Lucas Giolito is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA (3 ER/22.0 IP). He has tallied 24 strikeouts while allowing just 12 hits and three walks, with opponents hitting just .160 against him over that stretch. Following his start on July 25 vs. Kannapolis (CWS), Giolito was named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week, the second time he’s earned the honor in 2014. Despite making just 19 starts this season, Giolito ranks second among Nationals farmhands and fourth in the SAL with 105 strikeouts. All told this season, the 2012 first-round pick is 9-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 starts, all for Single-A Hagerstown. He falls just short of qualifying to be among the SAL leaders in ERA, WHIP (0.98) and AVG (.188).

LAIRD LEADS – With the promotions of Steven Souza Jr., and Michael A. Taylor3B Brandon Laird has stepped up to lead the Triple-A Syracuse offensive attack. Laird is 14-for-34 (.412) with seven doubles, three home runs, 13 RBI and six runs scored over the last eight games. Syracuse has gone 6-2 over that stretch. On the season, the 26-year-old is hitting .316, second-best among Nationals farmhands and fifth-best in the International League. He also leads Syracuse’s active roster with 29 doubles and 14 home runs.

Below is the full report. To view this report on your full screen, please click the icon in the bottom right corner of the notes.

Enjoy!

Nationals Game Notes — August 12 at New York Mets

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Game No. 117: Washington Nationals (63-53) at New York Mets (57-62) | 7:10 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Doug Fister (11-3, 2.49 ERA) vs. RHP Rafael Montero (0-2, 5.40)
Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister is 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA (7 ER/35.0 IP) in five starts this season when pitching on “extra rest” (more than the standard four days).
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:

  • Anthony Rendon’s team-leading 81 runs are tied for second in the Major Leagues behind only Minnesota’s Brian Dozier (83). Rendon is on pace to score 100 runs in a single season, a threshold only met three times by a National: Alfonso Soriano(119 in 2006), Ryan Zimmerman (110 in 2009) and Nick Johnson (100 in 2006).
    Denard Span ranks second among MLB leadoff hitters with 71 runs scored (St. Louis’s Matt Carpenter, 74).

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

NATIONALS (63-53)

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 Taylor RF
58 Doug Fister RHP

METS (57-62)

3 Curtis Granderson (L) RF
28 Daniel Murphy (L) 2B
5 David Wright 3B
21 Lucas Duda (L) 1B
15 Travis d’Arnaud C
6 Matt den Dekker (L) LF
12 Juan Lagares CF
4 Wilmer Flores SS
22 Eric Young Jr. (S) LF

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

A letter from Bill Taft

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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 recall OF Michael A. Taylor, place OF Steven Souza Jr. on 15-day DL

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by Amanda Comak

In need of outfield reinforcements, the Washington Nationals recalled top outfield prospect Michael A. Taylor from Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday afternoon and placed outfielder Steven Souza Jr. on the 15-day Disabled List with a left shoulder contusion.
Taylor, 23, joins the Nationals after hitting .315 with 20 doubles, 22 home runs, 63 RBI and 35 stolen bases in 102 Minor League games this season, spread across Double-A Harrisburg (98 games) and Triple-A Syracuse (four games). Taylor, who will wear No. 18, awaits his Major League debut.
Taylor, who entered the 2014 season ranked as the Nationals’ No. 6 overall prospect by Baseball America and the organization’s “Best Athlete,” was drafted as a shortstop in the sixth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He shifted to the outfield in 2011 and quickly earned a reputation as an elite defender.
Promoted to the Triple-A level for the first time on Monday, Taylor went 5-for-13 (.385) with three doubles, a triple, two RBI and four walks in four games for the Chiefs. Before leaving Harrisburg, Taylor hit .313 with 41 extra-base hits (17 doubles, two triples, 22 home runs), 61 RBI, 50 walks and 34 stolen bases. His .935 OPS currently ranks second among all qualified Double-A players this season. Last month, Taylor represented the Nationals in MLB’s Futures Game at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Souza Jr. has played in 13 Major League games for the Nationals, going 1-for-12 at the plate. He collected his first big league hit, a single off Dan Jennings, on April 15 at Marlins Park.
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