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.
Doug 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.”
To 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.
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 Stats: nationals.com
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:
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
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!
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:
Charlie 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.
CS: 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.