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.

Nationals and Harris Teeter host annual food drive

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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 Game Notes — August 7 vs. New York Mets

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Game No. 113: Washington Nationals (61-51) vs. New York Mets (54-60) | 12:35 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (7-5, 3.00 ERA) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.77)
Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann has not allowed a home run at Nationals Park in nine starts (55.0 innings). The last home run hit off him in this ballpark was off the bat of Miami’s Derek Dietrich on April 9.
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 played error-less baseball in 41 of their last 53 games, dating to June 7. In that eight-plus week span, the Nationals pace the Major Leagues with a .992 fielding percentage. The Seattle Mariners (.992) and Baltimore Orioles (.990) rank second and third, respectively. The Nationals’ monthly error totals: Mar./Apr. (26), May (20), June (8), July (10), Aug. (2).

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

NATIONALS (61-51)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 2B
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
27 Jordan Zimmermann RHP

METS (54-60)

3 Curtis Granderson (L) RF
28 Daniel Murphy (L) 2B
5 David Wright 3B
21 Lucas Duda (L) 1B
12 Juan Lagares CF
4 Wilmer Flores SS
20 Anthony Recker C
48 Jacob deGrom (L) RHP
22 Eric Young Jr. (S) LF

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

Nationals Game Notes — August 6 vs. New York Mets

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Game No. 112: Washington Nationals (60-51) vs. New York Mets (54-59) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Doug Fister (10-3, 2.68 ERA) vs. LHP Jonathon Niese (5-7, 3.24)
Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister  has walked one batter or fewer in 14 of his last 18 starts. Fister’s walk rate (1.20/9.0 inn.) would pace the National League and rank fourth in the Major Leagues if he qualified. 
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 & MASN2
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • Washington Nationals catchers (Wilson Ramos, Jose Lobaton & Sandy Leon) pace the Major Leagues having gunned down 23 of 65 (35.4%) would-be basestealers this year (pitcher caught stealings excluded). The Cardinals (19 of 56, 33.9%) currently rank a close 2nd behind the Nationals. In ‘13, the Nationals ranked 29th in the Major Leagues, throwing out 14 percent (15 of 110) of would-be basestealers.

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

NATIONALS (60-51)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 2B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
20 Ian Desmond SS
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
8 Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
59 Jose Lobaton (S) C
58 Doug Fister RHP

METS (54-59)

3 Curtis Granderson (L) RF
28 Daniel Murphy (L) 2B
5 David Wright 3B
21 Lucas Duda (L) 1B
15 Travis d’Arnaud C
9 Kirk Nieuwenhuis (L) LF
12 Juan Lagares CF
11 Ruben Tejada SS
49 Jonathon Niese (L) LHP

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

Nationals acquire LHP Matt Thornton

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by Amanda Comak

In a move that bolsters the left side of their bullpen with a veteran arm, the Washington Nationals acquired left-handed reliever Matt Thornton on a waiver claim from the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

Thornton, 37, joins the Nationals after going 0-3 with 12 holds and a 2.55 ERA in 46 appearances in his lone season in New York. In his 24.2 innings with the Yankees, Thornton has not allowed a home run, walked just six and struck out 20 (7.3 strikeouts per nine innings).

In 11 Major League seasons that included stops with the Mariners, White Sox, Red Sox and Yankees, Thornton is 32-45 with 182 holds, 23 saves and a 3.49 ERA in 652 games/one start. When facing left-handed batters, Thornton’s career batting average against is .233 and his opponents’ on-base percentage against is .297.

Boston Red Sox v New York YankeesThornton’s 411 strikeouts the last seven seasons (2008 – present) are the most in baseball among left-handed relievers. He’s also recorded at least 20 holds in five consecutive seasons (2008 – 2012), including a career-high 26 for the White Sox in ’12.

The 37-year-old Thornton, in his only career postseason experience, worked 3.1 scoreless innings for the White Sox in the 2008 American League Division Series against Tampa Bay.

Thornton was the Mariners first-round selection (22nd overall) in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft.

Additionally, right-hander Taylor Jordan was transferred to the 60-day Disabled List.

Nationals recall C Sandy Leon, place C Wilson Ramos on Paternity List

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by Amanda Comak

Miami Marlins v Washington NationalsWith Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos and his wife, Yely, expecting their first child, the Nationals placed Ramos on the Paternity List on Tuesday afternoon and recalled catcher Sandy Leon from Triple-A Syracuse.

Leon, 25, rejoins the Nationals for his third Major League stint of the season. The switch-hitting catcher is batting .212 (25-for-118) in 34 games with Syracuse this season, with eight doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI.

In 28 games behind the plate for the Chiefs, Leon has caught 65 percent of attempted base stealers (11-of-17).

Ramos, 26, is hitting .290 (54-for-186) with a .340 on-base percentage, eight doubles, three home runs and 25 RBI in 49 games this season.

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