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Nationals Watch Archive: September 2012

  • The Nationals are playoff newbies, but they're getting plenty of experience

    It could've been late October. A cool night, a tense game, a lead that was chipped away at, blown and regained. A game started by one of each team's best pitchers, followed by their bullpen aces, decided on a rocket double in extra innings. It was Saturday night. Game No. 158 in the Washington Nationals' season. The game that brought them to the brink of clinching. It wasn't a playoff game. But it felt like it. Published September 30 2012

  • Nationals-Cardinals lineups: All hands on deck with magic number at one

    There was nothing that needed to be said Sunday morning as the Nationals arrived early and cranked up the music in the visitors' clubhouse. They knew exactly what the day held: the promise of more than one tomorrow. The Washington Nationals can clinch a playoff spot Sunday afternoon in St. Louis. If they beat the Cardinals or the Atlanta Braves lose to the New York Mets, the corks will come off the champagne and 159 games worth of work will have been worth it. Published September 30 2012

  • Kurt Suzuki's offensive rejuvenation after trade to D.C. a boon for Nationals

    When Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo shipped another one of the organizations' young catching prospects to Oakland this past August, he spoke of the man he was getting back as someone having an uncharacteristically down offensive season. Published September 30 2012

  • Michael Morse, the invisible grand slam and an eventful trip around the bases and back

    It was the strangest thing Michael Morse could ever remember happening to him in baseball. To anybody, he figured. Published September 30 2012

  • Gio Gonzalez would probably be the Nationals' No. 1 starter in the NLDS

    The precarious nature with which the playoffs are set up this season bothers Nationals manager Davey Johnson. He doesn't know how he'll be setting up his pitching with so many races coming down to the end, including his own quest for the division title, and if the Nationals were to be the No. 1 overall seed in the National League, they won't know their division series opponent until two nights before it's set to begin. Published September 29 2012

  • Nationals-Cardnals lineups: On the verge of clinching

    So here they are. The Washington Nationals have played 157 games in the 2012 season and now, as they prepare for Game No. 158, there will be champagne in the house at Busch Stadium. If the Nationals beat the Cardinals Saturday evening and the Atlanta Braves lose to the New York Mets, the Nationals will be the National League East champions. Published September 29 2012

  • The Nationals are going to face a challenge in keeping all their pitchers on regular rest

    Saturday evening, Jordan Zimmermann will make what could be his final start of the regular season for the Nationals. On regular rest, his next turn would come up on Thursday -- the day after the end of the regular season and, if the Nationals are in the NLDS, two days before any possible Game 1. Published September 28 2012

  • Nationals-Cardinals lineups: Edwin Jackson returns to St. Louis

    Edwin Jackson will find himself in something of a familiar spot on Friday night, if there can be a familiar place for someone who has bounced around as often as the Nationals' right-hander has. But the last time he was on the field in St. Louis it was celebrating a World Series title with the Cardinals. Published September 28 2012

  • The impact of Tyler Clippard's clean inning

    For weeks Tyler Clippard has been searching. He couldn't get through a clean inning, couldn't lock down the game the way he had been for the majority of the season, couldn't get his deceptive high fastball high hitters. He looked at old video, discussed a flaw in his mechanics with pitching coach Steve McCatty that was making his funky delivery unbalanced and kept getting run back out there to try and make things right -- even though it started to be in the eighth inning instead of the ninth. But what Clippard couldn't find until Thursday night in Philadelphia was a clean, 1-2-3 inning. He got it then. He needed it bad. Published September 28 2012

  • How Gio Gonzalez salvaged his start in the Nationals' win

    As the Washington Nationals came in for the top of the third inning, Gio Gonzalez had a request for his manager: Don't give up on me. Published September 28 2012

  • Davey Johnson, Bo Porter & Mike Rizzo discuss Porter's hiring by the Astros

    Nationals third base coach Bo Porter was named the next manager of the Houston Astros on Thursday morning, a bittersweet day for the Nationals as they'll lose an integral member of their staff. Here's what Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson and Bo Porter had to say about the news: Published September 27 2012

  • Nationals-Phillies lineups: Regulars go for series win in Philly

    The Nationals enter Thursday's game against the Phillies with Gio Gonzalez on the mound needing a win to drop their magic number to clinch the NL East down to three. Published September 27 2012

  • Bryce Harper continues to tread into rarified air for a teenager

    Bryce Harper hit his 20th home run of the season, a first-inning shot that gave the Nationals a 2-0 lead. He became just the second teenager in major league history to hit 20 home runs, joining Tony Conigliaro (24) in that rare air, and he's the first teenager ever to hit at least 17 home runs and steal 17 bases. Harper is closing in on joining Ian Desmond in the 20-20 club, a remarkable feat for any player, and he joined Nomar Garciaparra (1997) as the second rookie since 1973 to hit 20 home runs with at least nine triples in a season. He may not win the Rookie of the Year award, but he's making a late push to sway voters, that's for sure. Published September 27 2012

  • Astros to name Nationals third base coach Bo Porter as next manager

    Washington Nationals third base coach Bo Porter will be named the next manager of the Houston Astros. Published September 27 2012

  • Jayson Werth explains the ball fake that got him booed in Philadelphia

    Jayson Werth stood in the on-deck circle Wednesday night in the ninth inning and incited the wrath of the Phillies fans already predetermined to ride him. So what actually happened down there? Let Werth explain. Published September 27 2012

  • Davey Johnson sits Danny Espinosa

    Danny Espinosa was not in the Washington Nationals' lineup on Wednesday for the second game of their three-game series with the Phillies and the second baseman did not seem pleased to be sitting. Published September 26 2012

  • Nationals-Phillies lineups: Danny Espinosa out as Nationals face Kyle Kendrick

    Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa was missing from the team's lineup on Wednesday for the middle game of their three-game series with the Phillies. It's unclear if Espinosa, who has played more games than any regular in the Nationals' lineup, is just getting a routine day off or if there is something ailing him. He received a cortisone shot in his left shoulder last Monday to alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by a bone bruise in his shoulder socket. Published September 26 2012

  • The Nationals turn to John Lannan for a big start ... again

    These are the games that define a season, the final ones they need to get where they've been trying to go all season. So in need of one of a win in one of those games, the Nationals will turn to John Lannan Wednesday night in Philadelphia. Published September 26 2012

  • Christian Garcia discusses the Nationals' idea of converting him back to a starting pitcher

    Christian Garcia has made quite an impression on the Washington Nationals in his brief time at the major league level. His repertoire has been so strong that the Nationals are considering converting him back into a starting pitcher for the 2013 season. Published September 25 2012

  • Nationals-Phillies lineups: Michael Morse returns

    Nationals outfielder Michael Morse was back in the lineup on Tuesday, one day after he was surprised to be sitting out of the team's finale against the Milwaukee Brewers. Morse, who has had trouble recently with both of his hands and wrists, got a shot on Monday to combat some of the inflammation that has been causing him discomfort. Published September 25 2012