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NATIONALS WATCH

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.

Latest Blog Entries

Nationals mourn the passing of Jake Allen

Condolences go out to Davey Johnson, senior advisor to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, and his family as they mourn the passing of Johnson's stepson Jake, who passed away Tuesday from infection and pneumonia. He was 34.

Ankiel sits again: today's lineups

Rick Ankiel is not in the Nationals lineup for the second straight day as Jerry Hairston Jr. again fills in for him in center field and Ian Desmond returns to the second spot in the batting order.

The Nationals vs. today's starter: RHP Vance Worley

The Nationals' lone victory in the season series with the Phillies has come against right-hander Joe Blanton but, with Blanton on the disabled list with impingement in his right elbow, the Nationals don't have the good fortune of facing Blanton this time around. Instead they'll get rookie Vance Worley and the element of the uknown could work in favor of either side. Only three Nationals have ever faced Worley in his brief major league career (he's started just three big league games). But one member of the Nationals is quite familiar with Worley. Second baseman Danny Espinosa was teammates with Worley at Long Beach State University. Here are their limited numbers against Worley.

Werth's reflections from his first return to Philadelphia

Long before the Nationals lost 4-1 to the Phillies on Tuesday night, before the 45,695 fans found their place inside Citizens Bank Park and hours before they'd get their first glimpse at Jayson Werth playing inside their ballpark in a Nationals jersey, the Nationals right fielder took a different tour through the bowels of the park.

Ankiel sits, Desmond bats second: today's lineup

Rick Ankiel is out of the starting lineup today and the center fielder, who made two diving plays on Monday night -- one that was a catch and another that was not -- and was seen in the clubhouse postgame icing his hand, may be getting a day because of injury. Here are the full lineups.

A note about the Nationals' good fortune at catcher

Wilson Ramos hitting cleanup on Monday night was more a product of first baseman Adam LaRoche getting the day off. But while that particular instance may have been a product of circumstance, it may not be long before the rookie is considered for the role on a regular basis -- and another example of how fortunate the Nationals were to have acquired Ramos to add to their arsenal with Ivan Rodriguez.

On the road again, Nationals start tough stretch in Philadelphia

The Nationals have played 28 games this season but as they open a nine-game, 10-day road trip through three National League East foes tonight in Philadelphia, they've essentially got a clean slate. A .500 team through the season's first month-plus, the Nationals will put the assets that got them to this point -- mainly solid pitching -- to the test against Philadelpha, Florida and Atlanta. Plus, a look at how they've done in the past against LHP Cole Hamels.

If the Nationals are going to break out of their offensive funk, veteran leadership might just be how

After Michael Morse and Jerry Hairston Jr. each struck out in the fifth inning Monday night to strand Wilson Ramos, Hairston took the opportunity -- as a veteran -- to offer some advice to Morse. In the seventh, Morse drove in the game-winning run and Hairston followed with an RBI-double to give the Nationals their only runs of the night. To hear them tell it, it was an important one.

Fortuitous timing gives Nationals' Military Appreciation Night new meaning

There's clearly bigger news going on in the world today than the Nationals and Giants' series finale tonight at Nationals Park but the Nationals -- with credit to some fortuitous timing -- will be able to highlight the news of Osama Bin Laden's death with a pre-planned military appreciation night that could not have come at a better time.

Bullpen roles becoming more defined

An interesting thing happened as the Nationals were en route to a 5-2 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon. They got closer to defining roles in their previously-undefined bullpen.

About that intentional walk in the seventh...

With John Lannan working in a 1-1 game with runners on second and third, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman made a decision that, ultimately cost his team the game. Instead of bringing in reliever Tyler Clippard, who'd been warming, to face Giants' backup catcher Eli Whiteside, who'd homered once off Lannan already, Riggleman called for the intentional walk. Loading the bases for the pitchers spot, pinch hitter Aubrey Huff then walked on a 3-2 changeup to force home the game-winning run. It was a decision that haunted Riggleman and he took full responsibility for it after the game.