Last winter, as Michael Morse and the Washington Nationals attempted to hammer out his first salary arbitration contract, they took the negotiations to the deadline before agreeing on a deal for the 2011 season valued at just over $1 million.
The Nationals have activated catcher Ivan Rodriguez from the 15-day disabled list and called up left-hander Tom Milone from the minors to start against the New York Mets.
Baseball fate hasn't been kind this season to former Nationals slugger Adam Dunn, who's struggling through a horrific campaign of unprecedented ugliness.
Fans who began following the Nationals last year, when Stephen Strasburg swept through baseball like Halley's Comet, have a rosier outlook than fans who began following in 2005 when the team relocated to Washington, where it has never produced a winning record but twice managed 100-loss seasons.
The Washington Nationals are .500 as the second half begins for the first time since 2005, their first year in D.C. After a first half that featured gut-wrenching losses, an eight-game win streak, the sudden resignation of a manager and 36 one-run games, they open the second half Friday with a chance to finish with their best record in the nation's capital.
The Washington Nationals were without their best player, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, for 58 of their first 72 games. Their No. 5 hitter, first baseman Adam LaRoche, played 43 games and batted .172 with a torn shoulder muscle before having season-ending surgery. Their $126 million offseason acquisition, right fielder Jayson Werth, has 16 fewer RBI than their rookie second baseman, Danny Espinosa.
If most of the Washington Nationals couldn't recall their last six-game winning streak, it wouldn't be for lack of an apt memory. Only three members of their current 25-man roster were around, and played, the last time they reeled off that many.
Adam LaRoche hoped that it wouldn't come down to shoulder surgery.
After the Washington Nationals' dramatic comeback Tuesday night, Michael Morse appeared in a television interview with the words "beast mode" sprawled in bold across the front of his shirt.