- - Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Washington Nationals have full-blown Washington Capitals fever.

And it appears to be a genuine interest and not a case of jumping on the bandwagon.

“It has been really fun to watch and how the city has rallied around them,” Nationals closer Sean Doolittle, a University of Virginia product, said Tuesday. “They are fun to hang around with … really laid-back guys. I am happy for all of those guys.”

Ryan Zimmerman, the injured Nationals first baseman, and ace pitcher Max Scherzer attended Game 4 on Monday night at Capital One Arena as the Capitals romped, 6-2, and moved to within one win of their first Stanley Cup title. Game 5 will be in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Zimmerman said Tuesday he and his wife, Heather, have enjoyed attending games in past years as well.

“It is good. We have been lucky — I think a lot of our sports team support each other,” Zimmerman said Tuesday. “A lot of our sports teams have been really good the last five or six years. We have had a lot to cheer about. Obviously the run they are on is special. It is cool to see the city rally around them. It is pretty fun to watch.”

Zimmerman and Scherzer wore hockey helmets at the game Monday.

Whose idea was that? “I am not sure. We had to do something different than Mr. (Joe) Gibbs,” Zimmerman said of the former Redskins Super Bowl-winning coach. “We had to one-up him.”

Gibbs got the fans fired up before Game 3 of the NHL finals.

Nationals bench coach Chip Hale wore a Capitals T-shirt and baseball hat during batting practice on Tuesday before a game at Nationals Park with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Dave Martinez, the Nationals manager and former Tampa Bay coach, has exchanged texts with Capitals coach Barry Trotz throughout the season. Martinez was at the game Monday.

“I tell you what, I got nervous last night, I really did,” he said Tuesday. “I am a huge fan. They played really well.”

Washington right fielder Bryce Harper, of course, is rooting for the Golden Knights as a Las Vegas native. A Golden Knights jersey hung near his locker before Tuesday’s game. The Capitals, of course, knocked off Tampa Bay in the second round of the NHL playoffs.

Scherzer, less than 24 hours after watching the Capitals, was slated to take the mound for the Nationals to face Tampa Bay on Tuesday.


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