Found July 04, 2013 on
Fox Sports Wisconsin:
After ending June and opening July with double-digit run totals, the Washington Nationals have again gone cold at the plate.
The Nationals hope to get their offense back on track and avoid their first series loss at home in nearly two months Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Though Washington (42-42) is among the majors' lowest-scoring teams with 306 runs, it displayed some pre-Fourth of July fireworks by totaling 23 runs and 26 hits in victories over the New York Mets and Milwaukee on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
The Nationals had 17 extra-base hits over those two games but have only one in the last two. They stranded 10 runners in Tuesday's 4-0 loss to the Brewers (34-49) and were held to five hits in a 4-1 defeat Wednesday. Rookie infielder Anthony Rendon homered in the seventh inning to snap Washington's 15-inning scoreless drought.
"It's putting me in my loony bin," manager Davey Johnson said of his team's offensive issues.
"It looks like we're getting good at-bats. We're just not getting it done. I don't have any answers."
Star outfielder Bryce Harper is 0 for 8 in the last two games after homering Monday in his return after missing more than a month with bursitis in his knee. His costly error led to two Milwaukee runs in the sixth inning Wednesday, and he missed a fly ball during the Brewers' four-run eighth Tuesday.
Harper has hit .138 in his last eight games at Nationals Park, where Washington has not lost a series since dropping two of three to the Cubs from May 10-12. A defeat Thursday would saddle the Nationals with their fourth home series loss of the year after having five throughout last season.
Washington is expected to have catcher Wilson Ramos for the first time since straining his hamstring in mid-May. He's hit .250 with two homers and six RBIs in 14 games.
The Nationals hope to bounce back against Milwaukee rookie Donovan Hand (0-1, 2.63 ERA), who has thrown 86 of 116 pitches for strikes in two career starts.
Both of them came last month as he pitched 9 2-3 innings and allowed two runs - both solo homers over five frames of a 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday.
"Other than the home runs, I felt good about the way I pitched," Hand said. "I kept us in the ballgame for five and gave us a chance to win."
Manager Ron Roenicke has been pleased with the right-hander, who has a 3.14 ERA in nine relief appearances this season.
"I thought Donny threw the ball really well," said Roenicke, whose team has won two in a row following a six-game slide. "He understands how to pitch, he understands how to throw strikes."
Fellow rookie Taylor Jordan (0-1, 2.08) will make his first career home start for Washington. The right-hander gave up three runs - one earned - and five hits with two walks in 4 1-3 innings of a 5-1 loss to the New York Mets in his major league debut Saturday.
"I liked what I saw. First good outing," Johnson said of Jordan, who went a combined 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA at Double-A and Class-A this year.
He'll try to cool off Milwaukee leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki, who is 6 for 15 with three RBIs in the series after batting .175 with an RBI in his previous 11.
Talented Brewers shortstop Jean Segura, however, is 1 for 16 in his last three games following a 12-game hitting streak in which he batted .347.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Dan Haren will likely return to the Nationals’ rotation July 9 at Philadelphia. He threw a 70-pitch simulated game this afternoon at Nationals Park.
Dan Haren is on track to start July 9 in Philly, and he wants to come back with a better variance in velocity. http://t.co/YxiB4aLkE5
— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 3, 2013
“He threw better than I thought he would...
Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has gained independence from the disabled list. MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports that the Nationals will activate Ramos in time for the 11:05 Eastern game with the Milwaukee Brewers. CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman confirmed the news Thursday morning.
Wilson Ramos activated and in #Nats lineup. Jhonatan Solano optioned to AAA....
AT A LOSS
Nationals skipper Davey Johnson has resorted to humor in order to deal with the team's hitting struggles, mentioning Ouija boards and saying, "I am going crazy."
Strasburg, after being asked about the lack of run support in his starts this season:
"You know, I'm tired of talking about that. These guys battle every
single day just like I do. It just didn't work out for us tonight. But,
I'd like to get over that. I'd like to stop answering questions about
run support." (Stephen Strasburg on run support,...
Earlier in June, frustrated over the Washington Nationals going on a mini-slide, outfielder Jayson Werth eloquently stated what he believed the team needed to do in order to get the competitive fire burning again in their bellies. Among other things, Werth said, “You’ve got to show up tomorrow ready to eat somebody’s face.” The quote developed a [...]The post Miami writer...
Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez signed a hefty contract extension over the winter that will keep him in Washington through at least 2016. The deal is reportedly worth $42 million and could be worth as much as $65 million if the Nationals exercise their team options in 2016 and 2017. The contract certainly gives the [...]
Davey Johnson is having problems with his Ouija board.
The Washington Nationals manager was in rare form Thursday before an 11 a.m. Fourth of July start against the Milwaukee Brewers, apparently having decided that humor was the best way to deal with the team's hitting woes.
He explained his decision to move Ian Desmond to the No. 2 spot in the batting order by saying: '...
Bryce Harper homered in his at-bat back from the disabled list, and people who have watched Bryce Harper for the last year or so are not at all surprised. The home run was the 13th of his season and 35th of his career.
I watched this game in the sports book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Harper’s hometown. Harper and the Nationals won me a lot of money in their 10-5 drubbing of...
When the Washington Nationals first called up Anthony Rendon from AA Harrisburg in late April, I wrote how he could likely replace Ryan Zimmerman at third base if the Nationals decide to eventually move Zimmerman to firstbase due to his erratic throwing. Now, after being called up for a second time, it looks as though Rendon could replace Danny Espinosa at second.
Wilson Ramos hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning Thursday in his Fourth of July return to the Washington Nationals, leading an 8-5 matinee win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Back after missing 44 games with a strained left hamstring, Ramos had three hits and a career-high five RBIs as the Nationals earned a split of the four-game series and moved back above .500 in...
Stephen Strasburg had hitters flailing at curveballs for seven scoreless innings Tuesday night, getting all eight of his strikeouts with the same pitch in a magnificent outing that was wasted when the Milwaukee Brewers scored off the Washington Nationals bullpen for a 4-0 victory.
Strasburg put on a gem of performance that dropped his ERA to 2.24 and nearly overshadowed the game...
A lineup change and the return of Wilson Ramos may have gotten their offense on the right track, but the Washington Nationals haven't had much trouble scoring lately with Gio Gonzalez on the mound.
The Nationals look to build off their latest effort at the plate for the left-hander Friday night when they host the San Diego Padres, losers of a season-high six straight.
A short day on Monday means we only have a few trots to look at today. Let's get to it!
Home Run of the Day: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals - 17.49 seconds [video]
Two pitches into his return to the lineup after missing a month on the DL, Bryce Harper reminded everyone why they missed him so much. His 17.49 second trot was definitely quick, but still not fast enough...
Stephen Strasburg struck out Aramis Ramirez in the second inning Tuesda night with a nasty hook. Ramirez lost his helmet. Enjoy the endless loop above.
(Photo of smiling Strasburg from last night via @dcsportsbog)
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Video: Stephen Strasburg enjoys Wale, Lil Wayne, Garth Brooks
"I don’t have any answers...just kind of...nothing. Get nothing going. It’s putting me in the loony bin." (Davey Johnson, via MASN/postgame press conference, 7/3/2013)
Brewers 4, Nationals 1: Death, taxes, and no answers from Davey Johnson.
So much for turning points: After the great 23-run outbreak of 2013, Nats score one run total in two games, drop two...