Nationals Minor League Report: July 20

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Irving Falu had another hit Friday night for the Chiefs (Danny Tripodi)

By Michael Marzzacco

From staff and wire reports:

Syracuse (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Louisville Bats, 5-0, on Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium in front of a crowd of 5,686. Matt Reynolds had two hits for Syracuse and Alejandro De Aza walked three times in the game for the Chiefs.

Louisville (39-55) scored four runs in the top of the first inning off Syracuse starting pitcher Jefry Rodriguez. Mason Williams walked, Rodriguez hit Blake Trahan with a pitch, and Brandon Dixon singled to load the bases. After Rodriguez struck out Gabriel Guerrero, Hernan Iribarren walked with the bases loaded, scoring Williams for a 1-0 Bats lead. After Stuart Turner struck out, Josh VanMeter doubled to right-field to clear the bases as Trahan, Dixon, and Iribarren all scored to give Louisville a 4-0 advantage.

The Bats extended their lead in the fourth. Turner singled and moved to third base on a VanMeter single. C.J. McElroy then grounded into a fielder’s choice where VanMeter was out at second, but McElroy was safe at first, and Turner scored to make it a 5-0 ballgame.

Syracuse (40-57) was shut down on offense by Louisville starting pitcher Justin Nicolino. The left-hander threw seven scoreless innings while allowing just four hits.

Chiefs relievers Koda Glover, Trevor Gott, Jimmy Cordero, and Josh Edwin each pitched one scoreless innings, combining to allow just one hit while striking out six batters without walking anyone.

Syracuse and Louisville meet again on Saturday night. RHP Brady Dragmire will start for the Chiefs opposite RHP Jose Lopez for the Bats. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

Harrisburg (AA Eastern): The Harrisburg Senators blew out the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 12-1 Friday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. The Senators hit a season-high four home runs in the win.

Alec Keller started the scoring in the second by driving in Jake Noll with an RBI single to put the Senators ahead 1-0.

The Senators broke the game open with five runs in the third. With one out, the Senators hit four consecutive single including back-to-back run-scoring hits from Dan Gamache and Raudy Read. With two runners on base and two outs, Noll crushed a three-run home run to left, his second with the Senators, to double the advantage to 6-0.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. plated New Hampshire’s only run in the third with an RBI single to center.

The Senators got that run back quickly, when Osvaldo Abreu and Hunter Jones hit back-to-back doubles to start the fourth to make it 7-1 Senators.

Abreu and Read hit solo home runs in the sixth and seventh respectively to expand the lead to 9-1.

After an Abreu RBI double drove in another run in the eighth, Zach Collier capped the scoring in the ninth with a two-run home run to right as the club took a 12-1 advantage.

Senators starting pitcher Sterling Sharp (1-2) tossed seven innings of one run ball, limiting the Fisher Cats to three hits and two walks while striking out six. The right-hander retired the final 13 batters he faced.

New Hampshire starter Jon Harris (7-4) surrendered six runs on nine hits in just three innings of work.

Read, Keller and Abreu each finished with three hits and seven of the nine Senators position players had multiple hits. Four players knocked multiple RBI led by Noll who drove in three, all on the home run. Harrisburg scored at least one run in every innings except with first and fifth.

The Senators and Fisher Cats play game three of their series Saturday night. Kyle McGowin takes the bump for the Senators against New Hampshire starter Jordan Romano. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. The game can be heard on CBS Sports Harrisburg 96.5 & 95.3 FM and 1400 AM or at www.cbssportsharrisburg.com beginning at 6:50 p.m.

Potomac (High-A Carolina League): Inclement weather has postponed the series finale between the Potomac Nationals (48-46, 11-16) and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (46-51, 12-15) at TicketReturn.com Field.

As the P-Nats are not set to return to Myrtle Beach, SC for the remainder of the 2018 regular season, the teams will make up the game as part of a doubleheader at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, VA on Saturday, August 4th. The doubleheader will feature two seven-inning games, and first pitch of game one is set for 5:30pm.

Gates will open for the 8/4 doubleheader at the regularly scheduled time of 5:00pm. 8/4 is The Sandlot 25th Anniversary Night, which will feature an appearance from Chauncey Leopardi, The Sandlot specialty theme jerseys, and a Chauncey Leopardi bobblehead for the first 1,250 fans. All regular bobblehead policies will remain the same for the doubleheader.

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Series Preview: Nats Open Second Half with Three HUGE Games Against Braves

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Photo: http://www.citlr.com

By Michael Marzzacco

The Washington Nationals enter the second half of the season with a surprising .500 record at 48-48, in third place in the National League East and trailing the first-place Phillies by 5.5 games. Right behind Philadelphia in the standings is the Atlanta Braves, who are just a half game behind them. The Braves head to Nationals Park after the city just hosted the MLB All-Star Game and the festivities that surround it and this might very well be the most important series the Nats face this season.  Continue reading “Series Preview: Nats Open Second Half with Three HUGE Games Against Braves”

All Star Game Proves to be a Memorable Night in D.C.

All Star Game Proves to be a Memorable Night in D.C.
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Photos: @MLB

By Michael Marzzacco

Washington, D.C. and Nationals Park was the center of the baseball universe on Tuesday night. The ballpark nestled on half and South Capitol Street, with the historical backdrop of the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol Building seen from the outfield and the press box served to be a great setting of another memorable All-Star Game. This annual midsummer classic saw the American League prevail in extra innings over the National League by a final of 8-6 in 10 innings. This high explosive offensive game featured a combined 10 home runs, a ASG record.  Continue reading “All Star Game Proves to be a Memorable Night in D.C.”

Nationals Minor League Report July 17-18: Ryan Zimmerman Plays Two Games with AA Harrisburg

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Photo credit: Mick Reinhard @Mayflies

By Michael Marzzacco

Ryan Zimmerman continued his rehab assignment on Tuesday and Wednesday with AA Harrisburg. Find out how he did. Continue reading “Nationals Minor League Report July 17-18: Ryan Zimmerman Plays Two Games with AA Harrisburg”

Nats Minor League Report July 14-16: Koda Glover, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman Do Rehab Assignments with Potomac

Nats Minor League Report July 14-16: Koda Glover, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman Do Rehab Assignments with Potomac

By Michael Marzzacco

While Washington D.C. was lit up for the All-Star Game festivities, including Bryce Harper taking home the Home Run Derby, some Nationals players were going through rehab assignments over in Woodbridge with High-A Potomac. Saturday saw Koda Glover make a relief appearance. Sunday saw Stephen Strasburg, who will return to the Nationals starting rotation this Friday to kick off a big series against the Atlanta Braves. Monday saw Ryan Zimmerman’s first action of the season.  Continue reading “Nats Minor League Report July 14-16: Koda Glover, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman Do Rehab Assignments with Potomac”

Bryce Harper Wins Home Run Derby in Epic Fashion at Nats Park

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Photo: @ESPNStatsInfo

By Michael Marzzacco

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This night may very well have been five years in the making. The last time Bryce Harper took part in a Home Run Derby, he came up on the short end. He didn’t partake in another one until Tuesday night at Nationals Park. In fitting fashion in front of the hometown crowd, their hero delivered a moment Washington baseball fans would never forgetContinue reading “Bryce Harper Wins Home Run Derby in Epic Fashion at Nats Park”

Harper, for Maybe the Final Time as a National, Gives DC a Moment They’ll Never Forget

Harper, for Maybe the Final Time as a National, Gives DC a Moment They’ll Never Forget

By Matthew Jacobson

Often when I write for this site, I do my best not to mince words. This season, by the standards set by just about everyone, from national media to local media, to the coaching staff and players, and to the fans, has been a disaster. The Nationals sit 5.5 games back of the first place Philadelphia Phillies (who are doing all they can to acquire Manny Machado from the Orioles), their star players (save Anthony Rendon and Max Scherzer) have all fallen below what we expected of them come the beginning of the season. There have been calls to fire the manager, trade star players, and even sell at the deadline, a concept that would have been considered unheard of at the beginning of this season.

But last night, none of that mattered. Last night, for possibly the last time, Bryce Harper shined on the national stage, repping himself, his team, and his city.

Harper, who made a few enemies by showing up to the Stanley Cup Finals in DC wearing Vegas Golden Knight gear (Bryce was born and raised in Sin City), more than made up for it last night.  Harper was introduced to raucous applause in front of his home fans, and himself was decked out with an American flag arm sleeve and a DC flag headband. Personally, I think he looked ridiculous, but at the same time, it was awesome to see him embrace a city that during the past 6 years has embraced him as one of our own.

Harper’s first-round opponent was Freddie Freeman, a man who has made a living torturing the Nats on the baseball diamond, and the fans let him have it. For all the crap that DC fans have had to put up with during the extensive “loser generation,” these past few months have shown just what a championship can do. Freeman joked about getting booed, but the crowd wasn’t joking. They were behind their hometown hero, and it helped. Harper continuously egged the crowd on during each of his three matchups, and afterward sang their praises, saying how much of a boost they gave him.

The ballpark was electric last night on a national stage, and often I found myself getting emotional, thinking about how this could be the last time Harper puts on this type of show for his home fans in DC. Harper has done his best not to discuss publicly his upcoming unrestricted free agency, but with the Nationals struggling as much as they are, it’s difficult not to think about the future. Harper, who plays the game with incredible passion and vigor (much to the chagrin “baseball purists”), likely wants to end up in a place where he can win. Before this season, we all felt that the Nationals were that place, and despite a closing window, DC has proven itself to be a great town for baseball, and last night’s festivities served to reinforce that notion.

Harper defeated Freeman, Max Muncy, and Kyle Schwarber, en route to a home run derby victory at Nationals Park. I could go into more detail about how he won, including an epic final-round showdown with Schwarber that would’ve been worth the price of admission alone, but I feel like this sort of topical analysis doesn’t show just how significant this moment was for DC baseball fans.

Harper more than likely won’t be a National after this year, which is just the unfortunate reality of sports these days. The Islanders saw it with John Tavares. The Oakland Athletics have seen it time and time again with big stars whom they could not afford to pay. Hell, Johnny Damon left the Red Sox a year after ending the curse to sign with the Yankees. Players have the right to make their money, and Bryce Harper is no different. The Nationals likely have to play .600 baseball just to have a shot at the postseason.

Looking back on this year a few years from now, what will likely be Harper’s last with the team that drafted and developed him, may be unpleasant. At the very least, we’ll have last night to look back on fondly.