Tag: Ryan Zimmerman

Denard Span

Denard Span’s return means the Nationals finally have their projected Opening Day lineup


Center fielder Denard Span is off the disabled list after missing the past six weeks with a lower back injury and for the first time all season the Nationals have their planned Opening Day starting lineup available for a game.

Here’s the lineup it took 124 games for the Nationals to have together and healthy:

C – Wilson Ramos
1B – Ryan Zimmerman
2B – Anthony Rendon
3B – Yunel Escobar
SS – Ian Desmond
LF – Jayson Werth
CF – Denard Span
RF – Bryce Harper

That’s a pretty good group, which is a big part of why so many preseason projections had the Nationals running away with the NL East. Instead they’re 62-61 and 5.5 games behind the Mets

The Nationals have lost six straight, eight of ten and are now under .500


Back in March the Nationals were everyone’s favorites. They had just signed Max Scherzer to a mega deal which put him alongside Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, and Gio Gonzalez as perhaps the best rotation in baseball. They had a core of guys with both speed and defensive bonafides in Anthony Rendon, Denard Span, Ian Desmond. They had Jayson Werth. They had a healthy Bryce Harper and a healthy Ryan Zimmerman.

They also had, in terms of competition, a Braves team which decided to punt the year and rebuild, a Phillies team which looked like a disaster and Mets and Marlins teams which, while on the upswing, didn’t figure to match the firepower of the Washington Nationals. Simply put, no one in their right mind did anything but pick the Nationals to win the East and win it easily. And they still may win the NL East. There’s a month and a half of baseball to go and anything can happen.

Right now, however, they are looking terrible. They’ve lost six in a row, eight of ten and find themselves at 58-59, four and a half games back of the Mets. Who, by the way, also got swept this weekend, which means the Nats lost a prime opportunity to make up ground. Or, if you’re more of an optimist, saved the Nats from being buried even deeper than they are.

Also, if you’re optimistic, you can say that it was gonna be an ugly road trip to begin with. Yes, they’re 1-6 on the west coast swing and were just shut out for the third time in six games, but those three shutouts came at the hands of Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner, who are probably the three best pitchers in the game. And, after an off-day today, they do get to play the Rockies who are no great shakes. We’ll just forget for a moment that the Nats dropped two of three to the Rockies at home last week.

No matter how you want to spin it, the numbers don’t lie and the numbers are pretty ugly. The Nats are 10-20 since the All-Star break. While four and a half games don’t seem like an insurmountable deficit, it becomes harder and harder the longer time goes on. If the Mets play at their current pace the rest of the way the Nats have to go something like 12-games over .500 for the remainder of the season to beat ’em out. And, because the wild card deficit is so big — nine and a half games — there is no margin for error here. Second place means watching the playoffs from home.

Time to get moving, Nats. You have a lot of expectations to live up to and not a lot of time left to do it.

Matt Williams on Bryce Harper’s ejection: “He needs to stay in the baseball game”

MIAMI, FL - JULY 28:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals looks on during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on July 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was ejected from Friday’s game against the Mets in the top of the 11th inning after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Jerry Meals. You can watch here to see how events unfolded.

Harper was angry about the strike zone all night and had a legitimate gripe in this case, as the called third strike was outside (hat-tip Mark Zuckerman of CSNMA.com). However, he let his frustration get the best of him in the situation and got right in Meals’ face. Meals gave him the opportunity to walk away, but he eventually had no choice but to eject him from the ballgame.

Harper’s ejection put the Nationals in a bit of a bind, as they ended up having to use Dan Uggla at first base for the first time in his career and Ryan Zimmerman in left field. It didn’t have an impact on the finish, as the Mets won 2-1 in the bottom of the 12th on a walk-off homer from Wilmer Flores, but Nationals manager Matt Williams told James Wagner of the Washington Post that Harper’s actions were unacceptable given the circumstances.

“He needs to stay in the baseball game,” said Williams after the game, visibly frustrated, perhaps by the 2-1 walk-off loss, Harper’s ejection or that two relievers were unavailable. “He needs to stay in the baseball game.”

Harper said after the game that he was ” sticking up for my team and myself,” but he does a lot more good for his team when he’s on the field as opposed to sitting in the clubhouse. Williams said he plans to remind him to keep his cool, which is important with the Nationals playing some crucial games down the stretch.

Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman ready to rejoin Nationals

Jayson Werth
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Washington is starting to get healthy, with both left fielder Jayson Werth and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman expected to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Nationals’ lineup tonight against the Marlins.

Werth has been out since mid-May with a fractured wrist, while Zimmerman has been out since early June with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Their returns come just a few days after infielder Anthon Rendon came off the shelf.

Center fielder Denard Span and right-hander Stephen Strasburg remain on the ever-crowded Nationals disabled list, but Strasburg is slated to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Wednesday.

Nationals activate Anthony Rendon from the disabled list

Anthony Rendon

The first-place Nationals have limped out of the All-Star break, but they are about to get a boost to their lineup, as infielder Anthony Rendon has been activated from the 15-day disabled list after missing the past month with a strained left quad.

Rendon began a minor league rehab assignment a week ago with High-A Potomac and went 8-for-17 (.471) with two doubles over six games. He’s playing second base and batting second in his return tonight against the Pirates. Meanwhile, Yunel Escobar is back at third base after missing two games with a sore left wrist.

Rendon began the season on the disabled list with a sprained MCL in his left knee before suffering an oblique strain, so he has only appeared in 18 games this season. Finally having him healthy down the stretch would be huge for the Nationals, who also have Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, and Denard Span making their way back from injuries.