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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 13, Indians 11; Indians 13, Blue Jays 4: This was a long day for everyone. The first game in the doubleheader experienced a nearly two-hour rain delay and then lasted nearly five hours of game time. It was still a good day for Yangervis Solarte, though. He had five hits, a walk and six RBI in seven plate appearances, capped off with an 11th inning grand slam which gave the Jays a 13-9 lead which held up despite Roberto Osuna‘s best efforts. Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin also had two-run blasts. Francisco Lindor homered twice in a losing cause.  And that was just in the FIRST game of the twin bill. He had three hits in Game 2 despite the fact that he cut his lip on a face-plant slide in Game 1. Beyond that, though, in Game 2 the Indians offense kept going while the Jays’ did not. Jose Ramirez hit a two-run homer and Erik Gonzalez knocked in four with a couple of RBI doubles. The win was Terry Francona’s 1,500th as a manager. After this day, however, all he probably wanted was sleep.

Yankees 6, Astros 5: New York built a 3-0 lead after three, Houston took a 5-3 lead by the eighth and the Yankees came back with a three-run top of the ninth via a Gleyber Torres two-run single and an Aaron Judge ground out RBI. The Astros put two men on via a strikeout/wild pitch and an single and that left Aroldis Chapman facing reigning MVP Jose Altuve with the game on the line. Altuve saw three pitches, all triple-digit fastballs and a whif-look-whif later, the game was over:

White Sox 6, Twins 5: Trayce Thompson hit a walkoff homer for the Sox, putting an end to their four-game losing streak. What was the secret, Trayce?

“I was just looking for a fastball to hit and trying not to do too much with it. Luckily, I got a pitch that I could handle and didn’t miss it.”

I really want someone to put together a supercut of players saying that. Because they say it all the time, almost verbatim. I used to just think it was an informal copying of what they hear other players say in such situations, but I’m increasingly of the belief that they actually teach them to say exactly that in formal media training sessions. “Bull Durham” is 30 years old but it got so much right about baseball and, if anything, it’s more accurate today than it was in 1988.

Braves 11, Mets 0: This was a whuppin.’ Julio Teheran had a no-hitter until there were two outs in the seventh and the bullpen completed the shutout. Meanwhile, Jason Vargas, Matt Harvey were no match for the Braves bats, giving up six runs and five runs, respectively. Kurt Suzuki, Ronald Acuña, Nick Markakis and Ozzie Albies all homered with the latter two driving in three a piece. The Braves sweep the Mets in the three-game series. New York has lost 11 of 17 after an 11-1 start.

Nationals 3, Pirates 1: Five wins in a row for the Nats. Jeremy Hellickson tossed five and two-thirds innings of shutout ball, backed by homers from Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman. Sean Doolittle picked up a five-out save. Washington is back to .500.

Royals 10, Tigers 6: Lucas Duda had three hits and drove in four, and Jorge Soler, Alex Gordon and Sal Perez all went deep. Miguel Cabrera left with a strained hamstring on a bad day for Detroit.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 2: The Dodgers rode a four-run eighth to victory. Those four runs came courtesy of Jorge De La Rosa who was all over the place, balking to advance the runners he inherited and then uncorking two run-scoring wild pitches. Two wins in a row for the Dodgers have to make them feel good after how crappy they’d been playing. Two losses in a row for the Diamondbacks resulted in a split of the four-game set, which put an end to their series victory streak at nine.

Rangers 11, Red Sox 5: Nomar Mazara homered for the third straight game — a three run shot — and drove in five on the night. David Price got rocked for nine runs, seven earned. He’s lost three in a row, giving up 19 runs — 16 earned — in that span. Mookie Betts homered again in the loss. In other news, check out this nifty slide from Eduardo Nunez. He was called out at first but it was overturned on replay:

Angels 12, Orioles 3: Albert Pujols picked up hit number 2,999 on a two-run double as the Angels put up double digits on the Orioles once again. Mike Trout had an RBI triple during the Halos’ five-run first inning, and added an RBI single in the three-run second. The Angels scored 25 runs in the three game series. The Orioles have lost 15 of their last 18 games.

Mariners 4, Athletics 1: Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz knocked in a couple each in the first post-Ichiro-Era game for the Mariners. Wade LeBlanc and a bunch of relievers combined to stifle the A’s offense. The highlight of the game, though, was Dee Gordon striking the bat-out Ichiro pose in tribute before his first at bat of the game. Which, unfortunately, is not up at the MLB video site or any of our licensed photo sites, so jut pretend you can see him doing it and pretend you were touched.

Washington Nationals roster and schedule for 2020

Nationals roster and schedule
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The 2020 season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Washington Nationals roster and schedule:

NATIONALS ROSTER (projected)

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Nationals roster to begin the season:

Catchers:

Yan Gomes
Kurt Suzuki

Infielders:

Eric Thames
Starlin Castro
Carter Kieboom
Trea Turner
Howie Kendrick
AsdrĂșbal Cabrera

Outfielders:

Juan Soto
Victor Robles
Adam Eaton
Michael Taylor
Andrew Stevenson

Starters:

Max Scherzer
Steven Strasburg
Patrick Corbin
AnĂ­bal SĂĄnchez
Austin Voth
Erick Fedde

Relievers:

Sean Doolittle
Daniel Hudson
Will Harris
Tanner Rainey
Wander Suero
Hunter Strickland
Roenis ElĂ­as


BREAKDOWN:

The Nationals shocked the world last year, recovering from an abysmal start to the season to win an NL Wild Card before cutting through the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Astros to win the first championship in franchise history. While the roster is largely unchanged, there is one gaping void: the loss of third baseman Anthony Rendon, who signed with the Angels. Rendon, a perennial MVP candidate, led the majors with 126 doubles and the NL with 44 doubles while smacking 34 homers with a 1.010 OPS last season. He’ll be replaced by the young Carter Kieboom and the veteran Kendrick and Cabrera. Those are some large shoes to fill.

With Rendon out of the picture, Juan Soto becomes the crux of the Nationals’ offense. Last year, he tied Rendon with 34 homers while knocking in 110 runs. He also, impressively, drew 108 walks, by far the highest on the team. The Nationals will likely have to utilize their speed even more. Last year, Soto stole 12 bases while Adam Eaton swiped 15, Victor Robles 28, and Trea Turner 35.

As was the case in 2019, the pitching will be how the Nationals punch their ticket to the postseason. Max Scherzer finished third in Cy Young balloting, his seventh consecutive top-five finish. The club retained Stephen Strasburg and brings back Patrick Corbin as well. There really isn’t a better 1-2-3 in the game. The rotation will be rounded out by AnĂ­bal SĂĄnchez and one of Austin Voth or Erick Fedde, though both are likely to see starts during the season.

The back of the bullpen is led by closer Sean Doolittle, who posted an uncharacteristically high — for him — 4.05 ERA last year. He still saved 29 games and averaged better than a strikeout per inning, so they’re in good hands. Daniel Hudson and Will Harris will work the seventh and eighth innings leading up to Doolittle.

As mentioned in the Braves preview, it’s tough to make any definitive statements about a 60-game season. Variance is going to have much more of an effect than it would in a 162-game season. Additionally, the NL East is highly competitive. It would be wrong to say with any degree of confidence that the Nationals will win the NL East. For example, the updated PECOTA standings from Baseball Prospectus only project a five-game difference between first and last place in the NL East. What we can say is that the Nationals will give everyone a run for their money in 2020.

NATIONALS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

  • July 23, 25-26: vs. Yankees
  • July 27-28: vs. Blue Jays
  • July 29-30: @ Blue Jays
  • July 31-August 2: @ Marlins
  • August 4-5: vs. Mets
  • August 7-9: vs. Orioles
  • August 10-13: @ Mets
  • August 14-16: @ Orioles
  • August 17-19: @ Braves
  • August 21-24: vs. Marlins
  • August 25-27: vs. Phillies
  • August 28-30: @ Red Sox
  • August 31-September 3: @ Phillies
  • September 4-6: @ Braves
  • September 7-8: vs. Rays
  • September 10-13: vs. Braves
  • September 15-16: @ Rays
  • September 18-20: @ Marlins
  • September 21-23: vs. Phillies
  • September 24-27: vs. Mets

The entire Nationals schedule can be seen here.