The Nationals are in a tough predicament. They could sell everything and everyone off, citing poor fundamentals, bad hitting, and an unsalvageable bullpen, thus rebooting the farm system, with the hope of coming back stronger by, say, 2021. Or they could invest in the bullpen—though it’s unclear who they would invest in—and hope for the best. Neither seems particularly appealing.
Anyhow, here’s the news from Nationals Park:
Nationals on the brink after embarrassing sweep (MASN)
It looked like the Nationals were going to get back on the right track heading into Flushing. Swept out of Queens at the hands of bullpen implosions, late-inning rallies, and every other hurdle conceivable, from not cashing in with runners in scoring position to baserunning errors to defensive miscues.
Obama surprises scholar-athletes at Youth Baseball Academy with a visit (MASN)
It was the end of the school year, which meant football, baseball, softball, and Barack.
What else can Nats do to prevent ship from sinking? (MASN)
"Maybe they’re trying too hard. Maybe the fear of losing in the big moment - a fear that, quite frankly, has hovered around this team since the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2012 National League Division Series - is superseding everything else."
The All-Star Closer Who Is Trying to Save Bookstores (WSJ)
Sean Doolittle needs his books, and he doesn't want to hit Barnes & Noble. Enter the indy bookstore quest of 2019.
With foot still sore, Ryan Zimmerman backs off running (MASN)
Unsurprisingly, plantar fasciitis is taking longer than a week or two to heal for Ryan Zimmerman, who is too sore to run. In the meantime, Aníbal Sánchez will make a simulated start this afternoon at Nats Park.
Who cares about Dave Martinez? In a lost season, Nationals face tougher decisions. (WaPo)
Forget about Davey — he's on the way out at this point. But let's talk about Max Scherzer's departure, Anthony Rendon getting traded, Sean Doolittle closing up shop in Washington — so the Nats can kickstart their rebuild with Trea Turner, Juan Soto, and Victor Robles at the center of it all.
Juan Soto grew up idolizing Robinson Canó. Now he’s playing against him regularly. (WaPo)
Robinson Canó got traded into the NL East — and he immediately FaceTimed Juan Soto after a tipoff from a friend, who had idolized him for the better part of a decade. Now, Canó has officially taken the mantle as Soto's mentor, giving him any advice he could possibly need and creating a relationship that will span decades of experience.
Two managers on the hot seat, the Marlins’ mess and a pennant up for grabs. Our NL East beat writers weigh in on baseball’s most perplexing division (The Athletic)
Britt Ghiroli thinks that if everything goes right—the Nationals find some relievers, the rotation keeps producing well and Hellickson and Sánchez rebound, Juan Soto and Victor Robles improve—then they might just squeak out a division title.
Barack Obama visits Nationals Youth Academy (MLb.com)
President Obama got to take some hacks and hung out with the scholar-athletes at the YBA, causing quite a commotion.
Nats Manager Dave Martinez kicks dirt on home plate, spikes cap after getting ejected (WaPo)
Martinez has his routine, and he gets a good kick out of it when he knows he's ejected.
Nationals swept by Mets after wasting another late-inning lead; Dave Martinez ejected (WaPo)
The Nats fought back, for what it was worth. But this time it was Wander Suero watching the opposition celebrate as the Nats' bullpen dropped yet another game, putting them 10 games out of first place and bringing their losing streak to five.
Nats manager Martinez fires hat, kicks dirt, ejected vs Mets (USA Today)
"I just didn't think he swung," Martinez said. "We just got into it. All I did was tell him to ask for help. That's why the first base umpire is there. He didn't like it."
ESPN’s ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ mascots face uncertain future after Presidents Race debut (WaPo)
The mascots aren't going to any other Sunday Night Baseball games, but they may come back to Nationals Park for another race next year.
Nats' frustrations boil over in Martinez's ejection (MLB.com)
Only the Astros in 2005 ever rebounded to make the playoffs from a start this abysmal — and the Nats will need to win at a .634 clip to make the playoffs.
Bowden’s MLB Rookie Tracker: Ranking the contenders, so far, in thrilling Rookie of the Year races (The Athletic)
Robles is the fourth best prospect on the list, third in the NL behind Fernando Tatis Jr. and Austin Riley.