Hey, remember when Victor Robles’s defense was one of the big questions of the season? Good times, those were.
Here’s the news from Nationals Park:
Joe Ross extends bid to stay in Nationals’ rotation with another stellar start (WaPo)
Joe Ross, after a tumultuous few years, looks like he's finally fallen into a good rhythm for the Nats — meaning that even while Max Scherzer is on the injured list, the Nats are anything but out of it. It also means that the Nats will have to make a tough decision regarding who stays up when Max Scherzer returns from the IL.
Max Scherzer’s two-inning simulated game had Dave Martinez ‘amped.’ Now, Nats wait. (WaPo)
“Seeing him throw in the sim game, I was a little amped up myself, that he’s another step closer to recovering and coming back,” Martinez said. “That’s a good sign. I’m going to worry about the game today, focus on the game, and then hopefully tomorrow we get good news and he feels good.”
Nationals’ Yan Gomes trying to fix swing (WaPo)
Kevin Long figured out what Yan Gomes' problem is. Yan Gomes recognizes the problem — he's jerking his hands forward — but it's so impossible to feel when it's happening, so he doesn't know quite how to fix the problem. In fact, it's possible that it's getting to the point where the Nats may not consider exercising their $9 million club option for Gomes in 2020.
Joe Ross performs in Nationals win (MLB.com)
Joe Ross, finally, has tapped back into what he had in the first two years of his career, flummoxing the Reds and making a case for himself to stay up in Washington.
Max Scherzer throws simulated game (MLB.com)
Aníbal Sánchez's playlist included Still D.R.E. and Baby Shark, as most playlists do. Also, Max wore his full uniform because of course he did.
Sarris: What makes a slider good? (The Athletic)
“I think it’s a swing and miss pitch because it looks so much like a fastball,” slider master Corbin told me recently. “It comes out of the same slot and you can locate it well. The spin must look so much like a fastball, since they have so much trouble picking it up.”
Injury and ailment no big deal for Soto and Dozier in 3-1 win (MASN)
Before the game, questions remained about Juan Soto's ankle and Brian Dozier's stomach. Two homers later, those questions are pretty much gone — and it doesn't hurt that Soto is fine-tuning his swing alongside Kevin Long.
Ross dominates again, bullpen pieces together the rest (MASN)
Joe Ross, believe it or not, has the longest scoreless innings streak of any Nationals pitcher this season at 17.1 innings — and he got the Nats through yet another game, further cementing him and Erick Fedde as the pillars of the rotation as of late.
Juan Soto and Brian Dozier return to the starting lineup (MASN)
“[Soto] checked all the boxes. We got him on the field, he ran angles. He turned like he was running the bases. The biggest thing was the turns,” Martinez said. “He said he felt great. He was bugging me yesterday to go in the game and I told him to just sit down and relax. But he was not happy that he had to sit and watch. He kept bugging to pinch-hit and I was like, ‘Just sit down, OK? You’ll be fine.’ “
After sim game, Nats must decide if Scherzer is ready to return (MASN)
Max Scherzer pitched a sim game – now, the Nats need to figure out two questions: how his back will respond, and if he can jump straight into the majors without taking a rehab stint. (Also, Aníbal Sánchez played "Still D.R.E.," Scherzer's walkup song, on a boombox, which is fantastic.)
The Nationals are a very dangerous team. We just don’t know to whom yet. (WaPo)
The Nats, with an old bench and a bullpen full of scorned relievers on top of a rotation filled out by Triple-A arms. They're a throwback of a team, close knit — and it's unclear how long they'll stay together. Adam Eaton may not even be on the team come 2020. But the group of vets has banded together with players the rest of the league considers useless coming to a lot of use — and if Max Scherzer stays in one piece, they could do some damage come October. Then again, they may fall apart.
MLB Playoff Standings: Mets surging up wild-card standings (Sports Illustrated)
"The Verdict: Like the Mets, the Nationals benefit from the rest of the wild-card competition being thoroughly mediocre. I think they hang on, creating a must-watch matchup between Scherzer and deGrom in the wild-card game."
Safety Net Saves Fan But Not Beer (Deadspin)
The good news: where she's sitting, the beer is free. Or cheap. Or something like that.