The bullpen looks improved from earlier in the season; there’s no doubt about that. Whether or not you would trust it in the playoffs, well...
Here’s what’s making noise in Minneapolis:
Sean Doolittle’s High-Stakes Fight Against Pressure and Time (Fangraphs)
"One of the more challenging aspects of blaming Doolittle’s struggles on injury issues is that, for the most part, he’s throwing his fastball just as hard as he did a year ago."
Nationals’ Dave Martinez tearfully shares post-9/11 memories (WaPo)
Davey Martinez, manning first base as Mike Piazza sent Shea Stadium into delirium, had to look past the cameras, his eyes welling up with tears.
Questions about Ryan Zimmerman’s return receiving early answers (NBCSW)
Ryan Zimmerman, finally healthy after an agonizing season of rehabbing, has played seven of ten possible games, hitting .304 with three homers and 10 RBI. It's not a guarantee that the level of play will continue throughout September, but it's just about the best-case scenario.
Bowden: Checking in on the top 15 players with upcoming options — who will be picked up? Who will opt out? (The Athletic)
Jim Bowden thinks Stephen Strasburg will opt out, making him the second-most exciting free-agent on the market behind Gerrit Cole and ahead of Anthony Rendon.
Nationals-Twins score: Stephen Strasburg, bullpen pace 6-2 win (WaPo)
The Nats, having lost five of their last six, needed a win on Wednesday night. Aside from some late-inning drama, it felt like everything went just right.
Piazza's post-9/11 moment still haunts Martinez (Nats up 5-2) - (MASN)
"Davey Martinez remembers all of it, because he lived through all of it. And he had a front row seat to one of that fall’s defining baseball moments..."
Stephen Strasburg, bullpen pace 6-2 win (WaPost)
"Strasburg soon gave up a two-run homer to Jorge Polanco in the bottom half. But the right-hander otherwise battled through a lingering mist and dropping temperatures."
How Soto has gotten even more powerful (MLB.com)
"A month ago, Juan Soto was having the same season in 2019 that he did in 2018. And that would have been amazing enough on its own, even historic, when you throw in that he's only 20 years old."
Skipper on Piazza HR: 'I was playing first base' (MLB.com)
"Arriving in New York, the Braves organized a visit to Ground Zero to try and lift the spirits of the rescue workers."
Zimmerman fuels early surge in win vs. Twins (MLB.com)
"Ryan Zimmerman had three hits, including a two-run homer, and three RBIs to help the Nationals beat the Twins, 6-2, on Wednesday night."
Nationals score early, avoid drama late in victory (MASN)
"After jumping out to an early lead behind big hits from Ryan Zimmerman, Juan Soto, and Howie Kendrick, the Nats rode six strong innings from Strasburg to carry a lead into the late innings."