The Nats, quite clearly, won’t be winning the NL East this year, meaning that if they make the playoffs, it’ll start with the spectacle of a one-game Wild Card. While home-field isn’t everything in those games, it sure helps — and this series with the Cardinals will likely be the most crucial in determining whether the mayhem takes place in Southeast Washington, if the Nats are part of it at all.
Here’s the scoop from St. Louis:
‘The last thing I wanted to do was be a jackass’: Davey Martinez on a night the Nats would like to forget (The Athletic)
Davey Martinez wasn't trying to be rude by appealing Charlie Culberson's attempt to get out of the way — but he did appeal the call as Culberson lay on the ground, according to Tim Timmons. (Granted, Brian Snitker thinks it's "his responsibility.") Martinez disputes Timmon's recounting of the event, but other questions linger: for instance, why did Martinez let Fernando Rodney face eight more batters after Culberson .
Aaron Barrett snapped his arm in half. Then he shocked the baseball world (The Athletic)
Aaron Barrett made his major league debut on March 31st, 2014. Before this season, he had last thrown a pitch off a major-league mound in 2015. For four years, a grueling rehab process far more psychologically and physically grueling than any conceivable injury consumed Barrett's life, with one day in mind: September 1st, 2019. September 1st came and went without a call-up — but when the call came on the 3rd, the tears were flowing for everyone. If you read one article from today's Wire Taps, make it this one.
Baseball’s Oldest Team Is Also Its Most Old-School (Wall Street Journal)
The Nats have the oldest roster in baseball, and they play like it: they steal bases, bunt, and use the bullpen in a traditional sense. They don't strike out too often, they take their walks, and are at the league average in hitting home runs. Their starters are the backbone of their pitching staff. Now, the question: will their style of play translate to October if they make it, where they'll face baseball's best at manipulating bullpens and driving home runs?
Austin Voth could make Nationals’ playoff roster (WaPo)
Voth, after a strong candidacy for the fifth-starter position, essentially disappeared over the summer. Then he came roaring back on Saturday, stifling the Braves for 6.2 innings, a task not even Max Scherzer could accomplish earlier. It bears asking: does Voth deserve a spot either in the rotation down the stretch or in the bullpen? It, like his performances earlier in the season, will all depend on how he follows up.
Nats' Martinez taken to hospital as precaution (MLB.com)
Apparently, a number of players didn't notice Davey Martinez leave the dugout, but Chip Hale says to expect to see him in St. Louis.
Nationals Manager Dave Martinez leaves game early because of illness (WaPo)
“All you can worry about is hopefully he’s doing great,” veteran infielder Howie Kendrick said. “I wish him the best. I love Davey. We talk pretty much every day. He’s got a lot of insight, and I’ve known him for years, playing against him in the American League, too. He’s done a great job this year.”
Nationals-Braves score: Veterans come through in 7-0 win (WaPo)
After the regulars struggled all weekend, the veterans of the club stepped up on Sunday to maintain the Nats' 1.5 game lead in the NL Wild Card, with Yan Gomes, Howie Kendrick and Aníbal Sánchez leading the charge.
How potential Nats playoff roster may look (MLB.com)
Jamal Collier predicts that Austin Voth, Roenis Elías, and Tanner Rainey would be the last men in for the Nationals' playoff bullpen.
Nats shut out Braves, Martinez hospitalized (MASN)
“He wasn’t feeling good, so just for precautionary reasons they took him to the hospital just to see what’s going on,” said bench coach Chip Hale, who took over managing duties after Martinez departed during the sixth inning. “But we’re expecting everything will be good.”
Sánchez impressive again in a big game as Nats shut out Braves 7-0 (MASN)
Aníbal Sánchez was the stopper the Nats needed this weekend in a big way, throwing seven scoreless innings during which he only allowed three hits. Their hold on the first Wild Card spot is, for now, safe.
Culberson cleared to fly home, Martinez explains request (MASN)
Fernando Rodney and Davey Martinez both offered their apologies and sympathy to Charlie Culberson and the Braves on Sunday morning and over the phone.
Adams has AC sprain, Suzuki to take swings in St. Louis (MASN)
Martinez called Adams day-to-day, but at this point in the year, day-to-day is relatively dangerous.
Kendrick feasts at plate; Nats shut out Braves (MLB.com)
Howie Kendrick doesn't know if he would've gotten a shot in the majors this year had the Nats not inked him to a two-year deal last season, but both sides are happy things worked out. Now, as October approaches, another question is lingering: how much should the Nats play Kendrick in the run-up to the postseason, and if and when it comes, how often should he be in the lineup? (Note that Kendrick no longer sees himself as an everyday player.)
Nationals explain Charlie Culberson hit by pitch (WaPo)
Martinez called Braves Manager Brian Snitker on Sunday morning to apologize for the situation on behalf of himself, Rodney, and the Nationals organization. Martinez said Rodney “really wanted to make sure that Charlie got the message that he was really sorry and that he hopes he’s okay.” Rodney, still visibly upset as he spoke in front of his locker Sunday, said he had not personally reached out to Culberson yet but might later in the day."