“It’s all hands on deck right now and you’ve got to do whatever it takes,” Hunter Strickland told reporters over the weekend, in discussing the importance of remaining focused over the last week of the regular season, as the Nationals try to lock up a spot in the NL’s Wild Card Game.
“Just more or less I think mentally is the key,” Strickland explained, “... and to bounce back after a tough loss is critical for us, so I think we’ve just got to find a way, there’s no other way around it.”
The Nationals bounced back from a loss in the finale in Miami with a win over Philadelphia in D.C. last night. Now they just have to keep it up.
“There’s no turning back now, this is it, and this is critical,” Strickland said. He also talked to the Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty about his history with Philly outfielder Bryce Harper heading into this week’s series.
Go read your links...
Nationals beat Phillies:
Corbin goes to fastball more after Phillies adjust, wins 7-2 - (MASN)
"Corbin (14-7) had to work for those six frames as the Phillies started holding off on the low slider."
3 solo HRs lower Nats' WC magic number to 3 - (MLB.com)
"A protective plastic covering sits lined above the lockers in the home clubhouse at Nationals Park, waiting to be unfurled this week in anticipation of a celebration."
Suzuki set to return:
Suzuki (elbow) nears return to Nats' lineup - (MLB.com)
"Kurt Suzuki could return to the Nationals' lineup as soon as Tuesday night to catch Max Scherzer in the nightcap of the Nats’ split doubleheader against the Phillies."
Suzuki on target to return Tuesday night to catch Scherzer - (MASN)
"Catcher Kurt Suzuki is on target to catch right-hander Max Scherzer in the nightcap of the Nationals’ doubleheader against the Phillies Tuesday night, bench coach Chip Hale announced."
Yan Gomes before August 18: 71 games, 44 hits, 6 homers, 7 doubles, 26 RBIs, 21 runs scored— Matt Weyrich (@MattWeyrichFBB) September 24, 2019
Yan Gomes since August 18: 22 games, 24 hits, 5 homers, 8 doubles, 14 RBIs, 12 runs scored
Kurt Suzuki could be back behind the plate during Nationals’ doubleheader Tuesday - (WaPost)
"If Suzuki is ready to catch again, after missing two weeks with right elbow inflammation, it makes sense for Yan Gomes or Raudy Read to catch Ross before Suzuki pairs with Scherzer."
Bryce Harper Ks = $3 Pizzas:
Whenever Bryce Harper strikes out this week, you can get a $3 pizza - (WTOP)
"&Pizza is giving away $3 pizzas for three minutes from Monday to Thursday any time Harper strikes out."
Don’t talk about the postseason:
Nats on verge of completing historic path to postseason - (MASN)
"Baseball players are as superstitious as they get, so it’s not surprising that Adam Eaton was none too pleased when he walked into the Nationals clubhouse Monday afternoon and saw rolled up plastic curtains positioned over every locker."
Austin Voth, Erick Fedde hope to make Nationals' playoff roster - (Washington Times)
"Like Voth, Fedde also has had a circuitous season. He pitched at three levels, including Double-A and Triple-A, and has been used as both a starter and reliever."
Nationals hope to avoid joining list of epic collapses in MLB history - (Washington Times)
"If the Nationals don’t make the playoffs, they would join a long list of teams that fell apart in the closing weeks of the season. Here is a look at a few of them..."
Adam Eaton was displeased someone put plastic up in the Nats clubhouse before they clinched: "If I had it my way, I would do a Chris Sale and rip every single one of them down."— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) September 24, 2019
Nats handle Phillies in series opener, move one step closer to postseason - (WaPost)
”Starter Patrick Corbin and Manager Dave Martinez shrugged off the plastic, but it frustrated Adam Eaton.”
NL wild-card standings: Brewers likely to host Nationals - (WaPost)
"The question for the Washington Nationals now seems to be, where will the wild-card game be played?"
Column: How the Nationals should plan for the Wild Card Game - (WTOP)
"You’re not supposed to talk about it. That’s a thing, in baseball and any other sport. You’re not supposed to look ahead, to take things for granted..."
Other Nats Stories:
Joe Ross will start Tuesday's doubleheader opener - (MASN)
"Ross hasn’t pitched since Sept. 2, when he was torched by the Mets for seven runs on eight hits and three walks in only 3 2/3 innings."
Hunter Strickland is over the Bryce Harper brawl - (WaPost)
“Whether it’s Bryce or whoever else, I need to get outs. I need to get Bryce out if I face him, and that’s pretty much it.”
One breakout player from every team - (MLB.com)
"Nationals -- Juan Soto, LF, age 20: He clearly broke out as a rookie last year … but who in the world thought he’d be better this year?"
Scott Boras Is Big Mad About Wet Bags - (Deadspin)
"Scott Boras ... is pissed at Major League Baseball for what he sees as a lack of progress on solving the problem of, well, wet things being slippery."