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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals and a tarp; Mike Rizzo talks; Stephen Strasburg debuts + more...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait for the start of the opener with the Mets...

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Davey Martinez told reporters on Saturday night that in spite of Sean Doolittle’s struggles, he wasn’t giving up on the veteran reliever, and on Sunday, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo said the same, explaining in a Zoom call that he thinks Doolittle will straighten things out as he gets more work.

“These pitchers just have to pitch,” Rizzo said. “With the short Spring Training 2.0, they just haven’t gotten enough work in to get to where they want to be usually on August 9th. So, I just think [Doolittle] needs to pitch and he needs to compete and this same thing happened last year to him, he struggled in the middle of the season and was closing out games for us in the World Series.”

With more work, a longer build-up, and perhaps some of that velo he’s missing, will Doolittle be able to turn it around? Rizzo thinks so.

“Let’s not forget the caliber of pitcher he is, the type of player he is, the competitor that he is, and the great teammates of a world champion that he is. I have nothing but great things to say in support of that guy. He’s going to turn it around and pitch great for us.”

Go read your links...


It’s a Tarp:

Thanks to a stubborn tarp, a weird Nationals season gets even weirder - (WaPost)
“By the time the workers jostled it loose, the sun peeked out and the area around second base looked like a small pond.”

Nationals’ grounds crew battling the tarp during a rain delay is peak 2020 - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The tarp appeared to be tangled in the giant roller that the crew uses to spread it across the field."

Martinez on suspended game: "It's part of this 2020 season" - (MASN)
"Heavy rains lasted 20 minutes at Nats Park. But the bigger problem occurred when the grounds crew was unable to get the tarp on the field before the infield became unplayable."

O's-Nats finale suspended, to resume Friday - (
"It only rained for roughly a half-hour, but the game was paused more than four times that long after Washington’s grounds crew struggled to roll the tarp over the infield when the game was delayed at 2:41 p.m. ET."

Nationals' game against Orioles suspended due to to tarp mishap - (Washington Times)
"Rain downpoured for only 15 minutes, but because the diamond went uncovered, the infield got soaked — forming deep puddles of water.?

Other Nats Stories:

Nationals sign Jake Boone, who could be MLB's first fourth-generation player - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The first fourth-generation MLB player could make his career in Washington after Jake Boone—the son, nephew, grandson and great-grandson of former players—signed with the Nationals on Saturday as an undrafted free agent."

Rizzo on his contract status: "I'm not worried about it" - (MASN)
"Rizzo also stated there is not a set time in place for when an announcement would be made on Martinez’s status with the club."

Strasburg has to 'pitch through' nerve issue - (
"Strasburg looked to take command into the fifth, but his body began to feel the impact of the up-and-downs of the innings."


A Tangled Tarp Bests Nats' Ground Crew - (DCist)
"It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, a typical pop-up August rainstorm delaying a Washington Nationals baseball game and forcing the grounds crew to roll out a tarp to protect the field."


Spencer Howard gives up homers to Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr. in Phillies debut - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"Spencer Howard's first major-league start is in the books. The Braves didn't make it easy on him."

Jacob deGrom ‘hot spot’ shows how quickly it can all change for Mets - (NY Post)
"DeGrom literally showed Chicklo the middle finger on his right hand."

Marlins fail to take advantage of opportunities, drop second straight to Mets - South Florida Sun Sentinel - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Jacob deGrom dodged trouble for five innings, rookie Andres Gimenez had three hits and scored three runs, and the New York Mets won a home series for the first time this season by beating the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

Acuña (4-for-4, 2 HRs) 'amazing to watch' - (
"Acuña quadrupled his season home run total as he went deep three times on the day, including twice during the Braves' 8-0 win over the Phillies in Game 2."