Nationals Magazine Digest: Postseason 2016

The latest edition of Nationals Magazine is on sale at Nationals Park
The latest edition of Nationals Magazine is on sale at Nationals Park.

The final issue of Nationals Magazine for 2016 featuring the Washington Nationals celebrating a walk-off victory is now on sale at Nationals Park. The latest magazine includes a vibrant series of photographs featuring “Signature Moments” from the 2016 regular season and two short articles written by the radio broadcasters.

Nine “Signature Moments” are featured in the magazine. Fans should definitely pick up a copy of the magazine to relive the moments by checking out the photos and reading the recaps. Video clips celebrating the “Signature Moments” were featured on NatsHD before the previous postseason games.

  1. April 4 – The Pursuit Begins – The section celebrates the success of Harper on Opening Day and the arrival of Daniel Murphy.
  2. April 14 – One Hundred Grand – Bryce Harper hit his 100th career home run in style.
  3. April 24 – The Roller Coaster – I never leave games early because of games like these. Bryce Harper delivered a game saving pinch-hit home run and Chris Heisey delivered a game winning home run in the 16th inning agains the Minnesota Twins.
  4. May 9 – The Accidental Walk-Off – In a game most notable for Harper’s ejection and subsequent outburst against home plate umpire, Brian Knight, Clint Robinson hit a walk-off home run without knowing the inning of his pinch hit appearance.
  5. May 11 – 20th & K – Max Scherzer had, arguably, the most dominant games of his career when he struck out 20 players in a nine inning game. Strikeouts are sexy.
  6. June 15 – 2 Legit 2 Quit – Jayson Werth told his critics that they could kiss his ass after he delivered a walk-off against the Chicago Cubs.
  7. June 30 and July 3 – See You L-8-R – Danny Espinosa won NL Player of the Week honors after an offensive outburst against the CIncinnati Reds. His most notable achievement was hitting home runs from both sides of the plate in both games including two grand slams.
  8. July 29 – Rule of Three – This one took place late at night on the road in San Francisco. Dusty Baker made a triple switch and substituted in Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman and Sammy Solis. The result was the first 3-3-5 triple play in MLB history.
  9. September 9 – The Perfect Ending – Trea Turner could probably be elected Mayor if he wanted to put his baseball career on hold. The two time NL Rookie of the Month belted two home runs including a walk-off home run to center field to top the Philadelphia Phillies.

In “You Never Know,” Dave Jagler writes about how the Nationals can very feasibly have a successful postseason run. Jagler describes how anything can happen in October and that teams with the most elite hitters, starters and bullpens are not guaranteed the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Charlie Slowes echoes a similar sentiment in “Hero Time.” Slowes describes how players like Daniel Murphy, Max Scherzer, Trea Turner can each play a role in a successful postseason run.
The magazine also contains a large (two-page) scorecard which you can use Thursday to score the game.

Star of the Series 4/10-4/12 (Clint Robinson)

Clint Robinson swinging at a pitch during Spring Training (MASN Sports)
Clint Robinson swinging at a pitch during Spring Training (MASN Sports)

The Washington Nationals wrapped up a three game series with the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday afternoon.  The Nationals prevailed in just one of the three games this series in part because they continue to struggle at the plate with runners in scoring position.  The Nationals followed up on a 3 for 19 performance against the New York Mets with a 4 for 20 performance in Philadelphia.

Several players are worthy of consideration for Star of the Series.  Here are the nominees for the 4/10-4/12 series against the Phillies:

  1. Yunel Escobar
  2. Bryce Harper
  3. Clint Robinson

Yunel Escobar was a hits machine against the Phillies this series.  Escobar, who is playing first while Anthony Rendon continues to rest his left knee, had 5 hits and drew 2 walks in 13 at bats this series.  Escobar has also demonstrated power this series by leading the team in extra base hits with 2 doubles.  He also gets this nomination because of his base running in Sunday’s game.  Although he has yet to successfully steal a base this season (0-1), he doubled on a sharp ground ball to right fielder Jeff Francoeur.  Escobar went from second to third on an infield ground out by Bryce Harper and ultimately scored when Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus through a wild pitch giving the Nationals a 3-2 lead.

Bryce Harper gets Star of the Series consideration for the second straight week.  Harper didn’t exactly get a hero’s welcome in Philadelphia.  Fans still harbor resentful feelings about the 22-year-old outfielder from 2012 after he stole home against Cole Hamels.  I witnessed this resentment on Saturday night when I saw four hecklers get removed from the second deck in right field by security for violating stadium rules.  Harper had 2 hits this series and walked twice.  One walks came Saturday night when Dustin McGowan intentionally walked him to Ryan Zimmerman.  Harper gets a nod for his second solo home run of the season.  He leads the team with 2 home runs and slugging percentage (.522).  He has also continued to play impressive defense with 12 put outs in 13 total chances.

Clint Robinson signed a minor league contract with the Nationals over the off-season and was left speechless when he made an opening day roster for the first time in his career.  The 30-year-old had a pinch hitting opportunity on Saturday night and started in left field on Sunday afternoon.  Robinson’s pinch hitting opportunity came in the top of the eighth inning with the Nationals ahead 1-0.  He drove a 3-2 pitch up the middle driving in Danny Espinosa from first to put the Nationals ahead by two runs.  Robinson also produced in his Sunday and he scored the winning run in the top of the tenth inning after Wilson Ramos singled and he scored from second.  Robinson had 4 hits in 6 at bats this series and leads the Nationals in batting average (.400) among players who have at least 10 at bats.

Star of the Series: Clint Robinson

The honor could have easily gone to any of the three nominees. Robinson gets the nod this series for his good at bats.  He had a clutch RBI Saturday night coming off the bench.  Robinson came out hot again Sunday afternoon scoring the winning run after he hit his first double of the season.