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Showalter supports Nats in shutting down Strasburg

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Showalter supports Nats in shutting down Strasburg

The Nationals and Mike Rizzo have taken a lot of heat recently for their plan to shut down Stephen Strasburg due to a team-imposed innings limit. Many in baseball and outside of it disagree with the move, instead believing they team should go for it all this year and ignore their research.

But now a proponent of their decision has emerged, and the name literally hits quite close to home.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked about the move and had this to say:

"'Its foolish if you dont have all this knowledge at hand of where the percentages of breakdowns are, and you dont put it into play," he told Rich Dubroff of CSNbaltimore.com of their own protection of pitchers.

Theyll make a good decision on whats best for him and the organization. Were doing some things all year where Bundys concerned and Gausmans concernedand all of our pitchers, Showalter said.

The Orioles are taking care of their young arms as he said and are expected to shut down Dylan Bundy at around 120.0 innings this season. It is a number they reached based on his workload in recent years on top of decades of research on young pitchers and arm injuries.

Dubroff notes that Showalter and Rizzo are close friends from working together with the Diamondbacks, and like his former colleague the Orioles are sticking with a plan they set before the season even began.

"We had an inning count coming out of spring training on them," he said.

For the full story go here.

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Papelbon again implodes in ninth as Nats fall to Indians in walk-off loss

Papelbon again implodes in ninth as Nats fall to Indians in walk-off loss

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 7-6 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

How it happened: After Jonathan Papelbon imploded in the ninth inning on Sunday, manager Dusty Baker took some of the blame, saying he should not have pitched his closer for the third straight day. Papelbon denied he was tired, but Baker felt it was worth mentioning.

Despite that, Baker went back to Papelbon on Tuesday night in a key spot. It came after an off-day, but Papelbon did not look himself against the Indians. His fastball was regularly topping out at 89 miles per hour and Cleveland jumped all over it.

Papelbon allowed a leadoff walk then an RBI double to Tyler Naquin. Ryan Zimmerman then committed a costly throwing error to first on a Chris Gimenez sacrifice bunt to score Naquin. And then, with Oliver Perez on the mound and the bases loaded, young superstar Francisco Lindor singled in the winning run for an Indians walk-off victory.

Papelbon has now failed the Nats in the ninth inning of two consecutive games. The one positive may be that he's done this before the Aug. 1 trade deadline and not after it, as the Nats' need for bullpen help is becoming more and more obvious.

The Nats had a solid day on offense, led by Trea Turner in the leadoff spot. He singled, walked, stole a base, reached on an error and scored a run in another all-around effort. The rest of the Nats' lineup followed suit, as Wilson Ramos hit his 15th homer of the season, Anthony Rendon clubbed his 12th and Jayson Werth added two doubles to extend his streak of reaching base to 29 games, matching a career-high. 

The Nats knocked Danny Salazar - one of the AL's best pitchers - out after just four innings of work. He gave up four runs (3 ER) on four hits and two walks. Nats starter Gio Gonzalez overcame a rocky first inning to go 6 1/3 frames with three runs (2 ER) allowed.

The Nationals began their long road trip with a tough, 7-6 loss and have now lost six of their last eight games. 

What it means: The Nats fell to 58-42 on the season. With the Marlins' win on Tuesday, the Nats are now just four games up in the NL East.

Turner mostly good in CF, great at plate: Known for his prodigious speed on the base paths, apparently Trea Turner is also a fast learner.

With Zimmerman back from the disabled list, the Nationals rookie played center field for the first time in a big league game on Tuesday night and the early returns were overall quite good. Turner for the most part looked competent at his new position, despite having one key moment where he showed his inexperience. Perhaps more important, the Nats kept his bat and his legs in their lineup and again saw the impact he can provide at the top of their order.

Turner wasn't tested much in center field on Tuesday night, but he did make one very impressive play in the first inning on a long flyout by Jose Ramirez. Turner covered over 112 feet according to StatCast and caught the ball on a full sprint just a step away from the right-center field wall. It was a difficult play and he made it look easy, registering a 97.8% efficiency score. Turner also made another catch at the warning track in the seventh inning. He displayed good instincts around the wall at a park he's never played before. 

That was the good. There was also some bad, including a mistimed dive attempt in the bottom of the eighth that resulted in a Jason Kipnis double. Turner dove while running in towards the infield, only to have the ball bounce in front of him and then over his head. Kipnis later scored on a double play ball hit by Mike Napoli.

Turner had another solid game at the plate with an infield single on a routine groundball, a walk, a steal and a run. There will be a learning curve for him defensively, but the Nats may have found a solution to their leadoff hitting woes.

Gio starts slow, rebounds: Tuesday will go down as another step in the right direction for Gonzalez, but it didn't start that way. He ran into major trouble in the first inning by throwing 13 balls in his first 17 pitches. That stretch included a leadoff walk to Rajai Davis and then a ground-rule double by Jason Kipnis. Davis scored after that on a passed ball and Kipnis came home on a Carlos Santana sacrifice fly. Gonzalez barely got out of the first inning and was lucky only two runs came across.

After that, though, he was better. Gonzalez held the Indians scoreless for the next five innings before leaving in the seventh. He finished with three runs allowed (2 ER) on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts. The second earned run charged to Gonzalez came on a tough-luck play. Gonzalez exited after giving up a one-out double to Abraham Almonte. Almonte then scored on a Lonnie Chisenhall groundball hit against Blake Treinen that bounced off Anthony Rendon's glove and into center field.

Gonzalez has now allowed eight earned runs in his last four games across 24 innings since July began. That equals an even 3.00 ERA, which is solid considering his struggles through May and June.

Zimmerman returns: Zimmerman came back, but didn't carry over the momentum from his hot-hitting minor league rehab games. Zimmerman went 0-for-4 and left three men on base. That was in addition to his mistake in the field.

Scary moment: There was an unfortunate sequence in the first inning on Tuesday night, as a fan in the crowd at Progressive Field was hit in the face by a Daniel Murphy line drive. The 75-year-old woman was quickly rushed to the hospital, but it sounds like she suffered some serious facial injuries at the very least.

Up next: The Nats and Indians play the finale of their two-game interleague series with a 12:10 p.m. start on Wednesday afternoon. Stephen Strasburg (13-1, 2.83) will square off with right-hander Carlos Carrasco (7-3, 2.31).

[RELATED: Former Nats 1st rd. pick set to make MLB debut with Mets]

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Elderly woman hospitalized after being struck by Daniel Murphy foul ball

Elderly woman hospitalized after being struck by Daniel Murphy foul ball

CLEVELAND — A 75-year-old woman was taken to a hospital Tuesday night after being hit in the face with a foul ball by Washington's Daniel Murphy.

Muir West was sitting down the right-field line — and may have been blinded by the sun — when she was struck by the hard shot from Murphy in the first inning of the Indians' game at Progressive Field. Fans sitting in her section immediately called for security and medical personnel, who rushed to aid her.

A family member said West's glasses were broken in the mishap and she received a cut on her face.

Her wound was heavily bandaged before she was placed on a stretcher and taken to MetroHealth Hospital. As she was carried up the steps, fans gave her a warm ovation.

Major League Baseball added more netting this season near home plate to protect fans from foul balls and bats flying into the stands.

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GIF: Trea Turner makes tough catch in 1st inning as Nats center fielder

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GIF: Trea Turner makes tough catch in 1st inning as Nats center fielder

It didn't take long for Trea Turner to get a good test at his new position in center field.

In the first inning against the Indians on Tuesday, Turner had two balls hit his way. One resulted in a ground rule double, the other found Turner's glove on a difficult grab at the wall.

Turner caught the third out at the warning track on a flyball by Jose Ramirez. The Nats' rookie reached out on a full sprint and reeled it in right just a few steps before the wall in right-center.

Check it out:

The catch was an impressive one to watch for a guy who is just learning a new position. But the details revealed by StatCast show exactly how good of a play it was.

Turner registered a 97.8% efficiency score and covered over 112 feet. That's exceptional.

Turner may have his growing pains in center field, but he's certainly off to a good start.

[RELATED: Former Nats 1st rd. pick set to make MLB debut with Mets]

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