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Chimera feels Nationals pain

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Chimera feels Nationals pain

When the Nationals collapsed after leading late in Game 5 of the NLDS on Friday, the story seemed all too familiar for Washington sports fans. Teams falling short of high expectations is not uncommon in D.C. and perhaps no local team has experienced more heartbreak of late than the Washington Capitals. The Caps have won their division four out of the last five seasons and have yet to advance past the second round of the playoffs.

Forward Jason Chimera has been on the last three Capitals playoff teams, including the 2009-10 roster that lost in the first round after winning the Presidents’ Trophy. As someone who has felt the disappointment the Nationals now feel, Chimera says he can relate. The winger was actually at Game 5 on Friday night and saw the Cardinals’ comeback in person.

“It was very shocking,” he said. “It was unfortunate for the city because it would have been nice to have a long playoff run. I felt bad for a lot of guys on that team because I know the position they are in and how that feels.”

Chimera and the Capitals’ collapse in the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals is probably the best comparison to the Nats’ NLDS loss in recent D.C. sports history. The Caps had the best record in the NHL with 121 points and entered the playoffs as favorites to with the Stanley Cup. They even jumped out to a 3-1 series lead over the eight seed Montreal Canadiens before dropping three straight games to be eliminated.

The Capitals were a young team that encountered a veteran Habs goalie in Jaroslav Halak and a defensive system better suited for the playoffs. Chimera sees a parallel in the St. Louis Cardinals.

“You learn from it. It's hard, it happens, but you gotta take some stuff out of it and learn from it next time,” he said. “If the Cards weren't there they wouldn't have known how to win that game. They just kept chipping away and chipping away and eventually they came back.”

“The Cards are a good team, they've proven it, and they had all the experience on their side. That's I think what helped them.”

Despite the crushing loss in Game 5, Chimera thinks the Nationals have something similar to the Caps in the works, that they could sustain a successful team for years to come.

“I think the Nats got a lot, they are a very young team, they got a lot of the pieces in place that are gonna be here for a long time. I'm sure this won't be the last time they're in that position.  Next time they're in that position they will be better off for it.”

The Nationals certainly had a year to remember and with the best record in the majors and built a significant fan base that is now as strong as ever. Chimera includes himself in that category and says a lot of his teammates now like the team as well.

“They brought a lot of fans on board, it was cool,” he said while wearing a Nationals hat at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “You can see with our team, when we first came in there were 10 guys wearing Nats hats.”

Chimera was at Game 5, but said he couldn’t attend Game 4 because he was at home with his kids. He instead at home on television as the Nationals forced a fifth game on Jayson Werth’s walkoff homer.

“I watched it on TV because I had the kids for the night, my wife was gone. Instead of watching cartoons we were watching Game 4,” he said. “We watched Werth and I was yelling when he hit the home run, the kids were like 'what are you yelling at?' It was exciting, you were right at the edge of your seat. It was a fun game to watch.”

Chimera is on board with the local baseball team, but is no ordinary Nationals fan. Not many have a friend on the team.

“I know Tom Gorzelanny, the pitcher,” he said “We live in the same neighborhood so I've got to know him a little bit. It's nice to kind of pick his brain to know a little baseball too.”

Chimera said he and Gorzelanny talk and “hang out quite a bit” when both are home and have even have exchanged jerseys. Chimera though, of course refers to Gorzelanny’s number 32 uniform as his “sweater.”

Kellie Cowan contributed to this report.

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Ten very good Pups in the Park who don't care that the Nats lost

Ten very good Pups in the Park who don't care that the Nats lost

Nationals Park opened its gates to dogs on Sunday for "Pups in the Park." Humans and their doggos got to sit in outfield section 140-143 with tickets being $30 per person and $10 per canine.

The Nationals ended up losing to the Reds, but that didn't put a damper on the afternoon for the guests of honor. 

Sometimes, its a blessing not to know what's going on. Just check out these ten happy puppers. 

1. Teddy, who's cuter than any racing president

2. Steve, who looks great in hats

Steve the dog 🐶 showing his natitude #pupsinthepark #nats

A post shared by Jen (@see_jho_run) on

3. Penny, who probably wasn't easy to carry around

Today was a good day to be Penny. #ballgame⚾️ #natsbestbuds #pupsinthepark

A post shared by Sheri (@pennysmom87) on

We took her out to the ball game! #pupsinthepark #natsbestbuds

A post shared by Sheri (@pennysmom87) on

4. Apollo, a Nats fan from a young age

5. Ellie, who plans to use this photo for #TongueOutTuesday

6. Auryn, who isn't even watching the game

Happiest little corgi in the park #aurynthedog @viano_perez #pupsinthepark #nats

A post shared by Taylor Pittman (@taylorp712) on

7. Moussie, who trimmed his beard just for the occasion

MOUSSIE IN THE PARK ⚾️🐶

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8. Dasher, obviously the favorite granddog

9. Bentley and Abby, whose moms can be overbearing 

Enjoying #pupsinthepark at @nationals game! #Bentley #Abby #ForcedPhotos 🐶🐶⚾️

A post shared by Mary Kennedy (@mkay0310) on

10. PJ, who squeezed into this selfie at the last minute

It's #pupsinthepark day at #nationals park. PJ is ready for a big Nats win!

A post shared by Luke Reeves (@lreevesm) on

Washington is now 13-19 in days games this season, significantly worse than their 31-11 night record. But these furry friends don't know that!

MORE NATIONALS: Roark's shaky start dooms Nats in loss to Reds

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Nationals can't overcome Tanner Roark's first inning, lose to Reds

Nationals can't overcome Tanner Roark's first inning, lose to Reds

WASHINGTON (AP) – Scooter Gennett homered and got four hits, and the Cincinnati Reds scored five times in the first inning off Tanner Roark en route to a 6-2 victory over Washington Nationals on Sunday.

The Reds won for just the second time in 15 games. Gennett's four hits were his most since he got five while becoming the 17th major league player homer four times in a game on June 6.

Gennett had an RBI single in the first and hit his 11th home run in the second. The second baseman also threw out Brian Goodwin at the plate on a fifth-inning relay, preventing Bryce Harper from recording an RBI on a three-hit day.

Scott Feldman (6-5) pitched seven innings. He allowed both runs on Michael Taylor's 11th homer.

Roark (6-5) gave up six runs over six innings and 115 pitches after requiring 40 to complete the first. The right-hander has now yielded 19 runs over his last three starts as his ERA has risen more than a run to 5.15.

Billy Hamilton led off the game with a double and scored a single by Gennett. Joey Votto also singled, and Gennett scored on Harper's throwing error from right field.

A grounder made it 3-0 before Tucker Barnhart hit a two-out, two-run double off Harper's outstretched glove.

Gennett homered into the Nationals' bullpen in the second.

Taylor homered in the fourth. He connected twice Saturday in Washington's 18-3 romp.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: 3B Eugenio Suarez was out of the starting lineup for the first time since June 8, but came in as a defensive replacement and popped out in the ninth. He is hitting .180 over his last 17 games and is just 2 for 18 on the Reds' road trip.

Nationals: LHP Sammy Solis (elbow) made a fifth rehab outing on Saturday night, retiring two batters on 11 pitches.

UP NEXT

Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan (1-0, 2.70) draws the start Monday at St. Louis in a makeup game from an April 29 rainout. It is Finnegan's first outing since going on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury on April 16.

Nationals: Begin a four-game home series against the Cubs, who are combined .206 (20 for 97) against Gio Gonzalez (7-1, 2.96), Washington's starter on Monday.

MORE NATIONALS: Nats clobber Reds 18-3