Quick Links

Davey sticks with struggling lineup

759574.png

Davey sticks with struggling lineup

They've lost seven of 10, during which time they've scored an average of 2.5 runs per game while posting a collective .558 OPS. (If they were one individual player, that would rank 163rd of 164 qualifying major-league hitters, ahead of only Kurt Suzuki.) Yet the Nationals arrive at Coors Field this evening still holding a 3 12-game lead in the NL East over both the Braves and Mets, the second-largest lead of any of baseball's six first-place clubs.

Make no mistake, though: The Nats need to start hitting. They know this, and they know they've been presented a great opportunity to start clicking offensively this week in the mile-high air of Denver, against a Rockies pitching staff that owns the majors' worst ERA (5.29) by leaps and bounds.

They couldn't make a dent into Jeff Francis or Josh Roenicke last night. They'll attempt to do it tonight against rookie left-hander Christian Friedrich (who has lost his last three starts) and whatever reliever Rockies manager Jim Tracy plucks from his bullpen around the fifth or sixth inning.

Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, seeks to accomplish what Stephen Strasburg could not last night: Earn his 10th win of the season. I'm not in Colorado for this series, but please continue the conversation on Nats Insider, and I'll even attempt to chime in with some of my own thoughts during the game...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at COLORADO ROCKIES
Where: Coors Field
Gametime: 8:40 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 91 degrees, Wind 10 mph LF to RF

NATIONALS (41-30)
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
C Jesus Flores
LHP Gio Gonzalez

ROCKIES (28-44)
CF Dexter Fowler
3B Jordan Pacheco
LF Carlos Gonzalez
RF Michael Cuddyer
1B Todd Helton
2B Chris Nelson
C Wilin Rosario
SS Jonathan Herrera
LHP Christian Friedrich

UMPIRES
HP Chris Conroy, 1B Ed Hickox, 2B Mark Carlson, 3B Angel Hernandez (cc)

Quick Links

Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history. 

Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him. 

During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.  

In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons. 

Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store

Quick Links

Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract

On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.

Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop. 

It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series. 

Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster. 

Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.

The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda. 

There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others