On August 13 the Washington Nationals had one of their most memorable games of the season. Not only did they set records in a 14-2 blowout of the Giants out in San Francisco, they handed starter Ryan Vogelsong his worst start of the season. Vogelsong before the game had the league's best ERA, but after the Nats were done with him it belonged to Jordan Zimmermann.
Zimmmermann has since lost the distinction of baseball's best ERA, but it seems Vogelsong has yet to recover. The Nationals may have broken who was once the leading candidate for the N.L. Cy Young.
In that game the Nationals got to Vogelsong early with a run in the first and then tacked on seven in the third. The Giants starter left the game having pitched just 2 13 innings with nine hits and eight earned runs allowed. All eight runs came in without a single homer allowed.
Before facing the Nationals, Vogelsong had a 2.27 ERA through 143 innings pitched. Since then, according to NBC Sports, he has allowed 28 runs in his last 26 innings. That is compared to just 38 total in his first 143.
Vogelsong's ERA has since jumped up to 3.40, not a bad clip but nowhere near where he was for most of the season. According to CSN Bay Area, he has been blaming himself for "costing" the Giants games. Including the 13th against Washington, the Giants have lost four of the last six games Vogelsong has started.
San Francisco is still atop the N.L. West as the Dodgers are still trying to get things going. The Giants have lost five of their last ten, but L.A. has dropped six in that span.
Getting Vogelsong back on track will be important for the Giants' playoff hopes, but if they don't you can look back at the day he ran into a buzzsaw also known as the Washington Nationals.
When it comes to sports, we sometimes forget that the athletes we look up to are just normal people. Normal people who have a lot to prove to millions of people on a weekly basis. Former Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel has discussed one his human moments in an interview with 590 The Fan in St. Louis.
Ankiel admitted to drinking vodka during his plight as a pitcher. He referenced his first two starts of the 2001 season, in particular against the his opener Arizona Diamondbacks where he allowed his anxiety to giving in to alcohol to soothe him. In the previous postseason, he became the first pitcher since 1980 to throw five wild pitches in a single inning.
It may have worked for a couple of games but Ankiel eventually realized it was only making matters worse.
Ankiel began playing in the MLB at the age of 19 and has had a fluctuating career through six teams. All the while, he has keep a “never give up” mentality.
Why the sudden need to vent? The St. Louis baseball pitcher is getting up close and personal with his upcoming book, “The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed my Life” which is co-written with sports writer, Tim Brown will be released on April 18.
His two seasons with the Nationals, resulted in 127 hits and 52 RBIs as an outfielder.
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The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports.
Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.
The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras.
The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity.
The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117.
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