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Dusty Baker wants D.C. fans to remain positive about Nats in playoffs

Dusty Baker wants D.C. fans to remain positive about Nats in playoffs

After losing Game 4 and having it all come down to a do-or-die Game 5, the Nationals still feel confident they can advance to the NL Championship Series to face the Chicago Cubs. Some of their fans, however, have their doubts.

It is perhaps understandable given how long it has been since Washington, D.C. won a world championship, since 1992 when the Redskins captured the Super Bowl. Only Minneapolis-St. Paul has waited longer among U.S. cities with at least three teams in the four major sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). No such city has waited longer than D.C. has - 18 years - to simply reach the semifinals of their respective league.

It's a topic well-documented by media, including by a certain Nationals reporter at CSN who has unfortunately been writing about it since 2009. But do the players know about how long it's been for D.C. to have a deep playoff run?

According to manager Dusty Baker, the answer is yes. However, he doesn't want that to create any doubt or negativity. Just because teams before the 2016 Nationals have fallen short in the playoffs, doesn't mean they will.

Baker issued a long message to Washington fans ahead of Game 5 at Nationals Park:

"Yeah, you notice it. This is why we're here. We come here for the organization and ourselves, but the town. This is something that lasts. If you go a long ways, it lasts forever when you finally win. One thing I urge the town is to be in a positive mood. I was speaking to some hockey fans, I was watching the game, and they were expecting bad things to happen.

"I haven't been here long enough to know what the history is. All I know is that positive thoughts go a long ways. Places where I've been where the people are positive, no matter what the score was or no matter what, there was usually a positive outcome. Other places I've been where they expect negative, then they get negative outcomes. I just urge everybody. They say the mind can move mountains. They certainly can move the ball. I just want everybody to just think good and happy thoughts."

It's an admirable attempt. But D.C. fans probably won't rest easy until the game is over.

First baseman Ryan Zimmerman also weighed in. He knows the history as an 11-year member of the Nats, Virginia-native and longtime resident of D.C.

Zimmerman says the Nats won't be satisfied to just advance one more round.

"I think winning the World Series is the ultimate thing. Say we win this game and don't make it out of the next round; I don't think anyone is going to be like, 'oh, you remember that year when we went to the Championship Series? I'm not trying to downplay it all. It would be a huge step to go to the next round. But I think the ultimate goal is to win the World Series."

Fair enough.

[RELATED: Strasburg ruled out for NLCS, throws bullpen session]


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Murphy, Scherzer slam Mets with 7th straight win

Murphy, Scherzer slam Mets with 7th straight win

NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy hit an early grand slam against his former team, Max Scherzer pitched eight fiery innings and the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-3 on Sunday night for their seventh straight victory.

Ryan Zimmerman added a two-run homer for the Nationals, who completed a three-game sweep of the short-handed Mets in the first series this season between the NL East rivals.

Missing slugger Yoenis Cespedes and two other injured starters, New York (8-11) has lost four in a row and eight of nine to fall 5 1/2 games behind the Nationals, who own the best record in the majors at 13-5. The winning streak is their longest since a seven-game run last April.

Scherzer (3-1) struck out nine and walked one in his latest win over the Mets, a team he has often dominated -- especially since signing with Washington in January 2015. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, who fanned 17 in a no-hitter at Citi Field on Oct. 3, 2015, pumped his fist and slapped his glove after setting down the crucial hitters in this one.

Koda Glover got three outs for his second major league save, both in the past two days.

Michael Conforto hit his second leadoff homer of the series and had three hits for New York. Neil Walker's two-run homer pulled the Mets to 4-3 in the third, but that was all Scherzer allowed. He got a double-play grounder after Conforto's one-out single in the fifth and retired his final 10 batters.

Murphy connected in the first off Zack Wheeler (1-2), who had sharp stuff throughout his seven innings of four-hit ball. Zimmerman went deep in the eighth against reliever Josh Smoker to make it 6-3.

Murphy, booed by the Queens crowd, has eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 22 games against the Mets since they let him leave as a free agent before last season.


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Daniel Murphy strikes again vs. Mets with second career grand slam

Daniel Murphy strikes again vs. Mets with second career grand slam

If you can’t be with them — beat them.

That seems to be the slogan Daniel Murphy has lived by since leaving the Mets in 2015.

Tonight’s game started off with a bang… a grand slam by Murphy himself. This helped launch the Nationals to a 4-0 lead.

Just like these boys in the tweet, we “give a five” to Murphy as it was also the second grand slam of his career, both hit while playing under the Nationals. This follows his career night where he helped the Nats knock off the Cardinals

Muprhy has absolutely owned the Mets since joing the Nationals. he has recorded at least one base hit in all 19 head-to-head games.