Quick Links

Jayson Werth on 2016 Nationals: 'I feel like this is our chance'

Jayson Werth on 2016 Nationals: 'I feel like this is our chance'

Whether this is the best iteration of the Nationals is an interesting debate, but veteran outfielder Jayson Werth, for one, believes there is something different about this club.

They may have won less games during the regular season than both the 2012 (98 wins) and 2014 (96) clubs. They may have lost All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos for the season. All-Star pitcher Stephen Strasburg is out for the NL Division Series with a right flexor strain. Bryce Harper is on the field, but not playing like we all know he can.

There are reasons to believe the Nats aren't quite as good as they once were on paper. But Werth would argue they are well-suited for the playoffs this time around.

"We've been fortunate here to be in the hunt coming down the stretch, almost every season that I've been in Washington, going to the playoffs. It's the third time I've been in the playoffs," he said after Monday's win (Via ASAPsports.com).

"I'm hoping this is our year. We're battle-tested, we're playoff-tested and we've got a good group of guys. We've been playing together a long time now. So, I feel like this is our opportunity."

[RELATED: Nats manager Baker on how he got the nickname 'Dusty']

Werth, 37, knows that he himself only has so much time left in the majors. The 2015 season, when the Nationals fell short of the playoffs and won just 83 games, was tough on him. He wants to win another World Series. He wants to win one in Washington.

"I think after last year, with the injuries, and the way it ended and, you know, I felt like it was just like an opportunity lost," he said.

"With getting [manager] Dusty [Baker] this year and the moves at the deadline… you don't always get opportunities. I feel like it got taken away last year, and obviously I can't play this game forever. So I feel like this is -- I feel like this is our chance and I also feel like maybe this is my last chance to do it."

Baker has made a difference, as Werth noted. So has health. But the team itself, Werth believes is designed to make a run at the World Series.

"I feel like we can slug with anybody. We have the type of lineup that has balance," he explained. "We have the pitching that can pitch and we have the bullpen that can shut people down like they have done the last couple games."

The bullpen has indeed stood out through three playoff games. They have allowed zero runs collectively with 14 strikeouts through 12 1/3 total innings.

Both 2012 and 2014 featured infamous bullpen meltdowns that cost them in the playoffs. So far, that has not been the case in 2016.

"I think it gives us confidence. We're always in a game," Werth said. "We're never out of it. Even when we're behind, we can tack on runs when we're ahead or we can get some runs when we're behind. I feel like the bullpen is going to hold up. And might not have been the case or the feeling in years past."

The Nationals have a chance on Tuesday night to do something they have never accomplished before: advance in the MLB playoffs. With a 2-1 series lead, they have two opportunities to get there.

*Transcripts via ASAPsports.com*

[RELATED: Nationals beat Dodgers to take 2-1 lead in NLDS]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE NATIONALS STORIES

Quick Links

Report: Nationals OF Adam Eaton out for season with torn ACL

Report: Nationals OF Adam Eaton out for season with torn ACL

Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday.

Eaton sustained the injury in Friday night’s 7-5 loss to the Mets when he stepped awkwardly on the bag while beating out a throw to first in the ninth inning. He then collapsed and needed assistance off the field.

The Nationals initially announced earlier Saturday that Eaton would go on the 10-day disabled list with a left knee strain. They also have since called up outfielder Rafael Bautista from Triple-A Syracuse.

The Nationals acquired Eaton in a trade with the White Sox in December in exchange for pitching prospects Luca Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning.

The 28-year-old Eaton was hitting .297 with a .393 on-base percentage and 24 runs scored for the 16-8 Nationals.

Michael A. Taylor replaced Eaton in centerfield during the Nationals’ 5-3 loss to the Mets on Saturday.

Quick Links

Bullpen falters again as Nationals drop 2nd straight to Mets

Bullpen falters again as Nationals drop 2nd straight to Mets

WASHINGTON -- The New York Mets wobbled into Nationals Park this weekend with a six-game losing streak, beset by injuries and lined up to face Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and the team with the best record in the majors.

Two days later, things don't look quite so bleak.

Michael Conforto hit two home runs and slumping Jose Reyes also connected, leading the Mets over the Washington Nationals 5-3 Saturday.

"It feels great because they've got a great club and they're red-hot," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

"When you face arguably two of the best pitchers in the game two days in a row and come out with two wins, that's huge for us," he said.

After being swept at home by the Nationals last weekend the Mets have a chance to flip the script on Sunday and even the season series at three games apiece. Even though it's still April, the importance of this series wasn't lost on the Mets skipper.

"We know we've got a long track, we've got to try and get back in the hunt, and that's what we're trying to do, put some wins on the board and try and get back in this thing," Collins said.

The Nationals were still steamed over a no-call involving a steal by Jayson Werth in the fourth inning.

Werth swiped second as Jose Lobaton struck out, and got up and tangled with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera when the throw skipped away. Werth kept heading to third and was thrown out by a wide margin.

Werth argued along with Washington manager Dusty Baker that he should've been awarded the base because of the block.

"I saw him point obstruction, and then he gave some jive explanation that really didn't make sense to me," Baker said of second base umpire Angel Hernandez.

Werth saw the same thing that his manager. When asked after the game about how an umpire can point and not get the bag, Werth responded: "You're asking the wrong person at this point. I clearly don't know the rule."

A request to talk to the umpires was submitted too late to get comment.

Conforto's two-run homer in the fifth gave the Mets a 3-1 lead and his sixth home run of the season made it 4-2 in the eighth. It was Conforto's second multihomer game in the majors -- as a rookie, he did it in Game 4 of the 2015 World Series against Kansas City.

"It's huge," Conforto said about winning the first games of series against Washington's two star pitchers.

"But you know, we had a feeling that this was coming. We have a lot of faith in ourselves. Things were going bad for a bit, but there's no panic in here," he said.

Hansel Robles (4-0) came in to start the sixth and retired five of the six batters he faced, striking out four. Jerry Blevins then took over and fanned Bryce Harper.

Jeurys Familia, pulled Friday night in the ninth while Washington tried to rally, retired three straight hitters to earn his first save of the season.

Familia, who led the majors with a team-record 51 saves last year, began this season serving a 15-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy.

Strasburg (2-1) gave up three runs in seven innings. He has gone exactly seven innings in all five of his starts this season.

Ryan Zimmerman hit a home run in the eighth to cut the deficit to 4-3. Zimmerman, who also had two singles, drove in all three Nationals runs and now has 11 homers this season to go along with 27 RBIs.

Zimmerman's shot broke a tie with Andre Dawson to move into second place on the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals franchise list with 226.

Reyes hit a solo shot in the ninth, his second of the season.

Michael A. Taylor had three hits in his first game since replacing the injured Adam Eaton in center field for the Nationals. Taylor doubled in the first and added singles in the third and fifth.

Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and allowing one earned run while striking out four.

RELATED: ADAM EATON OUT FOR SEASON WITH TORN ACL