Quick Links

More thoughts from the Nats' wild win

More thoughts from the Nats' wild win

Some leftover thoughts from last night's remarkable ballgame, now that I've had a chance to get some rest and come back with a clear mind...

-- Everyone's been trying to figure out what Dan Uggla's thought process was on the final play of the game, and what he should have done differently. It was a big topic of discussion inside the Nationals' clubhouse as well.

Did the Braves second baseman have a shot at an inning-ending double play? And if so, was his best chance to tag Kurt Suzuki and then throw to first or throw to second base and have Paul Janish complete the standard 4-6-3 twin-killing? Or should he have simply given up on the idea and just thrown to the plate to get Danny Espinosa?

Here's what Espinosa (a second baseman himself, obviously) said when I asked him if he empathized with Uggla on a play like that: "Yeah, I do. Because when you're playing infield in like that and it's a hot shot and you maybe don't field it cleanly or whatever, then you're immediately thinking the ball got to you so quick you might have a chance for a double play. I'm sure that's what he thought. But that's a tough play. He hits the ball hard. He dives, makes a good play to keep the ball in the infield."

In the end, Uggla still believed the double play was his best option.

"If I had to do it over, I'd have jumped up and found Kurt and tagged him and ran and touched first," he told Atlanta reporters.

-- You may have already gone to bed by the time it was announced, but there was a scoring change on that final play. It was originally ruled an error on Uggla, but about 15 minutes later, the scorer changed the call to a base hit and an RBI for Tracy.

You can debate whether that was the right call or not -- personally, I think the whole thing should have just been scored a fielder's choice, because clearly Uggla was trying to decide which choice made the most sense for him in that moment -- but it's notable that by crediting Tracy with a hit, he's now got 10 pinch-hit RBI this season. That ranks second in the majors only to the Padres' Jesus Guzman (who has 11). Pretty remarkable when you consider Tracy missed two months following sports hernia surgery.

-- Jayson Werth had an eventful night in the field, including a couple of hold-your-breath moments during the top of the fifth. He had to come charging in to make a sliding catch of Michael Bourn's sinking liner, a play that looked awfully similar to the one in which he broke his left wrist back on May 6.

Four batters later, Werth got that same wrist caught in the chain-link fence that covers the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center and appeared to be in some pain.

"Just kind of jammed it into the fence," he said. "It's no big deal."

As for what he was thinking as he made the familiar-looking, sliding catch: "That was the first play I've had since I broke my wrist," he said. "Definitely was not really thinking about it, but was glad everything went well."

Werth explained that last night's play wasn't exactly like the one from May 6.

"It's a little bit different," he said. "The play that I broke it on was more of a line drive. That ball last night was coming straight down. But still, that's going to my left and sliding like that ... it's a play that I've made who knows how many times in my life. But unfortunately that one time it didn't work out so well."

-- Davey Johnson was asked who he'll have available out of his maxed-out bullpen for tonight's game. He insisted just about everyone (except for probably Craig Stammen) should be good to go, especially because the other guys all pitched only one inning.

Besides, Johnson sounded hopeful he wouldn't need any relievers all for this game.

"I'm going to go 9 with Stras anyway," he joked.

Quick Links

Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals manager Dusty Baker is back for a second year and feeling optimistic for his Washington team. Spring training has begun in Florida and it has Baker thinking about how the Nats can create some excitement for local sports fans.

In an interview with American University’s WAMU radio station, Baker said D.C. wants to be a "city of champions.” Furthermore, he thinks it can be pulled off before the year ends.

"I came here to win a championship and you know I would love nothing more than to bring one to Washington. Washington, I didn’t know it before I got there, but it’s had a tough time getting out of the first round in a number of sports."

He projected the Nationals to bring home the next championship for the District, but he knows they have competition of late. 

"Washington Wizards are looking pretty good. I’m pulling for them first because their season ends before ours, so I’ve been really following them. The Capitals have a good thing going. I started watching the Redskins more this year.

"You know once it gets contagious in a city and you get a positive attitude throughout the city, then it transfers to the sports teams. So we want to be known as a city of champions, before the end of the year hopefully."

Baker has a reputation for bringing out the best in his teams, especially managing star players. He managed the San Francisco Giants for ten seasons before moving on to the Chicago Cubs, a team he managed for four seasons.

He's never won a World Series, but has taken a team to Game 7. He also finished third for the 2016 National League Manager of the Year award.

So, what are Baker’s steps for the Nationals to get that ultimate prize? A simple formula, really.

"I think that we’ve got to stay healthy, number one. We’re trying to fill the holes that we need to fill, and we’ve got to play," he said. "You know last year we were very close, we were one hit away or one play away or one pitch away from going to the next round against the Cubs."

While he says he came to win Washington a championship, he's also enjoying his time in the city. 

"I love D.C. Before that, San Francisco was my favorite town; that’s my home. But I tell you, D.C. is definitely in the running," he said. "I thought San Francisco had the best seafood, but man, you guys have the best seafood I think in the world."

Thanks, Dusty!

The Nationals play their first spring training game against the New York mets on Saturday.

RELATED: NATIONALS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

Quick Links

Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

Former Nationals outfielder admits to drinking vodka before MLB games

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 of 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 Arizona Diamondbacks where he allowed his anxiety to give 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 Majors at the age of 19, and has had a fluctuating career through six teams. All the while, he has kept a “never give up” mentality.

Why the sudden need to vent? Ankiel 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 by sports writer Tim Brown. The book will be released on April 18.  

MORE NATS: Can't miss Nationals promotional schedule