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Nats await 2011 playoff hero Carpenter

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Nats await 2011 playoff hero Carpenter

Cardinals Game 3 starter Chris Carpenter earned a place in baseball history last year with his performance in the World Series and has an impressive playoff resume overall. This season, however, Carpenter is in a unique situation having made just three total starts since returning from injury.

Carpenter suffered a nerve problem in his shoulder in February and was originally diagnosed to miss the entire season after undergoing surgery in July. But the former Cy Young winner made a quick recovery and returned on September 21 to log 17 innings before entering the postseason.

It is a much different situation compared to last year when Carpenter entered the playoffs with a league-leading 237 13 innings pitched. Despite the excessive workload of last season, the 37-year-old said he would take it over the lack of innings this year if given the choice.

To be honest with you, I'd much rather have all the innings than not the innings, because you know what you're going to get, he said. What have I thrown, 17 innings or something? You know, that's not too many innings to work the kinks out in live games.

Carpenter was admittedly rusty in his three starts this season, but the results werent bad at all. He allowed two runs through five in his first outing against the Cubs and then posted two quality starts to finish the year.

If Carpenter was able to pitch that well during the regular season, he may be even better in the playoffs. His career ERA of 3.76 in 15 MLB seasons is good, but his 3.05 ERA through 94 13 playoff innings is great.

On Tuesday, the day before his Game 3 start, Carpenter explained his love for the postseason.

This is what I live for, he said. I woke up this morning; it's the day before and I got that going in my stomach already.I couldn't wait to get here and talk to the media, do my thing. It's an exciting time."

Most of the Nationals have never played in the playoffs before this year. Against Carpenter, their inexperience will be matched with one of the most playoff seasoned pitchers in baseball.

Obviously hes done a lot, Ryan Zimmerman said. This whole team over there has been in this situation many a time.

Bryce Harper said he didnt watch many of Carpenters 2011 playoff starts, but expects a battle from the 66 ace.

Carpenter is unbelievable. He is an All-Star, hes a competitor out there, he said.

He wants to beat you with all of his stuff. Hes a veteran guy out there and its going to be tough. But its going to be fun, hes unbelievable so Im up for the challenge.

The Nationals haven't faced Carpenter since August 26, 2010.

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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 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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Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

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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