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Scoring change ends Morse's streak

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Scoring change ends Morse's streak

PHOENIX -- Michael Morse left the ballpark in Houston Thursday night with an 18-game hitting streak attached to his name. He arrived at the ballpark in Arizona Friday afternoon with that streak reduced to seven games, even though he hadn't picked up a bat or faced an opposing pitcher in the 18 hours between those two events.

How does that happen? Turns out Major League Baseball overruling the scoring of one of Morse's at-bats from the Nationals' Aug. 2 game, changing a single to an error on Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

Thus, what was believed to be an 18-game hitting streak for Morse (the third-longest in Nationals history) has now been split into separate streaks of 10 and seven games, the latter of which will be on the line tonight against the Diamondbacks.

Not that Morse was crestfallen upon receiving the news.

"I didn't even know I had a hitting streak," he said.

That's pretty typical for Morse, who makes it a point not to pay attention to his stats, especially when things are going well. It's a lesson he says he learned in the minor leagues and has served him well since.

"A lot of times, you see a lot of guys looking at the scoreboard, looking at their numbers," he said. "Now you're looking at your numbers, you're pressing, especially if your numbers are dropping. You're swinging at the first pitch. You become a stat rat.

"I think in the minor leagues, I kind of did that for a few years, and I always caught myself. People say don't think about your stats, don't worry about your stats. So for me, I can't look at them. Because in the back of my head, I'll think: 'Oh man, I'm doing this, I'm doing this.'"

The decision to change the ruling on Morse's single from eight days ago came after the Phillies filed a formal appeal to MLB headquarters. Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, is believed to have made the reversal after watching replays of the play, during which Rollins had trouble corralling a hard-hit ball just to his left.

The statistical alterations as a result of the changed scoring: Rollins is charged with an error, Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels has an earned run taken away from him and Morse sees his batting average drop to .299 from .303.

"I told Mo: 'If I knew that, shoot, I wouldn't have kept playing you all this time," manager Davey Johnson joked.

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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

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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 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.  

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